Saturday, November 5, 2016

Wisconsin vote swings, early votes giving clues

In looking ahead to Tuesday's election, and what to focus on, I wanted to look back at this post from November 2014, which showed the Wisconsin counties that had the largest differences between the 2012 presidential election and the 2014 governor’s election. As returns come in from these areas next week, we can often find out which direction the election might be heading. (ED Note- I have made minor modifications to these numbers based on the certified figures from the GAB, but the basic point is the same).

Swings between 2012 Presidential, 2014 Gov elections
Lafayette- Dem +15.4 to GOP +3.4 (18.8 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 +1.8 (17.9)
Forest- Dem +5.4 to GOP +14.5 (19.9)
Kewaunee- GOP +5.4 to GOP +25.2 (19.8)
Jackson- Dem +15.0 GOP +2.4 (17.4)
Crawford- Dem +20.0 to Dem +4.0 (16.0)
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 +27.4 (18.6)
This will be a big deal to look at on Election Night 2016 as well. If we dig into the crosstabs of the latest Marquette Law School Poll, we see that the GOPs seem poised to keep that 2014 advantage in the Northeastern part of the state, with Western and Northern Wisconsin (i.e. the "rest of the state") seeming to be somewhere between the GOP advantage we saw in 2014, and the near 50-50 split we had in 2012. By comparison, the Madison media market (which isn't just Dane County, but also counties in this list like Lafayette, Richland and Crawford) seems to give an overwhelming advantage to Dems

Vote for President, Senator
Green Bay/Appleton media market
Trump 48-37
Johnson 51-37

Rest of state
Trump 45-35
Johnson 43-37

Madison media market
Clinton 54-24
Feingold 56-26

In contrast, the largest Dem counties of Dane and Milwaukee and the pro-GOP WOW Counties (Washington, Ozaukee, Waukesha) swung comparatively little from 2012 vs 2014 - between 3 and 12%. Instead, those places usually fall into a turnout game, and while Dane and the WOW Counties didn't have that much of a dropoff in turnout in 2014 vs 2012, Milwaukee, Kenosha and Rock counties didn't show up nearly as much. This gave an advantage to Scott Walker and other GOP candidates running statewide in 2014.

This is also why it's important to note that Rock and Kenosha counties are showing a larger share of the early vote than they usually pull in the November elections (as I noted here). That could mean higher turnout and a benefit to the Dems in the presidential and Senate elections going forward. Combine that with the record in-person early voting in the very-blue City of Milwaukee, and you wonder if it played a role in Donald Trump canceling his expected rally on Sunday in West Allis (that, the stupidity of scheduling it during a "Milwaukee fans" Packer game in Lambeau).

We'll see what the final weekend of early voting tells us, and then it'll be showtime Tuesday night. But this hopefully gives you an idea of what to look for, and where things may be heading.

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