In 2008 a majority of Wisconsin votes for Democrat Barack Obama.
In 2010 Republican Scott Walker takes the Governor’s race and Ron Johnson defeats Wisconsin institution Russ Feingold.
In late 2011 and early 2012 almost a million state residents sign a petition to recall Scott Walker.
In 2012 Wisconsin votes to keep Governor Walker in office.
This week, a new Marquette poll shows Wisconsin’s most popular politician in recent memory, Tommy Thompson, trailing Democrat Tammy Baldwin by nine points in the U.S. Senate race. The same poll shows Barack Obama with a huge lead over Mitt Romney and his Wisconsinite running mate in the presidential race.
So what is wrong with our state? Are we just easily influenced by political ads? Some have suggested that Tammy Baldwin’s recent uptick in advertising combined with Tommy Thompson’s silence is responsible for the latest Marquette numbers. Maybe, but I am inclined to believe that citizens of our hyper-politicized state don’t simply vote for the candidate the TV most recently told them to.
Perhaps the Marquette numbers are skewed. As my wife informed me years ago as we looked for a storage space for our respective Political Science and Nursing degrees, social science (which includes polling of course) is a soft science. Charles Franklin’s numbers could be off. However, given his past accuracy I am inclined to trust the Marquette poll.
I think the explanation for the new Marquette numbers is pretty simple: Wisconsinites like Barack Obama better than Mitt Romney. Such an unsophisticated explanation likely confuses and angers pundits and party operatives eager to separate our country into two opposite political camps. After all, how can the same people who elected Scott Walker twice in one term support Barak Obama or Tammy Baldwin? Well, shockingly the political preferences of most people cannot be explained through a simple red-blue dichotomy.
If someone tells me they agree with 100% of what Mitt Romney stands for I assume A) I am speaking with Mitt Romney or his wife, or B) I am speaking with someone who is lying to me. As I have written many times over, no party has a monopoly on good ideas; hence the evolving preferences of Wisconsin voters is both healthy, and to be expected.
It is a long time until November and when looking in my crystal ball, I fully expect Wisconsin’s electoral votes to go Barack Obama while Tommy Thompson wins yet another statewide race. But, it’s Wisconsin, so who the heck knows.