Craig Gilbert, in his most recent column for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, examines characteristics of Wisconsin’s most right-leaning and left-leaning areas.
The state’s reddest communities are less demographically diverse (they are overwhelmingly white) but more geographically dispersed than the state’s bluest communities. The wards where Walker won 70% or more of the vote cover a huge swath of eastern Wisconsin, from the suburbs and exurbs west of Milwaukee and Racine northward along the Fox Valley and up toward the Door Peninsula. They also cover large patches of north central Wisconsin. (Walker won 53% of the statewide vote).
The Democratic landslide wards are heavily concentrated in and around Milwaukee and Madison. But the state’s bluest areas are demographically diverse. They include African-American neighborhoods in Racine, Beloit and Milwaukee, liberal white enclaves in Dane County, very traditional, blue-collar Democratic pockets in northwestern Wisconsin, and tribal communities across the state.
Gallup recently released the results of its cumulative state-by-state polling on political party identification for the first six months of 2011. The polling revealed that 44% of Americans identified as Democrats and 40% identified as Republicans. The chart above profiles the states that most clearly mirrored the national numbers.
According to Craig Gilbert:
If Wisconsin has returned to something like a 50/50 state, that suggests 2012 will be a furious partisan trench war – for president, for Herb Kohl’s vacant US Senate seat and for governor if Democrats try and succeed in forcing a recall election against Walker.
This state is indispensable to a winning electoral majority for President Obama and his party, and it now sits very close to the 50-yard line of American politics.
Wisconsin was almost a perfect microcosm of the country in its partisan makeup: 45% of Wisconsinites called themselves Democrats, 40% called themselves Republicans.