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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Bush Leads in Wisconsin

In a head-to-head CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll of Wisconsin RV’s conducted Sept. 9-12, 2004, Bush leads Kerry 50-45 percent, with 5 percent neither/unsure.

8 comments on “Bush Leads in Wisconsin

  1. Alan R. on

    With the exception of some New England states, the winning of virtually *ANY* state by the Democrats in presidential elections is accomplished in just a handful of counties, primarily metropolitan ones (see Oregon and Pennsylvania, for example, in the map I’ve linked below). By no means is the phenomenon confined to Wisconsin.
    I would still label Wisconsin “lean Kerry” as, in all likelihood, we’re currently in a Bush “high water” period and the race in Wisconsin is very close according to some polls (such as Rasmussen, as noted above).

  2. Larry Kestenbaum on

    The Wisconsin scandals pitched out Republicans as well as Democrats. A state which prides itself on being intelligent and clean sure had a crop of dirty idiots in charge of its government.
    It’s the “Bowling Alone” phenomenon again. Wisconsin decayed into a cesspool because the formerly public-spirited citizenry walked away from its responsibilities. Nobody wanted to run for office. Nobody wanted to work on political campaigns. (I realize that sounds odd given the current tidal wave of Kerry volunteers, but until this year, political activism at the local/state level was getting roughly zero new blood. Arguably, outside the presidential race, that’s STILL the case.)
    In the absence of genuine mass political participation in Wisconsin, certain shortcuts emerged, in both parties, like using tax-funded legislative staffers to illegally build campaign voter lists, or letting lobbyists finance campaigns.
    Okay, so all the legislative leaders went to prison. Still no new blood. Now what?
    Kerry had damn well better win Wisconsin. Even if he gets a million more popular votes than Bush, without Wisconsin, how could he win the electoral college? Ohio, I guess, but that’s even chancier.
    By the way, the 2000 election pretty well cemented the notion that Republican areas are coded red and Democratic areas blue. I used to do the opposite, but I have bowed to the overwhelming consensus. Reading the reversed version in the preceding post(“bright-red” Milwaukee? “Deep blue” suburbs?) is like being an American trying to drive a car in London.

  3. Tim1965 on

    The problem with Wisconsin is that really only the southeastern corner of the state is Democratic any more. Gore won in 2000 based on a lot of Democratic votes in Milwaukee and Milwaukee county. The GOP is surging in Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Washington, Dodge, Jefferson, Columbia and Dane (except for Madison proper) counties — true suburbs of Milwaukee. Bright-red Milwaukee is ringed by deep-blue counties. Green Bay is 50-50, and the rest of the state — largely rural — is blue.
    The state went through a huge governmental scandal that’s upended politics statewide. Large numbers of incumbent Democrats, along with their effective GOTV machines, are gone.
    The GOP has used the state’s same-day registration law to flood the polls with GOP voters in every race in the last three years. The Dems have done almost nothing in this regard; although their registration effort this year is going strong, it probably won’t be enough to counter the past three years of GOP voter-roll growth.
    Wisconsin lost fewer jobs than any other Midwestern state, and it is gaining them faster than any other Midwestern state.
    Although Iraq and healthcare are hot-button issues for Wisconsinites, Kerry has proven ineffective in posing an alternative plan to Bush’s stay-the-course on the war. And Kerry’s healthcare message is getting lost in the barrage of other issues Kerry and Edwards keep talking about in the state.
    Kerry could win Wisconsin if:
    1) He proposes a clear, simply plan with clear signposts/decision points along the way for getting America quickly out of Iraq.
    2) Kerry begins barraging his target groups — elderly, working poor, small business owners and those who work for them — with specifics on how his healthcare plan is going to relieve them of the high cost of healthcare.
    I think this latter, in particular, is do-able. Kerry’s Web site contains no specifics on the plan whatsoever. Ask most people in the street, and they think Kerry’s plan is only importation and permitting Medicare to negotiate lower prices with drug companies. Kerry’s done a very poor job of explaining what his healthcare plan is, how it will lower premiums and cover more working people, and how it will be paid for.
    My suspicion is that Bush’s support in Wisconsin is weak as water. His true base there is limited to anti-abortionists and anti-tax fanatics. Bush is pulling those who believe that Bush is strong on national security. But there’s 10-15 percent of Bush’s support that would move to Kerry if Kerry only came out strong and crystalline clear on these two issue.

  4. Bob H on

    “I almost wonder if it isn’t a contrarian backlash against our progressive tradition. Anyone?”
    Is fundamentalist Christianity on rise in Wisconsin? A Minnesota friend says it certainly is there. Possibly an explanation for what seems quite bewildering.

  5. Allan Bartlett on

    you may not agree with my take, but I think Kerry calling Lambeau Field “Lambert Field” has effectively killed his chances in Wisconsin. That whole state bleeds green and yellow and I think they felt insulted by Kerry’s gaffe. I also heard that Brett Favre may be endorsing Bush.

  6. Dory O on

    I’m so embarassed. My state used to be a guaranteed win for the Dems. A McGovern state!!! Home to Fighting Bob LaFollette and the Progressives!
    With Illinois, Minn. and Mich. surrounding us and looking pretty good for Kerry I find myself wondering: “What’s wrong with Wisconsin? What happened?”
    I almost wonder if it isn’t a contrarian backlash against our progressive tradition. Anyone?


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