Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

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A Milestone for Gay Issues: Tammy Baldwin Elected into Senate

Tuesday night, Tammy Baldwin won her election to become the first openly gay U.S. senator, Maine and Maryland and possibly Washington became the first states to approve gay marriage by popular vote and Barack Obama won re-election after coming out in favor of gay marriage during the campaign. In the 2nd Congressional District seat now held by Baldwin, an openly gay state lawmaker was picked to succeed her.

But with a couple of exceptions, Baldwin’s sexual orientation did not receive much notice during her campaign. Despite her race being one of the most competitive and negative in the country, not a single television ad raised the issue and neither of the campaigns or major outside groups focused on it.

While gay marriage still isn’t legal in the state, the issue might be changing fast, according to the Marquette University Law School poll. That survey found that 44% of likely voters in the state now favor allowing gay marriage and 29% favor civil unions, compared with only 22% who feel gay and lesbian partners should receive no legal recognition.

A day after the election, experts attributed Baldwin’s victory to the coattail effect of the presidential race, her funding edge in the early going and her ability to exploit issues such as Thompson’s lucrative career in business built on government connections. Continue reading


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Wisconsin Senate by County

Democrat Tammy Baldwin won the Wisconsin Senate race. Here is a county breakdown of her win over Republican Tommy Thompson:


As I mentioned in a previous blog, I believed that Tammy would get the coat tail effect from Obama if he won the election. During the last week Baldwin was constantly on the campaign trail in Wisconsin with President Obama. This effect is clearly visible when you look at the similarities between her wins by county and Obama’s: Continue reading

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Voter Turnout in Wisconsin

While some articles are suggesting a lower national voter turnout rate than 2008, Wisconsin’s voter turnout rate slightly exceeded that of 2008. 69.8% of voting-age adults (3,040,154 people) voted in this year’s Presidential election. President Barack Obama won 52.7% of the Wisconsin vote; GOP challenger Mitt Romney won 46.2%.

The last three presidential elections in Wisconsin have all generated higher turnouts than in any year since 1960.

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Wisconsin Exit Polling: Demographics Results

In winning Wisconsin by 14 points in 2008, Democrat Barack Obama made big inroads among swing voters in the state. He carried independents by almost 20 points, won suburbanites by 6 points, and even won rural voters, which normally lean Republican. He also got bigger than normal margins from Democratic-leaning groups, including young voters, women, union households and urban voters.

2012 exit polls show him losing white men by double digits, though narrowly carrying white women. They show him narrowly losing white voters overall in Wisconsin, who make up roughly 90% of the state’s electorate. But Obama led overwhelmingly among non-white voters. Exit polls show him losing rural voters this time, but maintaining huge margins among urban voters, a category made up of people living in cities of 50,000 or more.

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Baldwin Taking the Lead

Polls are showing Democrat Tammy Baldwin leading over Republican Tommy Thompson. If Baldwin wins, she will be the first openly gay United States Senator. Baldwin appeared with Obama at every event, including a Monday rally in her hometown of Madison with rocker Bruce Springsteen that’s certain to attract the biggest crowd of the campaign season.

Their rivals, Romney and  Tommy Thompson, haven’t conceded the state and appeared together Friday at State Fair Park outside Milwaukee.

Baldwin and Thompson are vying to replace longtime Sen. Herb Kohl in a seat held by Democrats since 1957. The winner could help determine which party has majority control of the chamber, and money has poured into the campaign, making it the most expensive Senate race in Wisconsin history.

History is on Baldwin’s side. Wisconsin has not voted for a Republican for president since Ronald Reagan in 1984. And no Democratic Senate candidate on the ballot in a presidential election year has lost since 1980, when Gaylord Nelson was unseated by a Republican wave led by Reagan.

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Final Presidential Prediction: Who Will Win Wisconsin?

As we are hours away from the election, it’s time to make our final predictions as to who will be the winner of each battleground state. So much has happened in Wisconsin during this election: Republican Governor Scott Walker winning the recall in June, Wisconsin-native Paul Ryan becoming the vice presidential candidate, and a voting history that heavily favors the democratic candidates.

Republicans have thought that the events listed above would create enough momentum to win them this battleground state: but I believe this is incorrect. Although Romney has managed to narrow the gap on the polls, in the majority of the polls he has never surpassed Obama. While the race may be tight here, I believe that it is Obama that will come out with the “W” here.

These events that the Republicans were relying on did not help them win the majority for this state. We discussed in our politics class how people believe politicians have the right to serve their full term (unless of course, they do something terribly wrong). Yes, Gov. Walker was kept in office, but most likely because his constituents didn’t believe he had the right to have his term cut short. And as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, many Wisconsinites do not know him. He represents such a small portion of Wisconsin’s population.

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