Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Obama's Bandwagon Rides Through Wisconsin

Bookmark and Share

On February 19th, Wisconsin voters will have the somewhat rare opportunity to weigh in on a presidential nomination process while the outcome is at least somewhat in doubt.

As Smart Politics wrote on Monday, Wisconsinites will move in greater numbers to the side of Barack Obama, owing to his sweep through Tuesday's primaries and his increased presence in the Badger State through media buys. But Obama did even better than that by speaking to a capacity crowd at the Kohl Center in Madison last night—the Illinois Senator will no doubt benefit from additional free advertising from subsequent local news coverage.

A new survey by the Republican polling firm Strategic Vision currently gives Obama a 45 to 41 percent edge over Hillary Clinton, but that poll's ending field date was Sunday. Expect the vast majority of undecided voters (14 percent in that poll) and some Clinton supporters to break to Obama in the coming days.

If this blog author has any particular insights into the political climate of the Badger State, it may be attributed, at least at the margins, for having grown up there: in a moderate to conservative rural area, but about an hour away from both Madison and Milwaukee—the liberal strongholds in the state.

Obama will not only draw a significant number of traditional Democratic voters to his side next Tuesday, but also the vast majority of the state's more rabid left wing elements (i.e. Madison). Wisconsin has an open primary, so Obama should also benefit from the state's large number of (disaffected) independents, who will be less tuned in to the nearly decided (and less publicized) Republican race. The independent streak in Wisconsin can be strong: 14 percent of Wisconsin voters in the 2002 Wisconsin Governor's race gave the nod to third party candidates.

In the end, Wisconsin will not be unlike many other states on the campaign trail that have already crossed the path of the Obama momentum machine—getting themselves hitched to a fast-moving bandwagon as it travels from state to state. Clinton strategists know this, and perhaps that is why the New York Senator was in Texas last night (gearing, perhaps, for an Alamo-like defense against this bandwagon). Obama followed his rally in Madison Tuesday evening with multiple additional appearances in Wisconsin today, while Clinton's upcoming schedule is packed with appearances in Texas and Ohio.

But, to be fair, the oncoming shift to Obama in Wisconsin cannot solely be attributed to the fact that Wisconsin likes a winner. For example, while it is true that the number of Green Bay Packer fans increased significantly in the Badger State during Brett Favre's reign, the state still had a substantial core following of the Green and Gold during the two decades of lean years since Vince Lombardi—especially in blue collar towns.

However, it is also true that in Madison (the antithesis of a Wisconsin blue collar town) you did not see many sell-out crowds for Badger football or basketball games prior to the arrival in the 1990s of star head coaches Barry Alvarez and Dick Bennett.

Obama too is a star, and certainly flashy enough to interest and motivate Madison's liberal (and radical) base next Tuesday.

Previous post: Live Blog: Maryland Primary
Next post: Poll: Obama Up 4 In Wisconsin

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting