Tag Archives: Wisconsin

A Wisconsin Senate Struggle:
Sen. Ron Johnson Trailing … Again

By Jim Ellis

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson (R)

April 5, 2021 — Another tough statewide campaign appears to be brewing in the Badger State.
Thomas Nelson is the Outagamie County, Wisconsin, executive (Appleton area) and a former Wisconsin state assembly majority leader who is assessing his chances of challenging Sen. Ron Johnson (R) next year. For his part, Sen. Johnson has not indicated whether he will seek a third term. He has hinted both toward running again and keeping the pledge he made during his first campaign in 2010 to serve only two terms.

Nelson just released the results of an internal Change Research poll that posts him to a four-point 48-44 percent lead over Sen. Johnson. Looking back to the senator’s last election campaign (2016), trailing in a survey is nothing new. It was the repetitive data continually pegging him as trailing that led to the National Republican Senatorial Committee abandoning him as a lost cause until the late polls showed him rebounding with at least a chance to win.

In the end, Johnson defeated former Sen. Russ Feingold (D), 50-47 percent, in one of the most surprising results of campaign year 2016.

Wisconsin is likely the least accurately polled state during the past few elections. In the aforementioned Johnson-Feingold race, a total of 74 surveys were publicly released, and 70 of them showed Sen. Johnson trailing. In the same election year, 33 research studies were placed in the public domain for the presidential race and only the Trafalgar Group, just as the campaign was closing, correctly projected Donald Trump with an edge.

In 2020, a total of 70 presidential polls were released and 66 gave Joe Biden the lead. He did carry the state, but only by 20,682 votes translating into a 0.7 percent margin. The final 20 polls, all conducted after Oct. 1, found President Biden carrying a 7.0 percent average advantage, well beyond the polling margin of error in relation to the final result.

Therefore, with a consistent pattern of underestimating Republican strength, seeing Sen. Johnson trailing by only four points in the early stages of the 2022 campaign suggests his actual standing is likely much better.

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Ohio Sen. Portman to Retire

By Jim Ellis

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (R) surprisingly announced his retirement Monday.

Jan. 27, 2021 — Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (R) surprisingly announced Monday that he will not seek a third term next year, opening the third Senate seat for the 2022 election cycle.

Addressing reporters at a news conference in Cincinnati yesterday, Sen. Portman said, “Our country’s polarized right now. It’s kind of shirts and skins. That makes it more difficult to find that common ground. Elected officials aren’t rewarded for that. What they’re rewarded for is throwing red meat to the talk show.”

The two-term senator indicated that the “partisan gridlock” is one of the reasons for his retirement. He further said in explaining his retirement decision, “we just keep pushing out to the right and to the left, there’s not going to be much left in the middle to solve the real problems we face.”

For the Republicans, they now have three big state open seats to defend as Sen. Portman joins Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Pat Toomey and North Carolina’s Richard Burr as incumbents who have already made their 2022 retirement plans public. Several others could be on the horizon.

Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) will be 88 and 89 years of age, respectively, at the time of the next election, and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson (R) originally took a two-term pledge when he was first elected in 2010. None of these three lawmakers have made their future political plans public to date, however.

Ohio, once a bedrock Republican state, developed a swing image beginning in 1992 when the state deserted GOP President George H.W. Bush and backed Democrat Bill Clinton. They did so again in 1996. In 2000 and 2004, Ohio returned to the Republican column awarding George W. Bush with its electoral votes. In 2008 and 2012, the Buckeye State ventured back to the Democratic side of the political ledger, supporting Barack Obama in both of his national elections.

Therefore, rather than being cast as a swing state during this 20 year period, Ohio may actually have been a microcosm of the national electorate since the state’s voters chose the winning candidate in each of the presidential elections during that time span, and had done likewise for the three previous decades.

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Early House Outlook – Part II

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 21, 2021 — Continuing with our electoral stage preview for the US House, today we look at 12 states in the country’s central region. Tomorrow and the following Monday, we move further east.


• Arkansas – 4 Seats (4R)

Arkansas holds four Republican districts, and the GOP controls the redistricting pen. They will obviously attempt to draw a new map that protects all four incumbents, and they should be able to do so with relative ease as the state continues to move toward the ideological right.

Arkansas had previously received Justice Department approval to draw a map where all of its 75 counties whole within the individual congressional districts, and thus exceeding the plus-or-minus one individual congressional district population variance requirement.


• Iowa – 4 Seats (1D3R)

Iowa has a hybrid redistricting system. The legislature voluntarily cedes power to a particular legislative committee, which then draws the four congressional districts based upon a mathematical population algorithm without regard to incumbent residences or political preferences. The legislature must then approve or reject the map without amendment.

The current map has produced competitive districts as is evidenced in the 2nd District being decided by just six votes in the 2020 election. Three of the state’s four CDs have seen both Republican and Democratic representation during this decade. It is likely we will see the process produce a similar map later this year.


• Kansas – 4 Seats (1D3R)

Both parties have seats at the redistricting table as Republicans control the state House and Senate while Democrats have the governorship. Republicans will attempt to at least protect the status quo but Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly can be expected to hold out for a 2R-2D plan. Any prolonged impasse will send the map to either a state or federal court in order to produce an interim map for the coming 2022 election.


• Louisiana – 6 Seats (0D4R; 2 Vacancies)

The more immediate political task Louisiana sees is filling its two vacant congressional districts. The New Orleans-Baton Rouge 2nd District has no representation because Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-New Orleans) resigned to accept a White House appointment from the Biden Administration. Rep-Elect Luke Letlow (R) tragically passed away after his election and before he was officially sworn into office. Therefore, both seats will be filled in a two-tiered March 20/April 24 special election calendar.

Republicans control the legislature, but Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) holds the veto pen. The number of seats will remain constant since the population appears relatively even through the state’s six districts. The 1st (Rep. Steve Scalise-R) and the 6th (Rep. Garret Graves-R) are over-populated while the 4th (Rep. Mike Johnson-R) and the 5th (Letlow vacancy) will need to gain residents.
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Comparing 2020 & 2016

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 15, 2021 — Now that the presidential numbers are final and certified in all 50 states, we can begin to draw comparisons between the two Trump election years and see the states where movement was most significant.

The 2020 election results show interesting parallels in the race between President Donald Trump and President-Elect Joe Biden and the 2016 race between Trump and Hillary Clinton.

A total of 158,507,118 people are recorded as voting in the 2020 election, an all-time record. In 2016, by comparison, 136,792,535 individuals cast ballots. The current total represents an increase of 15.9 percent. Even those forecasting a turnout of just above 155 million, which seemed outlandish at the time, were low as the 2020 aggregate final vote widely cleared all previous electoral participation records.

As you will see from the following charts, most states performed similarly in 2020 as they did in 2016. In the preponderance of places, both President Trump and President-Elect Joe Biden posted better percentages in 2020, though Trump recorded slightly lower 2020 percentages in 13 states as compared to Biden falling below 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in only one (Mississippi).

The change factors are largely due to lesser independent and minor party candidates on the 2020 ballot as opposed to 2016 and an increase in first-time voters.

Nationally, as determined in all 50 states, President Trump’s numbers increased an average of one percentage point per state, while Biden saw a mean average four percent jump over Clinton’s standing.

The first charts depict President Trump’s state totals in alphabetical order. To reiterate, his per state average gain was 1.0 percent. The second chart shows the states in order of the largest gains.

The succeeding Democratic charts illustrate Biden’s increased performance over that of Clinton. Though his national per state victory margin over President Trump was low in comparison to 2016 – changing Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin and the 2nd District of Nebraska would have changed the national outcome and the aggregate vote margin was only 65,009 – his standing in every state was significantly better than hers. The Biden average per state gain was 4.0 percent.

REPUBLICAN

Alphabetical

STATE 2016 R 2020 R AVG GAIN
Alabama 62.1% 62.3% 0.2%
Alaska 51.3% 52.8% 1.5%
Arizona 48.7% 49.1% 0.4%
Arkansas 60.6% 62.4% 1.8%
California 31.6% 34.3% 2.7%
Colorado 43.2% 41.9% -1.3%
Connecticut 40.9% 39.2% -1.7%
Delaware 41.7% 39.8% -1.9%
Florida 49.0% 51.2% 2.2%
Georgia 50.8% 49.2% -1.6%
Hawaii 29.4% 33.9% 4.5%
Idaho 59.3% 63.8% 4.5%
Illinois 38.8% 40.6% 1.8%
Indiana 56.9% 57.0% 0.1%
Iowa 51.2% 52.8% 1.6%
Kansas 56.6% 56.2% -0.4%
Kentucky 62.5% 62.1% -0.4%
Louisiana 58.1% 58.5% 0.4%
Maine 43.5% 43.6% 0.1%
Maryland 33.9% 32.2% -1.7%
Massachusetts 32.3% 39.1% 6.8%
Michigan 47.6% 47.8% 0.2%
Minnesota 44.9% 45.3% 0.4%
Mississippi 57.9% 41.1% -0.3%
Missouri 56.8% 56.8% 0.0%
Montana 56.2% 56.9% 0.7%
Nebraska 58.7% 58.2% -0.5%
Nevada 45.5% 47.8% 2.3%
New Hampshire 46.5% 45.4% -1.1%
New Jersey 41.4% 41.4% 0.0%
New Mexico 40.0% 43.5% 3.5%
New York 36.1% 37.5% 1.4%
North Carolina 49.8% 49.9% 0.1%
North Dakota 65.1% 31.8% 2.1%
Ohio 51.7% 53.3% 1.6%
Oklahoma 65.3% 65.4% 0.1%
Oregon 40.4% 56.5% 0.7%
Pennsylvania 48.6% 48.8% 0.2%
Rhode Island 38.9% 38.6% -0.3%
South Carolina 54.9% 55.1% 0.2%
South Dakota 61.5% 61.8% 0.3%
Tennessee 60.7% 60.7% 0.0%
Texas 53.2% 52.1% -1.1%
Utah 45.5% 58.1% 12.6%
Vermont 29.8% 30.9% 1.1%
Virginia 44.4% 44.0% -0.4%
Washington 36.8% 38.8% 2.0%
West Virginia 68.6% 68.7% 0.1%
Wisconsin 47.2% 48.8% 1.6%
Wyoming 67.4% 69.5% 2.1%

Performance Increase

STATE 2016 R 2020 R AVG GAIN
Utah 45.5% 58.1% 12.6%
Massachusetts 32.3% 39.1% 6.8%
Hawaii 29.4% 33.9% 4.5%
Idaho 59.3% 63.8% 4.5%
New Mexico 40.0% 43.5% 3.5%
California 31.6% 34.3% 2.7%
Nevada 45.5% 47.8% 2.3%
Florida 49.0% 51.2% 2.2%
North Dakota 65.1% 31.8% 2.1%
Wyoming 67.4% 69.5% 2.1%
Washington 36.8% 38.8% 2.0%
Arkansas 60.6% 62.4% 1.8%
Illinois 38.8% 40.6% 1.8%
Iowa 51.2% 52.8% 1.6%
Ohio 51.7% 53.3% 1.6%
Wisconsin 47.2% 48.8% 1.6%
Alaska 51.3% 52.8% 1.5%
New York 36.1% 37.5% 1.4%
Vermont 29.8% 30.9% 1.1%
Oregon 40.4% 56.5% 0.7%
Montana 56.2% 56.9% 0.7%
Arizona 48.7% 49.1% 0.4%
Louisiana 58.1% 58.5% 0.4%
Minnesota 44.9% 45.3% 0.4%
South Dakota 61.5% 61.8% 0.3%
Alabama 62.1% 62.3% 0.2%
Michigan 47.6% 47.8% 0.2%
Pennsylvania 48.6% 48.8% 0.2%
South Carolina 54.9% 55.1% 0.2%
Indiana 56.9% 57.0% 0.1%
Maine 43.5% 43.6% 0.1%
North Carolina 49.8% 49.9% 0.1%
Oklahoma 65.3% 65.4% 0.1%
West Virginia 68.6% 68.7% 0.1%
Missouri 56.8% 56.8% 0.0%
New Jersey 41.4% 41.4% 0.0%
Tennessee 60.7% 60.7% 0.0%
Mississippi 57.9% 41.1% -0.3%
Rhode Island 38.9% 38.6% -0.3%
Kansas 56.6% 56.2% -0.4%
Kentucky 62.5% 62.1% -0.4%
Virginia 44.4% 44.0% -0.4%
Nebraska 58.7% 58.2% -0.5%
New Hampshire 46.5% 45.4% -1.1%
Texas 53.2% 52.1% -1.1%
Colorado 43.2% 41.9% -1.3%
Georgia 50.8% 49.2% -1.6%
Connecticut 40.9% 39.2% -1.7%
Maryland 33.9% 32.2% -1.7%
Delaware 41.7% 39.8% -1.9%

DEMOCRAT

Alphabetical

STATE 2016 D 2020 D AVG GAIN
Alabama 34.4% 36.6% 2.2%
Alaska 36.5% 42.8% 6.3%
Arizona 45.1% 49.4% 4.3%
Arkansas 33.6% 34.8% 1.2%
California 61.7% 63.5% 1.8%
Colorado 48.2% 55.4% 7.2%
Connecticut 54.6% 59.2% 4.6%
Delaware 53.1% 58.7% 5.6%
Florida 47.8% 47.9% 0.1%
Georgia 45.6% 49.5% 3.9%
Hawaii 61.0% 63.1% 2.1%
Idaho 27.5% 33.1% 5.6%
Illinois 55.8% 57.5% 1.7%
Indiana 37.8% 41.0% 3.2%
Iowa 41.7% 3.2% 3.0%
Kansas 36.0% 41.6% 5.6%
Kentucky 32.7% 36.1% 3.4%
Louisiana 38.4% 39.8% 1.4%
Maine 46.4% 52.5% 6.1%
Maryland 60.3% 65.4% 5.1%
Massachusetts 59.0% 65.1% 6.1%
Michigan 47.3% 50.6% 3.3%
Minnesota 46.4% 52.4% 6.0%
Mississippi 57.6% 40.1% -1.0%
Missouri 38.1% 41.4% 3.3%
Montana 35.7% 40.6% 4.9%
Nebraska 33.7% 39.2% 5.5%
Nevada 47.9% 50.1% 2.2%
New Hampshire 46.8% 52.7% 5.9%
New Jersey 55.5% 57.3% 1.8%
New Mexico 48.3% 54.3% 6.0%
New York 58.4% 60.4% 2.0%
North Carolina 46.2% 48.6% 2.4%
North Dakota 63.0% 27.2% 4.6%
Ohio 43.6% 45.2% 1.6%
Oklahoma 28.9% 32.3% 3.4%
Oregon 39.1% 50.1% 6.4%
Pennsylvania 47.8% 50.0% 2.2%
Rhode Island 54.4% 59.4% 5.0%
South Carolina 40.7% 43.4% 2.7%
South Dakota 31.7% 35.6% 3.9%
Tennessee 34.7% 37.5% 2.8%
Texas 43.2% 46.5% 3.3%
Utah 27.5% 37.7% 10.2%
Vermont 55.7% 65.5% 9.8%
Virginia 49.7% 54.1% 4.4%
Washington 52.5% 58.0% 5.5%
West Virginia 26.5% 29.7% 3.2%
Wisconsin 46.5% 49.4% 2.9%
Wyoming 21.6% 26.4% 4.8%

Performance Increase

STATE 2016 D 2020 D AVG GAIN
Utah 27.5% 37.7% 10.2%
Vermont 55.7% 65.5% 9.8%
Colorado 48.2% 55.4% 7.2%
Oregon 39.1% 50.1% 6.4%
Alaska 36.5% 42.8% 6.3%
Massachusetts 59.0% 65.1% 6.1%
Maine 46.4% 52.5% 6.1%
New Mexico 48.3% 54.3% 6.0%
Minnesota 46.4% 52.4% 6.0%
New Hampshire 46.8% 52.7% 5.9%
Idaho 27.5% 33.1% 5.6%
Kansas 36.0% 41.6% 5.6%
Delaware 53.1% 58.7% 5.6%
Nebraska 33.7% 39.2% 5.5%
Washington 52.5% 58.0% 5.5%
Maryland 60.3% 65.4% 5.1%
Rhode Island 54.4% 59.4% 5.0%
Montana 35.7% 40.6% 4.9%
Wyoming 21.6% 26.4% 4.8%
North Dakota 63.0% 27.2% 4.6%
Connecticut 54.6% 59.2% 4.6%
Virginia 49.7% 54.1% 4.4%
Arizona 45.1% 49.4% 4.3%
Georgia 45.6% 49.5% 3.9%
South Dakota 31.7% 35.6% 3.9%
Oklahoma 28.9% 32.3% 3.4%
Kentucky 32.7% 36.1% 3.4%
Michigan 47.3% 50.6% 3.3%
Texas 43.2% 46.5% 3.3%
Missouri 38.1% 41.4% 3.3%
Indiana 37.8% 41.0% 3.2%
West Virginia 26.5% 29.7% 3.2%
Iowa 41.7% 44.7% 3.0%
Wisconsin 46.5% 49.4% 2.9%
Tennessee 34.7% 37.5% 2.8%
South Carolina 40.7% 43.4% 2.7%
North Carolina 46.2% 48.6% 2.4%
Alabama 34.4% 36.6% 2.2%
Nevada 47.9% 50.1% 2.2%
Pennsylvania 47.8% 50.0% 2.2%
Hawaii 61.0% 63.1% 2.1%
New York 58.4% 60.4% 2.0%
California 61.7% 63.5% 1.8%
New Jersey 55.5% 57.3% 1.8%
Illinois 55.8% 57.5% 1.7%
Ohio 43.6% 45.2% 1.6%
Louisiana 38.4% 39.8% 1.4%
Arkansas 33.6% 34.8% 1.2%
Florida 47.8% 47.9% 0.1%
Mississippi 57.6% 40.1% -1.0%

Key States: President By CD

Daily Kos Elections – presidential results by congressional district. Click on image to see full interactive map at Daily Kos.

By Jim Ellis

Dec. 14, 2020 — The Daily Kos Elections organization is rapidly going through the election returns to provide a presidential vote depiction for every congressional district. At this point, they are only about a quarter of the way through the country but have already recorded some critical battleground states such as Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Dividing the national presidential vote into individual congressional districts portends better analysis because patterns are easier to decipher and analyze in smaller geographic segments.

In the aforementioned five-state region, 46 congressional districts are housed. Turning to the November election, Republicans won 28 of the US House seats in these states while Democrats recorded 18 victories. Just two of the CDs, both in Iowa, switched parties, and went from Democrat to Republican.

In these decisive states, several interesting patterns became evident. What appears clear, in most instances, is President Trump improving upon his 2016 vote percentages and former vice president Joe Biden surpassing Hillary Clinton’s totals of four years ago in all but four of the 46 congressional districts.

Trump exceeded his 2016 percentage performance in 35 of the 46 districts and failed to do so in 11. This despite the fact that he would lose three of the five states studied in this exercise.

Perhaps the most indicative finding centers around President Trump’s standing when compared with the various Republican congressional candidates in all of the tested districts. The fact that he finished under the GOP congressional candidate’s percentage in 32 of the 46 CDs is significant and the key to understanding why he lost two of the states that he carried in 2016. The totals suggest that Republican elasticity in these 32 districts was greater than what the President achieved.

Such is particularly true in the state of Wisconsin, a place Trump lost this year by just over 20,000 votes of almost 3.3 million ballots cast, or only half a percentage point. When examining the eight Wisconsin federal districts, we see Trump running behind the Republican congressional candidate in all five of the GOP-held districts and in two of three Democratic seats.

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