Sunday, March 31, 2013

Supreme Court vote by the numbers

With next week's elections coming up for Wisconsin Supreme Court and State Superintendent of Schools, I wanted to do a breakdown of who votes in these elections, and see what the differences might be vs. a November election.

Top 10 turnout counties, 2011 Supreme Court
Dane County 12.16%
Waukesha Co. 8.34%
City of Milwaukee 7.78%
Rest of Milwaukee Co. 7.49%
Brown County 4.05%
Racine County 3.39%
Outagamie Co. 2.91%
Washington Co. 2.71%
Winnebago Co. 2.64%
Rock County 2.46%

Now let's compare this with 2012's recall election, as well as the presidential election breakdown of the top 10 counties by votes.

Top 10 turnout counties, Governor recall election 2012
Dane County 10.17%
City of Milwaukee 9.24%
Waukesha Co. 8.53%
Rest of Milwaukee Co. 6.53%
Brown County 4.15%
Racine County 3.43%
Outagamie Co. 3.10%
Winnebago Co. 2.83%
Washington Co. 2.76%
Rock County 2.52%

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%)

You can see where the bigger turnout in a presidential election diluted the amounts for both Dane and Waukesha Counties (Dane especially), and that while Milwaukee County had only a slightly higher percentage of the overall vote share, there were a lot more of those votes coming from the City of Milwaukee in both elections in 2012 vs. 2011. We'll see if Fallone's status as a Shorewood native and Marquette Law Professor changes those numbers up a bit. In addition, Brown County and Outagamie County have had a steadily higher percentage in each of the 2012 elections, perhaps reflecting those areas being one of the few outside of Madison that are consistently growing in Wisconsin.

Obviously, who votes in these elections is also a big difference, with fewer "casual voters" meaning that often the bases are more likely to come out. And certainly the heat of the 2011 election added to it, as it took place at the height of the Uprising, with the race receiving huge national attention.

 This certainly made a difference in the 2011 race, as dead-red Washington County went for Prosser 75-25 while Kenosha went for Kloppenberg 54-46 and Rock was 60-40 Kloppenberg. Which counties (or in the case of Milwaukee, city vs. suburbs) turn out the voters in Southeastern Wisconsin will obviously play a big part in Tuesday's result. Washington County had their votes watered down with the 2012 presidential turnout, with blue counties such as Kenosha and Rock moving their way past Baggerland (Kenosha was down in 13th place in the Supreme Court race, at 2.05%).

  Now the GAB has said that they think turnout will be closer to 20% on Tuesday, or about 850,000 votes instead of the 1.5 million in 2011. If that's true, let's look at the top 10 counties for the last times we had a turnout like that, and see if there's a difference. I'll use the 2008 closely-contested Butler vs. Gableman election as a proxy, since the 2009 race between Abrahamson and Koshnick was never really that serious.

   Top 10 turnout counties, Supreme Court 2008
   City of Milwaukee- 9.78%
   Milwaukee Co.- 9.45%
   Dane County- 8.60%
   Waukesha Co.- 7.87%
   Brown County- 3.54%
   Racine County- 3.42%
   Outagamie Co.- 2.91%
   Washington Co.- 2.69%
   Winnebago Co.- 2.46%
    Kenosha County- 2.45%

   Note that the rest of Milwaukee County gets almost as many votes as the City, and Dane County especially had a lower turnout than they usually get. And the larger-turnout counties of Brown, Outagamie, and Winnebago Counties all take up a smaller percentage, meaning the more rural counties of Wisconsin get a slightly higher amount of importance. Rock County slips all the way down to 12th place in this study.

  Milwaukee County's numbers in particular are interesting in the 2008 and 2011 Supreme Court race, because the rest of the county diluted the City's totals (maybe because of County Exec races on the ballot in both years - that's not the case Tuesday). This is also reflected in the totals of the "pro-Dem" candidate in the Supreme Court race.

   Milwaukee County vote percentage
   2008 Supreme Court- Butler 57-42
   2010 Governor- Barrett 62-38
   2011 Supreme Court- Kloppenberg 56-43
   2012 Recall Governor- Barrett 63-36

  If Butler wins Milwaukee County 62-38 like Barrett, and gets a turnout in Dane County near the amounts of most November elections, he's still on the Supreme Court, and the Court is nowhere near the corporately-bought disgrace it is today. If Kloppenberg wins Milwaukee County with 63% like Barrett did a year later, former Prosser aide Kathy Nickolaus can't come up with the magic votes to get the Choker on the Court, because Kloppenberg would have won by 20,000 votes.


  Now do you see why it's important to get yourself out on Tuesday and get to the polls for Fallone? Because all it takes is a few more of us to do the right thing and to convince others to step up and do the same, and the decline of this state can begin to stop.


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