Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Why do we think more MAGAs will vote in Wis, when COVID killed a lot more of them?

If you've been following the trends in COVID cases and severity since vaccines became widely available in early 2021, this stat doesn't surprise you. But it sure tells a lot.

And the reason why shouldn't surprise you either.

The same pattern holds in Wisconsin.You may remember that Milwaukee County had well over 200 COVID deaths in the first 2 months of the pandemic, which more than half of the state's total deaths at the time. Since that time, a little more than 2,100 Milwaukee County residents have died due to COVID-19, but nearly 15,000 more Wisconsinites have died (or probably died) due to COVID overall.

And if you look at the overall death rates in the state, you can see it is heavily skewed toward rural areas in northern Wisconsin that have older populations, lower vaccination rates, and high levels of MAGA.

Every one of those 24 counties listed voted for Donald Trump in 2020. And a disproportionate amount of those voters are now gone in 2022.

This reality becomes especially important when you remember that rural, Trumpy parts of the state had a higher part of the 2020 Wisconsin electorate than they have in recent years, and Milwaukee County (and especially the City of Milwaukee) had a lower amount share.

Now you may think a 1% difference in electorate share isn't a big deal, either in the outstate counties gaining or in Milwaukee County declining. But if you assume the same turnout share as 2018 and the same Dem vs GOP results as 2020, here's the change.

When you add 0.5% to the Dems and take away 0.5% from GOPs, that would turn Biden's 20,000 vote margin and take it over 50,000. And it's not unreasonable to think that the COVD death factor alone makes the 2018 electorate the base reality for 2022, if not even more pro-Dem.

But you don't see that modeled in polls, which somehow think this electorate will be even more GOP-leaning than the one that voted in 2020. Maybe this is a bit of hopium speaking, but I don't see anything in the demographics, COVID numbers, or 2022's election results that indicate that. And does anyone think that the WOW Counties are going to vote 2-to-1 for Trump-humpers like Ron Johnson and Tim Michels, like they voted 2-to-1 for Scott Walker in 2018? Me neither.

I'm not saying that the races won't be close in Wisconsin in 4 weeks. But I am saying that incorrectly modeled polls can influence those results (I'm looking at you, Charles Franklin), and I do think the polling is not accounting for the extraordinary times and changing state/country that we are in, with COVID mortality being a central part of that.

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