But I wanted to backtrack from my pre-election post, and see how the preliminary election returns in the Governor’s race measures up to what I was looking at on Monday’s preview story.
I first wanted to look at the 19 counties that voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012, but also voted for Governor Walker in 2010 and 2012. I said Mary Burke had to win back a sizable amount of these counties to win. Let’s see how it shaped up.
Walker-Obama Counties that voted for Burke
That’s it, the other 17 counties stayed with Walker. Many in the central and western parts of the state didn’t stay with him by much (Burke was within 5% in Grant, Jackson, and Lafayette Counties), and there were some inroads made by Burke in western Wisconsin. But it wasn’t enough to take those light-blue legislative seats back, and she ended up losing by nearly 15,000 votes between the higher-population Obama counties of Racine and Winnebago (more on Winnebago and the Fox Cities area in a bit). Here's a look at the statewide map, with the darker shading showing a bigger victory for a certain candidate.
Burke won three of the five Obama counties that Walker had won once (Columbia, Crawford, and Green) but shockingly lost Kenosha County. Trempealeau County also stayed with Walker, with Scotty getting 52.4% of the vote there, just above his statewide total. I said on Monday Burke had to win all five of those counties, she didn’t, and you see the result.
The other thing I looked at was to see which counties swung the most between 2012’s recall election, and the 2012 presidential election. And what I said on Monday was
If Walker cannot recover at least 10 points of these swings tomorrow night, he's in big trouble.Well, let’s go to the numbers, starting with 10 counties that swung the most from those two elections in 2012.
Swings between 2012 Presidential election and 2014 Gov election
Lafayette- Dem +15.4 to GOP +3.3 (18.7 swing)
Trempealeau- Dem +14.1 to GOP +6.0 (20.1)
Manitowoc- GOP +2.8 to GOP +24.9 (22.1)
Buffalo- Dem +2.9 to GOP +16.4 (19.3)
Richland- Dem +16.1 to GOP +1.7 (17.8)
Forest- Dem +5.4 to GOP +15.1 (20.5)
Kewaunee- GOP +5.4 to GOP +25.5 (20.1)
Jackson- Dem +15.0 GOP +2.6 (17.6)
Crawford- Dem +20.0 to Dem +2.8 (17.2)
Shawano- GOP +10.0 to GOP +30.9 (20.9)
I also mentioned that the larger-population counties of Brown, Marathon, Outagamie, and Sheboygan were key counties to see if Walker could get these areas to snap back towards the Republicans from the relatively close outcomes of the Obama-Romney election. And boy did they ever snap back into dark red.
Brown- GOP +1.8 to GOP +17.6 (15.8)
Marathon- GOP +6.1 to GOP +23.5 (17.4)
Outagamie- GOP +1.8 to GOP +20.1 (18.3)
Sheboygan- GOP +8.8 to GOP +27.3 (18.5)
These four counties are either in the 920 area code and/or along Highway 29, and that swingy part of the state is what ultimately won the election for Walker (something accurately broken down by Andy at Wisconsin Soapbox in past posts). Western Wisconsin actually came back to the Dems some in this election, and Burke ended winning 14 counties in the western 2/3 of the state- which is often enough to make the race around a 50-50 proposition. But in the eastern 1/3 of the state, she won exactly 1 county- Milwaukee. And she only won Milwaukee by less than 100,000 votes, which isn’t close to what Barack Obama ran up in the two presidential elections (Obama won in Milwaukee County by over 170,000 in 2008 and by 177,500 in 2012). Even Tom Barrett won Milwaukee County by 107,000 during the recall election in 2012. The Dems were hoping for much more of a gap than the 98,500 Burke won by in the 414 last night.
I could go on and on as to why I think this is, but no sense heaping on the depression at this time. But what there is no doubt about is that Scott Walker’s victory last night is almost entirely due to his big-time showing in eastern Wisconsin, and that many of these areas are places that Barack Obama was at least competitive in (Obama even won several of these counties during his and the Dems’ 2008 landslide in Wisconsin). Wisconsin Dems need to figure out why this is so.