Monthly Archives: February 2004

Bellwethers in Wisconsin

There is an article at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today titled Racine County voters seem to know how to pick ’em. The author, Tom Kertscher, contacted me and used the Atlas for his research. While Racine County is not a 100% bellwether like those covered on the bellwether page (Racine incorrectly voted for Gerald Ford in 1976), it did vote for the winning national candidate in every other election between 1960 and 2000.

Wisconsin Primary

The Wisconsin Primary turned out to be more competitive than expected. In my opinion, a real problem with the 2004 Democratic Primary schedule has been the crowded nature of the contests. The schedule gives little time for the candidates to campaign in each state and little time for the voters to size-up those seeking the Democratic nomination. In Wisconsin, a single primary contested by multiple candidates resulted in a much closer result. Kerry “wins” the contest with 39.7% of the vote, followed by Edwards at 34.3% and Dean at 18.3%. The county map shown here is color-coded with red for Kerry and green for Edwards – with the various shades showing percenage of the vote in decades (>30%, >40%, etc.) Note that even though Kerry “wins”, he shares the delegates with the top three candidates (those that receive more than 15% in any of the congressional districts and state-wide at large). The current result predicts 30 delegates for Kerry to 24 for Edwards and 13 for Dean. Edwards won in two of the eight congressional districts (the first and fifth) and Kerry wins the remainder.

From a regional point-of-view, Kerry was the strongest in the north-west of the state and his best county was Menominee (62.7% – it is also the home of the Menominee Native American Tribe). Edwards had a better showing in the counties to the north and west of Milwaukee. His best county was Waukesha with 42% of the vote. Dean did not win a single county – likely a decidely disappointing result – and received the greatest percentage of votes in Douglas and Portage Counties (about 25%).

Of Red and Blue

The New York Times has published an article titled One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State. It is an interesting read with regard to the recent adoption of the terminology of “Red States” and “Blue States” to refer to whether the states were won by the Republicans or Democrats in the 2000 election respectively. I was actually contacted by the author of this article last week with the question of how I chose my color representation for the Republicans and Democrats (However, I wasn’t actually quoted in the article). For readers of the forum or FAQ, the reasons are well known. From my point of view, the colors do not represent candidates or parties, but rather data (in this case, votes for a particular candidate). Looking at the maps from an analytical perspective, the meaning is discerned from the key and one should not get hung up on the selection of colors, for they are only a representation of the data and no other symbolism should be read into the presentation. I’m sure, however, that I will continue to receive copious quantities of email with regard to color selection.

The Great Game of Politics

I was contacted by Dick Stoken last summer with a request for permission to use some of the data presented on in his new book, The Great Game of Politics – Why We Elect Whom We Elect. I gladly granted and received my copy of the book this week. I’ll comment after I finish reading it. If you like, you can get a copy from Barnes & Noble