Thursday, November 8, 2012

Post-election results, and thoughts

Obviously, I was very happy with the national results from Tuesday, with Obama taking it home in a solid if unspectacular victory, with a final electoral vote win of 332-206 now that the Romney campaign is admitting Obama will win Florida. Also, Dems expanded their lead in the Senate to 55-45, and both Obama and Tammy Baldwin brought home huge wins for the Blue team in the state of Wisconsin.

Obama also will probably win the popular vote by more than 3 million votes, making for a margin of around 2.5%. Much has (rightfully) been made about Nate Silver nailing 50 out of 50 states in this election, and in predicting Florida as the closest race of them all. But Nate also came close to nailing the popular vote- he had Obama +2.4%. Only major difference is that Silver had fewer third-party votes being cast, as third parties are currently pulling around 1.6% right now.

Here in Wisconsin, Obama rolled (not too surprising) and Baldwin largely kept up with him (which was surrising to me). In fact, Baldwin consistently was about 2 points behind Obama, which is reflected in Obama winning 53-46 vs. Baldwin's 51-46. And the exit poll respondents largely voted the same across almost all categories, so I'll just stick with Obama's numbers in this article.

Much like we saw nationwide, the GOP's poaitioning as the old, rich white guy party helped doom them in Wisconsin.

Exit poll responses, Wisconsin
Women 57-42 Obama (51% of vote)
Men 51-47 Romney (49% of vote)

Age 18-29 Obama 60-37 (21% of vote)
Age 30-44 Obama 51-48 (26%)
Age 45-64 Obama 51-48 (37%)
Age 65+ Romney 52-48 (16%)

White- Romney 51-48 (86%)
Black- Obama 94-6 (7%)
Latino- Obama 66-31 (4%)

Family Income under $50K- Obama 62-37 (41%)
Family Income $50K-$100K- Romney 50-49 (38%)
Family Income over $100K- Romney 59-39 (21%)

The state was called for Obama very quickly, and a look at the map shows why, especially when you compare it to this Summer's recall election.

2012 presidential election

2012 recall election

Look at the sea of blue in Western Wisconsin, Romney doesn't win a county on our western border until you get to Minneapolis-area Pierce County (and he only won that by 170 votes). Many of these areas are flips from the recall election. Here's the unofficial list of Tuesday county election results from NBC, along with the exit polls. The switch from the 2012 recall election is startling in these SW Wisconsin counties in particular.

Sauk County- Obama 59-40, Walker 51-48
Crawford Co.- Obama 59-39, Walker 51-48
Green County- Obama 58-41, Walker 51-48
Richland Co. Obama 57-41, Walker 54-45
Lafayette Co.- Obama 57-42, Walker 57-43
Jackson Co.- Obama 57-42, Walker 54-46
Tremepealeau Co.- Obama 56-42, Walker 57-42

All of these are swings of 20 points or more, well over the 13.5 difference between Walker's +6.8% and Obama's +6.7%.

On the other side, Romney won most counties east of I-39, but nowhere near as much as Walker did in June. Obama playing Romney to a near draw in the 920 also helps explain the ease of Barack's win, and this area also featured swings of around 20 points or more.

Brown County- Romney 50-49, Walker 60-40
Outagamie Co.-Romney 50-48 Walker 61-38
Winnebago Co.- Obama 51-47, Walker 56-43
Manitowoc Co.- Romney 51-48, Walker 64-35
Kewaunee Co.- Romney 52-47, Walker 64-36
Door Co.- Obama 53-46, Walker 57-43

As mentioned before the elction, Racine County kept its status as a state bellweather, going 51-48 for Obama and 51-46 for Baldwin, and Kenosha County went Dem in a big way, backing Obama by 13 points after barely supporting Barrett 50-49 in June. Even in the stupidly-red WOW Counties of Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee, Obama pulled about 1/3 of the vote, outperforming Barrett, who couldn't crack 30% in any of those places.

As for turnout- The Obama folks got their people out. Heavy blue Dane County and the City of Milwaukee easily outvoted the similarly-heavy red Waukesha County, and unlike June's recall election, the blue counties of Rock and Kenosha outvoted the dead-red Washington County,

Top 10 turnout counties, 2012 president
Dane County 9.88%
City of Milwaukee 9.54%
Waukesha County- 7.91%
Rest of Milwaukee Co. 6.55%
Brown County- 4.21%
Racine County- 3.37%
Outagamie Co.- 3.07%
Winnebago Co.- 2.89%
Rock County- 2.64%
Kenosha County- 2.64%
Washington Co.- 2.58%

So Obama and Baldwin both benefitted from turnout in addition to getting swing counties in SW and NE Wisconsin to turn their way. That combination of high turnout in the big blue counties and winning in the toss-up areas is the way Dems succeed in Wisconsin, and it's something the DPW should keep in mind as they try to deal with another 2 years in the minority in the state legislature.

Just getting people to vote in Milwaukee and Madison isn't enough- they need to stretch their message outside of the big cities, and get those voters to back them they way they backed Barack Obama and Tammy Baldiwn in 2012. Maybe 2 more years of Walker stupidity will take care of it for them, but maybe a populist economic message against inequality and in support of compassion and community wouldn't hurt either.

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