martes, 3 de abril de 2012

Geografía electoral de Wisconsin

The New York Times:
Republican voters are concentrated in eastern Wisconsin, and particularly in the Southeast. The bulk of the state’s G.O.P. electorate lives in suburban communities to the west of Milwaukee, in Milwaukee County and Waukesha County.

Generally, conservative voters in this region are typical of suburban voters in other states. They tend to be well-educated and more affluent than Republicans elsewhere in Wisconsin.

But the western suburbs of Milwaukee are unusual in several respects. The area is much more heavily Republican than other suburbs, and the voter turnout in Waukesha tends to be very high. Southeast Wisconsin Republicans are also more socially conservative and somewhat less affluent than suburban Republicans in other Midwestern industrial states, like those in the suburbs of Chicago (DuPage County, Ill.) or the northern suburbs of Detroit (Oakland County, Mich.).

Mr. Romney won DuPage and Oakland nearly 2 to 1 over Mr. Santorum. All else being equal, Mr. Santorum should be able to keep the vote in Waukesha County closer than that. But if he plans on achieving what would be a significant upset in Wisconsin, Mr. Santorum will need to keep Mr. Romney’s margins in Waukesha and Milwaukee counties as slim as possible. If Mr. Romney is running up the kinds of margins he did in Oakland and DuPage counties, it may be a sign the conservative rank-and-file is coalescing around him, and he will likely exceed his polling-based projection.

Traveling west from Waukesha County, Republican territory ends and the pendulum swings to the other end of the political spectrum. Madison, the state capital, which is home to the largest branch of the University of Wisconsin system, is overwhelmingly Democratic. But Democrats can vote in Wisconsin’s primary, and Wisconsinites are known for political activism, raising the specter of mischief-making.

Outside of the southeast, the next largest chunk of Republican votes will come from the region that begins north of Milwaukee and stretches up to Green Bay, bounded by Lake Michigan in the east and Route 41 in the west.

East-Central Wisconsin includes the state’s share of the Fox River Valley, a less affluent and less educated area of the state. Paper mills and agriculture are among the major employers in this largely working-class area. The region is also more socially conservative than Southeast Wisconsin, although not dramatically so.

Mr. Santorum will need to win the counties in this region in order to compete statewide. But relatively moderate Republican voters in the area are numerous enough that if Mr. Romney is having a good night over all, he could easily win most of the counties in east-central Wisconsin, particularly Winnebago County and Brown County, home to Oshkosh and Green Bay, respectively.

The rest of Wisconsin is sparsely populated, rural and more religious. Specifically, the region around Eau Claire in the west is likely to be where Mr. Santorum finds the greatest level of support, helped by the region’s mix of evangelical Christians and socially conservative Catholics (as you can see in the maps below, this is was Mike Huckabee country in 2008). He will need to significantly outperform Mr. Romney in Eau Claire County and the surrounding counties to counterbalance Mr. Romney’s strength in the Southeast.