Thursday, July 25, 2013

Which Wis, leggies are vulnerable in 2014? By the numbers

If Wisconsinites want to get their inner Nate Silver on, Daily Kos had a cool link to digest that came out about a week ago. It lists the 2012 election results for both president and U.S. senator by Congressional, State Senate, and State Assembly district. It's a really cool treasure trove of info, and can help you ID what it's like in your community (not surprisingly, my near-west side Senate and Assembly district voted for Obama and Baldwin by more than 3-to-1).

What this exercise also can do is help you identify who might be vulnerable to a big swing election in these post-redistricted districts, and who might be relatively safe. What I'm going to do is take a look at the vote for Obama and Baldwin in a given district, and then divide by 2 to get the "general" vote for Dems in that district. Then, I'll compare that number to the statewide average for those two candidates (which was 52.20%), and then see how far it deviated from the rest of the state. Then, I'll use that number to determine a "Wisconsin PVI" to see just how far off those districts are from the state average, and that'll tell you which districts may be most (and least) likely to tip in a statewide wave.

First up is the State Senate, and you'll find some interesting names on the list. As a reminder, a Dem +1 rating would mean that the Republicans would need to win the state by 1% to have an expected tie in a certain race, and likewise, a GOP +1 rating means the Dems would need to win statewide by 1% to have the expected result be a tie.

Most representative Senate districts
Lassa (D) GOP +0.4%
Hansen (D) GOP +1.0%
Vinehout (D) Dem +1.5%
Schultz (R) Dem +2.0%
Jauch (D) Dem +3.4%
Shilling (D) +3.5%
Ellis (R) GOP +4.1%
Gudex (R) GOP +4.2%
Moulton (R) GOP +4.7%
Olsen (R) GOP +5.0%
Petrowski (R) GOP +5.3%
Lassee (R) GOP +5.5%

With the state going Dem +2.2% in 2012, every race ended up as it "should" have, given that Schultz's seat wasn't up for re-election last year. You can see where the GOP's redistricting strategy comes in, as there are a whole lot of 55-45 districts that favor the GOP (and several more that I didn't list that are between GOP +6 and GOP +8) and only 6 of 33 districts in the entire state that are within 4 points of the state average. It's interesting to point out that 5 of the 6 districts that are closest to the average Wisconsin voter are represented by Dems, but the next 6 closest seats are all held by Republicans.

It's also worth adding that Dems only have to defend 2 of these seats in 2014 (Vinehout and Jauch) while the GOP has to hold onto Schultz's, Ellis's, Moulton's, Petrowski's and Lassee's. So there's an argument to be made that if there's a Dem wave that hits in 2014, you could see a major shift in power in the Senate. And Ellis's district being as close as it is helps to explain why State Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber announced this week that she was challenging the long-time Senator from the Fox Valley in 2014. It also didn't hurt that old Mike was sporting this look recently.

Moving over to the Assembly, the same pattern repeats, although there are many more closer seats (not surprising, there's 99 seats instead of 33 in the Senate), and there are more crossover seats in general, and GOPs hold almost all of the closest seats.

Most representative Assembly seats
Wright (D) GOP +0.6%
Brooks (R) GOP +0.7%
Bernier (R) GOP +1.6%
Tranel (R) Dem +1.6%
Nerison (R) Dem +1.8%
Doyle (D) GOP +2.0%
Ripp (R) GOP +2.6%
Bies (R) GOP +2.9%
Krug (R) GOP +3.0%
Klenke (R) GOP +3.7%
Vruwink (D) GOP +4.0%
Hintz (D) Dem +4.0%
Riemer (D) Dem +4.2%
Murtha (R) GOP +4.3%
Weininger (R) GOP +4.3%
Larson (R) GOP +4.5%
Smith (D) GOP +4.6%
Honadel (R) GOP +4.7%
Ballweg (R) GOP +4.8%
Marklein (R) Dem +5.0%

So in districts within 5 points of the state average, the total is GOP 14, Dems 6. With that in mind, if you had a year where Dems grabbed 55% of the vote, theoretically that would be enough for the State Assembly to flip, even with the GOPs having 60 seats right now. But even with that in mind, there are only 9 of 99 seats within 3 points of the state average, which helps explain why in a 2012 election that went Dem +2.2%, there was no change in the total composition of the Assembly (although Tranel and Nerison won in western Wisconsin when they technically "shouldn't" have, as did Vruwink and Smith further north).

What these numbers indicate to me is that the GOPs have mostly maxed out what they could get (barring a ridiculous landslide election), but the Dems need a big wave election to gain control of the Legislature in the coming years. That being said, that doesn't mean all hope should be gone if you're a Dem, as it proves again that a strong Dem year could lead to major pickups, especially once you get to Dem advantages of 53-47 and 54-46. This is especially the case to consider when you realize that many of the close seats are in the swingiest areas of Wisconsin, as I pointed out last year that the Milwaukee and Madison areas don't change very much in voting (it's all about turnout there), but the rest of the state can change quite a bit.

Keep this one out as a reference, cause I got a feeling I'll be heading back to it for a number of reasons in the coming 15 months. Plus, you can use it to impress your friends on Wisconsin voting geography, and you won't even have to give me or Daily Kos the credit!

No comments:

Post a Comment