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 photo wisen2012_zps9f3b4f75.jpg

In Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin overcame fears by many that she would be too liberal for the state, aided by Tommy Thompson's weak campaign partially stemming from a very competitive 3-way primary between him, Eric Hovde, and Mark Neumann.  She ended up winning by a small but comfortable margin.  Surprisingly, Baldwin, who is to the left of Obama, ended up doing better than him a sizeable number of Wisconsin counties.  Thompson, on the other hand, did better than Romney in many bluer counties.  Let's look at some patterns:

1) Baldwin's Old District: Tammy Baldwin, who had represented Dane County (Madison) and surrounding areas for over a decade, underperformed President Obama in every county of her district.  In fact, part of her district is in the corner of Wisconsin with the darker red, showing an even stronger Thompson performance there.

2) Trends:  More so than any other state so far, in Wisconsin we can see a clear example of how trends work their way down the ballot.  The areas Thompson overperformed most in included the ancestrally Republican Driftless Area in the Southwest of the state, as well as other D-trending areas in the southern half of Ron Kind's district, and the southern part of the state in general.  

3) Milwaukee Area a Mixed Bag: One of the suburban Milwaukee counties had Baldwin overperform, and in the others she underperformed by a bit.

4) Northwoods: Some, including myself, believed Baldwin's biggest problem would be with rural voters, especially in the ancestrally Democratic areas up North.  For one thing, Baldwin's lesbianism would likely be more of an issue there, and for another, her F rating from the NRA is the biggest problem in the most rural areas, which tend to have the highest gun ownership.  However, nearly every county she overperformed in was in the Northern half of the state, and Thompson only beat Romney in a few of them.  It could be that Obama did worse than Generic Democrat did here, as he did in most areas that are heavily based on extraction (MI's Upper Peninsula, MN's Northwoods, Coal Country in Appalachia).  Or it could be that the trend hasn't gone all the way down the ballot yet.  Either way, I'm surprised by this result.

5) Native Americans: Like in Montana (see Part One), the Republican Senate candidate did better than Romney among Native Americans.  Obama seems to be stronger with them than a Generic Democrat is.  

Now for New Mexico.

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Heather Wilson's race vs. Martin Heinrich was rated Lean D by just about everyone, and the result showed that this was the correct rating.  Wilson performed decently for a Republican in New Mexico in 2012, but it was not enough.  My observations:

1) Hispanics: Heather Wilson was clearly more popular than Mitt Romney among New Mexico's Hispanics.  The most heavily Hispanic parts of the state are north of Albuquerque, and it corresponds pretty well to where she outran Romney the most.  
2) Native Americans: Same as Wisconsin here.  Her two best counties have decent Native populations.
3) Southern New Mexico: Heinrich did best in the Southern part of the state.  I have no explanation for this.  However, the darkest blue county is the only heavily Mormon county in New Mexico, so Romney ran ahead of Generic R by quite a bit.  Wilson, as a non-Mormon, didn't.
4) Albuquerque Area:  Both candidates were from Albuquerque.  Wilson narrowly outran Romney, but it was nothing impressive.
5) Polarization: Heinrich outran Obama in nearly every county Romney won, while Wilson outran Romney in nearly every county Obama won.  There are a few exceptions, but only about five.

Michigan:
 photo michigansen2012_zpse6adda64.jpg

Pete Hoekstra aired has disastrous, offensive Debbie Spend-It-Now ad and never really recovered.  He underperformed Romney in every county in the state.

1) Peninsular Strength: Stabenow most overperformed Obama in the state's two peninsulas: The Upper Peninsula and the Thumb.  The Upper Peninsula is likely due to a combination of ancestral Democratic strength and Obama's unique unpopularity due to extraction (evidenced by how close McDowell came to knocking off incumbent Benishek).  The Thumb I have no explanation for.  It's never really been blue.

2) Northeast Lower Peninsula: This area is also ancestrally Dem, and Stabenow did very well.

3) Western Michigan:  Much of the lightest colored areas are in Hoekstra's old district.  They're also ancestrally Republican.  This combination meant Hoekstra ran only a couple points behind Romney.  

4) Detroit Area, Blue Collar vs. White Collar: I'd say the Detroit area proper has five counties.  In the two most blue-collar ones, Monroe and Macomb, Stabenow overperformed more than she did in the other three.  To be fair, Oakland County is also ancestrally Republican, as is Western Wayne County, so that hurt her too.

This map, more than any other so far, shows how much ancestrally Dem or GOP counties can differ once you go even one step down the ballot.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
    politicohen.com
    Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
    UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

    by jncca on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 05:56:13 PM PST

  •  This is good to know (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    It may be possible to steal Republican votes in a non-presidential year where Obama isn't on the top of the ticket. Though the weakness of the Generic Democrat is slightly disappointing.

  •  Maybe there are a few (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, WisJohn

    gay Republicans in Wisconsin who decided to vote for Tammy because she's one of their own but still voted for Romney. Okay, I know its a wild guess but maybe she picked up a few hundred votes that way.

    •  they'd likely be concentrated (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, GloFish

      in more urban areas though.  And they'rd be spread equally through the rural ones.  I don't think Pepin County happens to be more gay than Columbia County.

      20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
      politicohen.com
      Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
      UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

      by jncca on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 07:28:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Quite probably, no one did (0+ / 0-)

    Many voters skip one race or the other. This has caused you to misperceive a Romney-null ballot and a null-Baldwin ballot as a Romney-Baldwin and a null-null - for which you are not, of course, justified.

    Only where the total Romney vote plus the total Baldwin vote exceeds 100% of ballots cast - NOT votes counted - can you be certain there is in fact anything to be explained.

    Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

    by Clem Yeobright on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 07:14:46 PM PST

  •  For Wisconsin in particular, I think you should (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inoljt

    Look at vote totals before you try to determine ticket splitters. A lot of counties like Dane probably see the difference in percentage margin come down to undervoting more than anything else. I guarantee that's the cause in NM's Native American areas and probably in its Hispanic ones too.

    Lastly, Stabenow's pattern is entirely congruent with how Obama underperforms the 2006-2012 average in the upper peninsula and other areas. Those areas seem to have a lot of labor Dems who actually do split their tickets rather than young people or minorities who undervote.

    •  I'm not necessarily saying these people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Inoljt

      split their tickets.  But at least in some Wisconsin counties,
      Baldwin got more votes than Obama.

      20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
      politicohen.com
      Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
      UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

      by jncca on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 07:29:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't forget that Tommy Thompson (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madcitysailor

    was governor of Wisconsin, and for those that don't know, he was the epitome of a corrupt, old boy insider.  He's basically the poster child for cronyism.

    I live in Wisconsin.  I really don't know how much people were focused on Baldwin as much as knowing that 4 years of Tommy is just too much to stomach.  He really was/is an awful candidate and a very unlikeable human being.

    I'm surprised he got as far as he did.

    Moral or the story:  sometimes the negatives of the losing candidate are more important and telling than the positives of a winning candidate.

    Industrial food production in America ruins our health, our environment and consumes more fossil fuel than any segment of our economy.

    by Mi Corazon on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 07:39:01 PM PST

    •  Well, if that were true, (0+ / 0-)

      why did Thompson do better than Romney in so much of the state?

      20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
      politicohen.com
      Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
      UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

      by jncca on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 07:50:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thompson did better than Romney (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WisJohn

        In certain parts of the state due to his past history as a 3 term govenor. There are some that truely like Tommy espically the state GOP that thought that alone would be enough to beat a Madison/liberal/gay for the Senate.  Romney's group apparently thought that having Ryan as his running mate would be enough to carry the state and after finding out what both of them where about rejected them.  And the reason Ryan didn't loose his congressional seat is that the alternative to him wasn't that hot and Ryan's alot like Senselessbrenner they clobber soft Dem. canidates.  The old power of the incumbent.

        Give peace a chance get up and dance... Alvin Lee/Ten Years After

        by Blue Collar on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 10:49:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I was concerned. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WisJohn

      He had a long pedigree and had strong poll numbers initially.

      "Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game." -Voltaire

      by KingofSpades on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 08:50:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  New Mexico perspective... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades

    I mentioned this in your first diary, but Obama just did really well among Native Americans, to the extent that numbers coming from counties with reservations on them will likely skew more towards Obama than they would otherwise.

    Also, I can explain southern New Mexico, it's basically like rural Texas, it's not totally surprising that Heinrich outperformed Obama in some of these counties, especially given that Heather Wilson has never really had much appeal to that part of the state.

    Politics and more Formerly DGM on SSP. NM-01, 26 (chairman of the Atheist Caucus)

    by NMLib on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 08:01:28 PM PST

    •  but why does Heinrich have appeal? (0+ / 0-)

      He's not much more moderate than Obama, and he's not rural.  Is it just that Obama is such a bad fit that anyone else does better?

      20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
      politicohen.com
      Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
      UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

      by jncca on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 08:02:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Race plays some part in it... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ArkDem14, WisJohn

        Like I said, southern New Mexico is closer to rural western Texas than it really is compared to the rest of the state, and there are still a number of conservative Democrats who are still around, who would have no problem voting for someone like Heinrich (who, while a moderately-liberal Democrat, is still largely inoffensive) but would vote against Obama.

        It's just like what you'd see in the precincts in rural Texas, Obama did even worse than John Kerry in some of those areas.

        Politics and more Formerly DGM on SSP. NM-01, 26 (chairman of the Atheist Caucus)

        by NMLib on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 09:23:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ryan factor? (0+ / 0-)

    Did Paul Ryan help Romney in or near his CD? (He is from Janesville--about a dozen miles north of the Illinois line on I-90/I-39.)

    •  Perhaps a point or two (0+ / 0-)

      It's really tough to judge.

      20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
      politicohen.com
      Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
      UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

      by jncca on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 01:30:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What I find interesting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davybaby

      Is that Ryan did very well in his district's House race, winning in the high 50s but he barely won it in the Presidential race. It seemed there was a good chunk of voters who wanted Ryan to stay in their district instead of becoming VP.

      For more election analysis and redistricting maps, check out my blog http://racesandredistricting.blogspot.com/ CA-2 (former CA-6) College in CA-37. Go Trojans!!

      by Alibguy on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 10:06:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I can explain #3 (sole Milwaukee county) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zack from the SFV

    I worked that area for the last couple of weeks of the campaign.  That area knows their congresswoman well, Gwen Moore, and they love her.  But, it was apparent immediately that not many people there knew who Tammy was.  Some didn't know who Thompson was either.  So, we felt obliged to clarify.

    We trained our teams to inform everyone that they could not vote straight Dem (as in the past) AND to remember to vote for Tammy Baldwin.  How did we ensure that they'd remember.  Well, we told them about the comment that Thompson's son made with Priebus (about sending Obama back to Chicago or Kenya).  They all remembered that quite well.

    Keep the crazy comments coming, baggers, cuz that's working for ya!

    Did the areas around Milwaukee that she lost go to Romney?  I'd be curious because I'm wondering why they were not covered.  It was not for a lack of people on foot.  We had people hitting homes multiple times on foot, sometimes on the same afternoon.

  •  It's obvious to me (0+ / 0-)

    Any voter who is able to cast a Senate ballot for an openly gay and unabashedly progressive Democrat while simultaneously casting a Presidential ballot for the candidate of the party that is enthusiastically homophobic and entirely dedicated to tax cuts for the 1% is doing so for one reason, and one reason only: the color of the Democratic Presidential candidate's skin is too dark.

    •  there are a multitude of other reasons (3+ / 0-)

      Perhaps they liked Romney's business experience (there are some people who felt that way).  Perhaps they are very low-info and only saw the first debate.  Perhaps they saw a Romney rally and liked his speech.  There are other reasons.

      20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
      politicohen.com
      Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
      UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.4.12, -4.92

      by jncca on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 01:31:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Michigan thumb (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marcus Graly

    is elastic and not very partisan. They tend to give wide margins to incumbents.

    "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

    by ArkDem14 on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 03:52:07 PM PST

  •  SW WI. (5+ / 0-)

    The Dark red area in SW WI is almost the outline of Dale Schultz's state senate district. Even more closer to his old one. Plus, Juneau County is Tommy's 'home' county (where his 'farm in Elroy' is. He lives in Madison.), and while he won it (Juneau),  I was surprised that he didn't win it by a bigger margin. I think there are some political changes that are going on in Juneau that are favorable to Democrats. It went for Green over Doyle in 2006.

    Also, Tammy made a point about keeping paper industry jobs in WI. The paper/logging industry is still big in the Northwoods.

    Farm boy, 20, who hit the city to go to college, WI-03 (home, voting), WI-02 (college), -7.00, -3.13, Coya shouldn't have been sent home.

    by WisJohn on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 07:14:19 PM PST

  •  Interesting diary and good series (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoUBears, terjeanderson, KingofSpades

    A few reactions:

    1 -- My goodness was Pete "Spend it Not" a terrible candidate.  I don't think anyone was going to beat Debbie Stabenow, but a lot of people cound have come closer.

    2 -- As obvious as this is going to sound, campaigns matter.  Tommy Thompson came across as a crude, mean, blustering OLD drunk.  That matters -- espcially to people who are not as partisan or ideologically-motivated voters.  If you were an undecided, more centrist leaning person, I can't imagine he made a good impression on very many people.

    •  Baldwin also gave a good impression (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WisJohn, KingofSpades

      When she campaigned throughout August and September nonstop while Thompson barely campaigned at all. Apparently, Thompson forgot how well Martha Coakley did when she took time off and barely campaigned. At least Thompson didn't forget the names of any Packers or Brewers players though.

      For more election analysis and redistricting maps, check out my blog http://racesandredistricting.blogspot.com/ CA-2 (former CA-6) College in CA-37. Go Trojans!!

      by Alibguy on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 10:04:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Voters aren't always rational (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jeffmd, WisJohn, jncca, KingofSpades

    And their motivations for casting ballots the way they do don't always make sense to us.

    Most voters follow relatively predictable patterns - voting based on ideology, economic interest, geography, demographics, etc.

    But anyone who has done much canvassing (or run for office) will encounter a certain segment of voters whose decision-making seems to be much more random.

    Here in Vermont I have a neighbour who loves Bernie Sanders and Sarah Palin....views them both as outsider populists who shake up the system. I know someone else who calls himself a socialist (and who has voted for Socialist and Green candidates in the past) who voted for Romney because he thought Obama was too moderate. I know someone here who voted a straight Democratic ticket except casting a vote for the right wing candidate for Governor because of a single issue (wind energy development). I've encountered voters who will vote for a woman of either party, regardless of ideology, because they think "women are more honest than men." I once met a voter who said he would vote against any incumbent, of any party, because they should all be thrown out of office. And on several occasions I've met voters who said they wouldn't vote for a candidate because they hate their TV ads, or voters supporting a candidate ideologically their opposite because "they seem nice."

    Sometimes votes are just perversely and maddeningly inconsistent in using very different criteria for decision-making than those of us who follow politics do.

    Look at the exit polls from the last presidential election - 13% of self-described "liberals" voted for Romney and 17% of "conservatives" voted for Obama. Fully 19% of those who thought Obamacare should be retained voted for Romney, and 5% of those who wanted it repealed voted for Obama.

    Somehow county or precinct analysis will never fully be able to account for the irrationality/unpredictability factor in voter preferences.

    My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world - Jack Layton

    by terjeanderson on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 10:47:53 AM PST

    •  Yup, exactly. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terjeanderson

      It's like the infinite monkey theorem: there are enough voters out there such that there'll always be at least a few Romney-Baldwin, or McCain-Sanders, or hell, even Obama-Allen West voters, that is, some voters whose voting pattern make little sense to anyone else.

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections. IL-07.

      by jeffmd on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 11:41:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is weird (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        terjeanderson

        I have met a ton of voters too out there who just vote for a couple of reasons that are just a bit odd to me.

        I saw one voter who had only one issue which was medical maurijauna (this voter supported it) and would not vote on any other issue. Still, I feel like there are a few others out there who have medical maurijauna as their main issue.

        Then there was another voter I talked to who was talking about the horrible parts of Agent Orange (yep, the Agent Orange from the Vietnam War,) and how that was the main issue for them.

        For more election analysis and redistricting maps, check out my blog http://racesandredistricting.blogspot.com/ CA-2 (former CA-6) College in CA-37. Go Trojans!!

        by Alibguy on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 08:43:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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