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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

Explaining the Wisconsin Paradox

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Some post-election number crunching from premier number-cruncher Joe Handrick. Bottom line here tis that he paradox of Wisconsin voting for both Walker and Obama can be explained by 525,000 additional voters.

Recall election vs. Presidential election turnout predictions
I predicted Obama would carry Wisconsin despite the recent recall victory by Governor Walker. I based this on a belief that the presidential race would draw an additional 500,000 voters, the majority of which would be Democrats. The reason was that GOP areas in the recall had turnout very close to presidential levels, while many DEM areas (especially college wards) were way below presidential levels.

The actual number of additional voters last night was approx. 525,000. The results indicate that a majority of the new voters did choose Obama (plus a small number of Walker voters who then voted for Obama). Consider this, Walker received 1,334,000 votes. Romney received 1,408,000 votes -- an increase of only 74,000 votes. Obama, on the other hand, received approximately 451,000 more votes than Barrett.

So while many people believe that large numbers of Walker supporters turned around and voted for Obama, I tend to doubt that. The difference between the 7 point Walker win and the 7 point Obama win can mostly be chalked up to the additional 525,000 voters. 

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