Thursday, April 6, 2017

2017 April turnout- Dane County rules while much of Wisconsin drools

Wanted to give the post-election follow-up to Monday's analysis on turnout and results for April's State Superintendent race. I'm going off of Wisconsin Public Radio's Wisconsinvote site, and this one picture gives you an idea on how thorough Tony Evers' win was (Evers won all the counties in blue) - and why I don't spend a dime in the suburban 262.

Now that's an ass-kicking. And maybe the non-competitive nature of the Superintendent race combined with an unchallenged Supreme Court race helped to explain why turnout fell short of the 796,511 that voted in the 2013 Superintendent race. Wisconsinvote only has the 2-party vote share, but it barely exceeds 707,000, a drop of more than 11% (although I'll note that Evers still exceeded his 2013 vote total, getting nearly 495,000 in 2017 compared to just over 487,000 in 2013).

What's intriguing is that while the dropoff in voting was widespread, one major exception to that rule was in Dane County, which not only exceeded its 2013 vote total by nearly 14%, but also cast more votes than the significantly more-populous Milwaukee County (!). The Republican strongholds of Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington Counties also had serious drop-offs (tired of all the winning? The sheep didn't get their orders from their AM radio masters?), but Brown County also saw higher turnout, likely due to huge school referenda in the Green Bay and Howard-Suamico districts.

I'll give the caveat that this is only the 2-party vote on Election Night, and doesn't count write-ins or other minor adjustments that'll happen with the final totals.

Top voter turnouts, April 2017 (comparison to 2013)
Dane County 96,933 (+11,791)
Non-City Mke Co. 52,133(-1,970)
Waukesha Co. 49,057 (-20,390)
City of Milwaukee 42,624 (-4,985)
Brown County 31,873 (+2,549)
Racine County 20,957 (-5,881)
Outagamie Co. 18,551 (-4,608)
Winnebago Co. 17,236 (-1,441)

In fact, Dane County cast 13.7% of all the votes in Tuesday's election, well above their typical November level of 10-11%, and Evers won by nearly 72,400 in Dane County alone, so they were definitely fired up for things here in the Mad City and the surrounding areas. Evers also won many Trump counties with 60-70% of the vote, including big population places like Kenosha, Racine, Marathon, Outagamie and Brown Counties.

Now the question for Dems is if the big win by Evers is a harbinger of bigger things in 2018, or if it's a one-time blowout due to a combination of a horrid opponent in Holtz and low turnout. It certainly seems that Governor Walker had an idea that Evers was going to win big and that voters want to support people who back public schools, which is why he's taking all of these taxpayer-funded campaign trips trying to talk up his one-time boost in K-12 aids (what, you think it's because the guy actually cares about educational outcomes? HAH!). It also makes me wonder if Evers' resounding win and the general disinterest in the pro-voucher Holtz might make the GOP Legislature hesitate to cut into Walker's gimmicky per-pupil increase when they try to figure out the budget in the next few months. Or if they'll blow it off, hopefully to their own peril.


  1. The vote you would think would be a clear, stark condemnation of vouchers and public school privatization (charters). This gives me hope for Wisconsin's public education future.

    I live in Fond du Lac and locally the Dems were able to elect a couple of kindred spirits to the Board of Education. Progress can happen!

    1. Good update. It's gotta start from the bottom, to teach the people at the top how it's done

  2. Re Holtz as a horrible candidate - he was so bad, the privatizers decided to forego their usual massive dark-money blitz.

    Re turnout - if Ziegler had had an opponent, turnout could have been a VERY different story (see dark-money blitz, previous point).

    I would hope this was a harbinger of things to come, but my gut says we mostly got extremely lucky.