|Milwaukee Journal Sentinel|
Gilbert offers the following thoughts:
Barrett improved on his 2010 performance in just a handful of places. The two most important were Milwaukee and Dane Counties. He won these two counties combined by a little more than 200,000 votes (40,000 more than he won them by in 2010). But he lost the rest of the state by almost 380,000 votes (90,000 more than he lost it by in 2010).To try to explain this in Minnesota terms, Milwaukee County behaves rather a lot like Hennepin County -- the City of Milwaukee, much like Minneapolis, is heavily Democratic, but the rest of the county tends to be moderate and conservative the further out you go. Dane County behaves a lot like Ramsey County, with the dominant capital cities (Madison and St. Paul) going heavily Democratic, while the rest of the county is less so. Waukesha County, to the immediate west of Milwaukee, behaves a lot like Dakota County does here, although it's even more conservative.
In other words, Democrats ended up dangerously over-reliant on the Milwaukee and Madison vote Tuesday. That vote materialized, but it couldn’t come close to compensating for Barrett’s weakness in much of rural and suburban outstate Wisconsin, especially when the GOP base was also turning out en masse.
The one county to the north on this map that went heavily stronger for Walker in this cycle is Outagamie County, which is where I grew up. The main city in Outagamie County is my hometown of Appleton, which is about the size of St. Cloud in the city proper, and Rochester when you add the surrounding township. Appleton had long been a bastion of conservatism -- we sent Joe McCarthy to Washington. Things had changed in recent years and Appleton, as well as the rest of the Fox River Valley, has been trending left. That stopped in this cycle.
There's a lot more to say about this, but if this map has any predictive value, and I think it does, two things are clear:
- The supposedly strong support for Obama in Wisconsin might be chimerical; and
- Rep. Tammy Baldwin, the Madison-area Democrat who is the functional equivalent of Betty McCollum, is going to have a very difficult time winning the open Senate seat.
We'll talk more about these things anon.