June 13, 2012

Wisconsin

Wisconsin has long been an interesting state, fairly rural but with a high-proportion of well-run family farms. It's usually been an example of D.P. Moynihan's Close to the Canadian Border effect (except for its blacks, who appear to have been largely recruited from the South by the generous European-style social benefits offered post WWII). 

A reader tries to make sense of recent voting changes on a county by county level, using the evenly split 2004 Presidential election as a baseline:
[1] that among conservative Catholics there has been a distinct upswing in favor of the Republicans and [2] that among lax Catholics there has been an equally distinct, albeit not so pronounced upward swing. Specifically, in the 2010 governorship race, conservative 'over-voted' their 2004 baseline numbers by an average of 3.5%. In the 2012 recall election, they 'over-voted' the 2004 baseline by almost 14%. Among lax Catholics the 2010 'over-vote' was about 3%, whereas in the 2012 recall it was almost 8%. 
I suspect that the 2010 shift in favor of the Republican side was, to at least some extent, a referendum on the Obama Administration's economic performance. I further suspect that--again, to at least some extent--that the significant upward swing in 2012 reflects anger with the ham-handed behavior of the Administration in regard to the medical insurance mandate relating to abortifacients. If my data reflect reality and if my interpretation of these data is anywhere near accurate, I believe that Mitt Romney has an reasonable chance to carry Wisconsin in November.

Managing a Coalition of the Diverse is always going to be a challenge, especially if the opposition tries Divide and Conquer techniques on them.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/06/13/be-careful-what-you-wish-for-monsieur-hollande/

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/06/11/the_end_of_the_asian_miracle

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/06/11/africa_takes_off_by_g_paschal_zachary

sunbeam said...

Another interpretation is that the money kicked in.

As I've seen it said other places, "the air game beat the ground game."

If that is the case... I don't know exactly what that means. I have a guess, and it isn't good for too many people.

To be blunt, in a sense the Republican party doesn't need the same people it did before. The Tea Party can be dispensed with. The Libertarians too.

The Democratic party has a lot more people willing to vote for it, than either of the two groups above in just about every state in the union. If they can't handle the ramifications of the Citizens United case, I'm convinced neither the Tea Party or the Libertarians are going to make much headway.

And all that sweet, sweet money is going to sway the independent voters whichever way the media and advertisements tell them to sway.

To be honest the elites of the Democratic Party aren't too different from the Republican elites in what they support when they actually have to make a vote that matters, ie there is no way to make a CYA vote when there is enough margin in the total to allow someone to polish their populist bona fides.

I doubt there is any possibility of a coalition of interests between the Tea Party, the Libertarians and any element of the Democratic party, because well there aren't any common interests in a lot of ways.

Reducing and regulating immigration is about the only one, but hispanics and elites on the democratic side, and elites, business types and a lot of the Libertarians won't go for it on the other.

I personally think a lot of the Democratic party is going to have to align with elite interests in the Republican Party, though I doubt it will be anything formal.

I say they will have to align because avoiding stuff like Christian Sharia Law is more important than saving Unions that can't be saved in the current environment.

As far as the validity of this analysis, well I'm sure some will differ. To accept it you kind of have to think that the really wealthy aren't really aligned with what the average Republican voter wants.

And that the difference in Wisconsin was due to money.

I expect to see with either a Romney or Obama presidency:

1) More immigration
2) More bailouts
3) More military adventures
(Romney more than Obama. Obama sure does like to put hits on Muslims though.)
4) More outsourcing
5) A total destruction of unions in any way that matters.
6) No real challenge to abortion
7) Nothing that challenges "free trade"

Only difference I can see between the two, is that I'm pretty sure Romney will nominate other people like Roberts to stack the Supreme Court for decades to come. I have no idea what Obama will do, but my hunch is he wouldn't, since it would be his last term anyway.

Neither will nominate anyone John Hagee would approve of though. Grover Norquist maybe, but not the Religious Right.

Anonymous said...

Milwaulkee is not a very good place for race relations.

Shouting Thomas said...

Ann Althouse has covered the "it was the result of Citizens United" bit in depth.

No, it was not.

I suggest you read the law prof's coverage of this issue. sunbeam's "analysis" is just plain wrong. Completely.

The voters understood the issues quite well in Wisconsin. They've rejected the union's attempts to roll back Gov. Walker's reforms in three elections.

The voters understood the issues quite well because Althouse covered them in great depth and detail. She's very widely read.

beowulf said...

Russ Feingold was the single best Democratic senator in terms of integrity and brains and Wisconsin replaced him in 2010 with an idiot with a rich wife and a newscaster name, Ron Johnson.

The point is, when a President screws up economic policy, his party gets killed at the polls up and down the ballot. The economy hasn't gotten any better in 2 years, its not surprising that Walker (who's much smarter than Johnson) again beat Barrett (who's much dumber than Feingold).

The economy is growing, at best, 2% a year, unless it speeds up to 3% (annualized) this summer-- which it won't-- Romney is a lock in WI and nationally.

Anonymous said...

Just about the only place left in WI that is solidly Democratic is Madison/Dane county (and even Madison voted only 2:1 in recall elections). Barring a royal screw up, Romney takes WI, count on it.

Anonymous said...

sunbeam,

You couldn't be further from the truth about "the money."

People were smarting for a long, long time about the occupation of their state house. As much as many people like their kids' teachers, there are a segment who don't, but both those who do and those who don't were doing either hot or slow burns over the demonstrations of the teacher's unions, not because they chose to demonstrate at all but because so frequently they illustrated infantile behavior, writing vulgar and stupid things on their signs, generally behaving as people parents didn't want as role models for their kids.

And this: the flight of democrat legislators from the state Capitol became a source of embarrassment for Wisconsinites who never have and never will (many residents of Madison excluded) admired the denizens of Berkeley, California.

Money wasn't necessary in this case as just about every resident, every voter in the state knew the issues by the time the election came (indeed, they wanted the election over much earlier) and had already formed their opinion before those ads ran.

Anonymous said...

The midwest has been a strength for the Dems and yes the midwest can change things. The Republicans were under Bush Ii limited to the south.

Jeff W. said...

Catholics are starting to get the picture that they have been thrown off the Democrats' gravy train, just like the Southern whites were in the 1960's.

A redistributionist political party has a strong incentive to keep its voting percentage near 50.001%. The math works like this: If Redistribution Party gets 75% of the vote and plunders $1 from each of the 25% in the Loser Party, then each member of the Redistribution Party, on average, will obtain 33 cents in spoils.

If, however, the Redistribution Party wins with just over 50% of the vote, then, at the same tax rate, each member can obtain $1 from the losers.

After the Johnson landslide of 1964, the Southern whites were forcefully evicted from the Democrats.

Democrats would prefer to have Catholics in the group that they plunder rather than cut them in on the spoils.

Anonymous said...

Left calls Right 'divisive', but the people who call for more diversity do so in order to create, manipulate, and exploit divisiveness caused by diversity.

Anonymous said...

There is ethnic diversity and moral diversity. 'Gay marriage' is a powerful wedge issue to divide whites into 'left' and 'right'. Feminism used to have that ole, but it faded. Without the 'gay marriage' issue, many liberal whites and conservative whites may agree on lots of stuff. But 'gay marriage' now is a powerful moral divider among whites.

Andrew said...

Have any of you been to a Catholic Church recently?

Count the number of families with five or more children. There are five families like that at my 1000 family parish. That is the people NOT using birth control. The rest of the people in the Curch could give a rats ass about a doctrine they hardly follow themselves.

The idea that Obama is going to lose Catholic voters over the birth control mandate is preposterous.

You are literally talking about less than 1% of the Church that actually cares about this issue.

Andrew said...

beowulf:

The economy is growing, at best, 2% a year, unless it speeds up to 3% (annualized) this summer-- which it won't-- Romney is a lock in WI and nationally.

The economy has been stuck at 2% growth since 2000.

I suppose at some point people will wake up and realize this, just like it will eventually be realized that we have not had a rapid employment recovery from a recession since 1983.

Fundemental changes have obviously taken place in how our economy works over the past 20 years due to demographics and energy per capita, and the total financialization of American economic activity.

Jeff Burton said...

Sunbeam: wrong.

People here were ticked that teachers staged sick-ins. You know annoying it is to have to arrange child care at ten o'clock on a tuesday night?

People here were sick of pitched political battles every four months complete with crazed hand scrawled signs in yards and sandwich sign guys with lunatic messages.

Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...
sunbeam,

You couldn't be further from the truth about "the money.""

Yes, in Connecticut where I live people are already talking about the Wisconsin recall and hoping that somebody like Walker steps up and takes on the public unions which are strangling towns (the average state or municiple employee makes over two times what those in the private sector do if you include benfit packages).


Sunbeam is completely out to lunch and has only a weak grasp of what working people in the private sector who pay the taxes for the public emplyees are actually thinking. Many of them feel they are being impoverished by high state and local property taxes.

Given that the net worth of property owners in the U.S.has declined by 40% since the beginning of the recession (and may never come back if you believe some experts), I am sure this sentiment is a nationwide phenomenon in every state where their are strong public sector employee unions (even FDR was against them!).

That is precisely why Obama stayed away from Wisconsin. His handlers know it is a losing issue for him.

Frankly, I am starting to wonder if Obama is toast this next election given how tied in he is to the interests of public sector employees.

These people will definitely be voting in November.

Regarding the gay issue. It definitely hurts Obama more than it helps hims. Most people who are not gay simply don't care about gay marriage, so it is not a factor they will consider when voting.

However, according to some polls I read of those people who actually feel strongly about it (a fairly small percentage of voters) to the degree it will influence who they will vote for --- they are against it by an almost 2 to 1 margin. Upshot, is that more people will vote against Obama based on this issue than for him.

Simon in London said...

Everything seems set up for Romney to perform very well among 'Reagan Democrat' white Catholics. And there tend to be a lot of them in swing-states.

Evangelicals who don't like Romney's Mormonism are (a) still going to vote for him and (b) concentrated in solidly Republican states.

Set against that is California now being solidly Democrat. But overall I think the odds are now slightly in Romney's favour. It helps that unlike McCain, Romney does seem to actually want to beat Obama.

I doubt a Romney win would mean many radical policy shifts, but it's always hard to tell how someone will behave in office.

slumber_j said...

"...except for its blacks, who appear to have been largely recruited from the South..."

Particularly true if "the South" includes Chicago, for whose underclass Milwaukee has long served as a sort of Midwestern Poughkeepsie.

sane_voter said...

Just as post-Katrina caused a strong lurch to the right in Louisiana, I think post-recall Wisconsin is lurching right. Even if Obama somehow wins WI this fall, I think the Dems will be hurting there for a long time. Rassmussen just came out with a poll that Tommy Thompson is up by 16 over the Dem.

Doug1 said...

If Romney can take Wisconsin he can take the electoral college.

Romney would actually do well to emphasize his opposition to illegal immigration, and desire to increase deportations. That will attract early more white working class votes than it will turn off Hispanic votes. It's to the advantage of many Hispanic legals to want to lower the tide of illegals who compete with them in the labor markets.

beowulf said...

"The economy has been stuck at 2% growth since 2000."

Right, and that's exactly the reason George W. Bush lost in 2006, oh wait he didn't lose.

"Real GDP increased 3.3 percent in 2006 (that is, from the 2005 annual level to the 2006 annual
level), compared with an increase of 3.2 percent in 2005."
http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/2007/gdp406p.htm

beowulf said...

Ha ha, the jokes on me, I was thinking about the '06 midterms.
Let's see what the GDP growth was in 2004--
"For the year, real GDP growth in 2004 was 3.9%."
http://www.angrybearblog.com/2005/02/fourth-quarter-gdp-growth.html

Jack said...

"Set against that is California now being solidly Democrat. But overall I think the odds are now slightly in Romney's favour. It helps that unlike McCain, Romney does seem to actually want to beat Obama. "

Exactly. Romney doesn't care what the elites think of him. He knows they already hate him.

He will bombard Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa and Pennsylvania, hopefully winning the working class white Catholics and therefore the election.

DCThrowback said...

"Let's see what the GDP growth was in 2004--
"For the year, real GDP growth in 2004 was 3.9%."

All of Bush's growth numbers are tarnished by the real estate bubble. There has been very little "real" growth in our country since the mid-90s and the introduction of the internet.

As Tyler Cowen (and Steve) have noted, there is very little low-hanging fruit left. In times like this, it's best to have a government that is thrifty and balances its budget w/o overspending on things like frivolous wars. Obama is horrible, yeah, we get it, but if you don't admit Bush is also horrible - you lose a lot of credibility to this commenter.

"It helps that unlike McCain, Romney does seem to actually want to beat Obama." I like this comment. Romney may not stand for much, but it does appear he's willing to go toe to toe w/ Obama (sending goons out to drown out Axelrod in MA, for example). This will energize the base more so than him posturing that he'll cut taxes or whatnot.

Whiskey said...

Steve, I think it is more an issue of well, MONEY. As Machiavellie noted, people will forgive being made poor least of all offenses against them.

Wisconsin simply ran out of money, that whole Chicago FIRE model failed. Democrats rely on ever greater amounts of cash from the White middle class to fund their elite real estate, finance, insurance, and entertainment businesses on the top end, Blacks and Hispanics and their leaders on the bottom. The Hi-Lo team up falls apart when it cannot extract any more money, like a shark it must keep constantly moving and growing.

At a certain point, the Dems extracting money from the White middle class to fund the Hi-Lo generates open rebellion. This sort of thing always has. No one likes being made poor.

Andrew said...

Beowulf:

GDP growth from 4th quarter 1999 to 4th quarter 2011 was 1.67% per year average. from 4th quarter 1999 to 4th quarter 2007 just before the great recession was 2.42%. From 4th quarter 1999 to 2nd quarter 2008 just before the bank meltdown was 2.26%. From 2nd quarter 2009 to 4th quarter 2011 was 2.45%.

The fact that you need to grasp at straws is because there have only been two years of growth 4th quarter to 4th quarter over 3% since 1999 - 2003 and 2010. By contrast, there were 24 years of growth over 4% in the 41 years from 1959 to 1999, and the average growth rate was 3.53%.

To find a similar stretch of economic weakness, you need to go back to the period 1952 to 1960, when growth averaged just 2.45% for 8 years, and only two years were above 3%.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Regarding the gay issue. It definitely hurts Obama more than it helps hims. Most people who are not gay simply don't care about gay marriage, so it is not a factor they will consider when voting.

However, according to some polls I read of those people who actually feel strongly about it (a fairly small percentage of voters) to the degree it will influence who they will vote for --- they are against it by an almost 2 to 1 margin. Upshot, is that more people will vote against Obama based on this issue than for him."

Quite apart from any opinion Obama as on the issue, his main reason for making an issue of it was to bring in a fabulous torrent of gay campaign money.

Anonymous said...

To find a similar stretch of economic weakness, you need to go back to the period 1952 to 1960...

Wouldn't that be the "prosperous Fifties"?

Anonymous said...

The Left is comprised of cults rigidly segregated. In WI case they allowed one cult to run way out ahead of the others and got spanked.