Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Largest Wisconsin counties (and Dems?) getting more early votes

We are starting to get the first reports back on early voting totals in Wisconsin, and at first glance, it seems to be advantage Democrats, at least according to this Associated Press report.
Democratic counties continue to outpace Republican strongholds in Wisconsin early voting, a signal of strength for Hillary Clinton and Senate candidate Russ Feingold.

The latest numbers current through Monday posted by the Wisconsin Elections Commission show more than 30 percent of early absentee votes cast so far have come from the Democratic counties of Milwaukee and Dane.

Only about 16 percent of early votes have come from the conservative stronghold counties of Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee. Those suburban Milwaukee counties are imperative for Donald Trump and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson if they hope to carry the state.
First of all, let’s backtrack and look at past turnout totals in Wisconsin. For this example I split off the City of Milwaukee from the rest of Milwaukee County, partly because those turnout numbers then become comparative to other places, but also because the overwhelmingly Dem City and 50-50 County vote quite differently.

The State’s Elections Commission has newly-updated information from that AP report, giving information on the 518,000+ absentee ballots that had been returned as of today. These figures are at the county-wide level, so it’s not really apples-to-apples, but you’ll get the idea.

WOW Counties 16.24%
Milwaukee County 15.58%
Dane County 14.68%
Brown County 5.29% (despite the GB early voting fiasco)
Outagamie Co. 4.15%
Racine County 3.83%
Kenosha County 3.73%
Winnebago Co.3.38%
Rock County 2.39%
Marathon County 2.11%

Looks like the red WOW Counties have caught up a bit, now over the 16% figure, which is also above their typical vote share. Blue Dane County is also running ahead of their typical turnouts in early voting, as is Brown County, Outagamie County, and Kenosha County. Milwaukee County is right in between its share of the 2012 and 2014 elections, although as mentioned, there’s no breakdown of City vs. County when it comes to looking at where those early/absentee votes are coming from. But it’s the rest of the state that hasn’t been doing early voting, as less than 29% of the total absentee votes received so far are in less-populated areas, compared to the over-40% figure of the state’s vote total that the rest of the state drew in 2012 and 2014.

That being said, there is one big exception in that lower “other county” vote, and that’s in La Crosse County, the home of a sizable UW campus and another private college (Viterbo). La Crosse County has 14,384 ballots returned as of November 1, good for 2.77% of the state’s total, well above La Crosse’s 2.01% share in 2014 and 2.07% in 2012. Given La Crosse’s blue leanings (Burke 53-46 over Walker, Obama 59-41 over Romney), you’d think that would be a good sign for Democrats.

Again, very early and might not mean too much when we get to the final turnout numbers. But with my wife putting her vote in the bank for Clinton, Feingold and Pocan tonight, and me tomorrow (I am fucking finished with this election, and the destructive trash that is today's GOP) I figured it was a good time to compare the numbers and see if anything jumped out.

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