An unofficial total of 3,293,428 Badger State voters went to the polls on Tuesday, in comparison to 2,976,150 who voted in 2016. This means their turnout percentage increased 9.6% in 2020, again higher than the 7.8% national average. The Wisconsin population is only growing at an average quarter percent rate per year.
Last night’s national election, as predicted, looks to be headed to political overtime.
The presidential race won’t be decided for more than a day, and possibly not until all ballots are received and counted in Pennsylvania. The state’s post-election ballot reception deadline is Friday, November 6th, at 5:00 pm.
It appears that former Vice President Joe Biden (D) has the inside track to unseat the President, but Mr. Trump still has a narrow path to victory.
It is likely that the Republicans have held the Senate majority despite what appears to be a close loss at the top of the ticket. Defending 13 of the most vulnerable 16 Senate seats, the GOP may break even. Converting Alabama and leading in Michigan offsets the loss of seats in Arizona and Colorado. Four races remain undecided.
Republicans had a much better night in the House than expected. With 43 races still uncalled, a reasonable projection suggests the Democrats will return to the House with a majority margin approximately seven seats less than in the current Congress. This would make the new majority 226D-209R, and certainly put House control front and center for the 2022 election cycle.
In the 11 Governor’s races, we saw one state flip from Democrat to Republican, the open Montana race that completed a Republican sweep of the top four statewide offices. At-Large Rep. Greg Gianforte (R) was elected the state’s new Governor replacing term-limited Gov. Steve Bullock (D) who lost the Senate race to incumbent Steve Daines (R).
Polling and predictions generally proved unreliable. Once more, the big leads projected for the Democratic presidential nominee in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin did not materialize, while cumulative polling projections did correctly forecast Arizona and potentially Georgia. For the fourth consecutive major statewide race in Florida, the overwhelming number of pollsters failed to correctly project the winner.
It appears the cumulative polling community is potentially wrong in several Senate races including North Carolina, Maine, and the Michigan margin even if Sen. Gary Peters (D) rebounds to win. They also consistently under-estimated Georgia Sen. David Perdue’s electoral strength.
The media projection early in the evening of Democrats gaining seats in the House also proved incorrect.
The projected record turnout may not be as high as many projected. While it is clear we will exceed the 136,792,535 voters we saw in 2016, which was a record participation level at the time, the grand total in this election may not reach the 150 million mark that many analysts were suggesting, and very likely not the 155 million others predicted. We are likely to venture beyond 140 million, but how much further remains to be seen when all of the states have reported, and ballots completely tabulated.
We will have further coverage of the finer details in the coming days.
Wisconsin: Wildest of Swings
ABC/Washington Post released a survey of Wisconsin voters that is returning numbers never seen in the state during this election cycle. This suggests the survey is an outlier, especially when compared to the Marquette Law School poll that was conducted during the same period.
ABC/WaPo (10/20-25; 809 WI likely voters; online) finds former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Trump by a huge 17-point margin, 57-40%, which the polling analysis claims is a response to an increase in COVID-19 cases within the state. Marquette (10/21-25; 749 WI likely voters; live interview) sees the race much differently, though still with a Biden lead. They find a ballot test result of 48-43% in favor of Mr. Biden. Remember, however, that 33 polls were conducted in Wisconsin during the 2016 election cycle, and zero showed President Trump ahead, yet he won the state. It remains to be seen if the same pattern is present this year.
WI-3: Surprise Money
Wisconsin Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) was first elected in 1996 and has had only one close re-election contest since, in 2010 when he received just 50.3% of the vote. President Trump, however, carried the district 49-45% in 2016, proving that a Republican can win here.
For the closing month, the Congressional Leadership Fund has decided to invest heavily here, reserving $2 million of media time in an effort to support Republican nominee Derrick Van Orden, a retired Navy SEAL and Afghan War veteran. Rep. Kind is more than prepared for the challenge, however. Through the July 22nd Federal Election Commission pre-primary filing, the Congressman was showing more than $3 million cash-on-hand.
Minnesota is again attracting more polling attention, this time from ABC News/Washington Post. While the Land of 10,000 Lakes has been polling much closer lately, the ABC/WP survey (9/8-13; 615 MN likely voters; live interview) finds former Vice President Joe Biden opening up a much larger 57-41% lead over President Trump. This is inconsistent with other recent data (five polls) that found the margin ranging from four to nine points.
It’s also seemingly at odds with ABC/WP’s own findings in next door Wisconsin. The survey there (9/8-13; 605 WI likely voters; live interview) gives Mr. Biden a six-point, 52-46% lead, which is consistent with other polling.
Further signs are occurring showing the presidential race getting closer. Democratic pollster Change Research just released a series of surveys in six crucial 2020 swing states, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, during the August 21-23 period with sample sizes ranging from a low of 344 likely voters in Arizona to a high of 1,262 similarly chosen poll participants in Florida.
While CR projects former Vice President Joe Biden to be leading in all six states, at least four of which (AZ, FL, NC, and either MI, PA, or WI) are must-wins for President Trump, the Democratic nominee’s lead has dwindled to between one and six points in all of these places.
Swing State Polling: Redfield vs. Civiqs
Two Democratic polling firms surveyed key presidential swing states over the same time period. Though they both see former Vice President Joe Biden leading in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, their margins, at least in two of the states, were leagues apart.
In Michigan, Redfield and Wilton Strategies (8/16-18; 812 MI likely voters) gave Mr. Biden a 12-point, 50-38%, lead while Civiqs, polling for the Daily Kos Elections Page (8/13-17; 631 MI registered voters), projected only a three point advantage for the now-official Democratic nominee, 49-46%. In Wisconsin, Redfield & Wilton (8/16-19; 672 WI likely voters) posted Biden to a ten-point lead, 49-39%, while Civiqs (8/13-17; 754 WI registered voters) yielded him only a six-point, 51-45%, edge.
Turning to Pennsylvania, the two pollsters found an identical seven-point spread, however. Redfield & Wilton (8/16-17; 1,006 PA likely voters) saw a 48-41% Biden lead, while Civiqs (8/13-17; 617 PA likely voters) forecast a 51-44% margin.
Wisconsin: Primary Results
Most of the US House incumbents and candidates were running unopposed last night, but one future Congressman was identified. State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) attracted more than 77% of his district’s primary votes and becomes the prohibitive favorite to win in November. He will replace retiring Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls) who will leave the House after 42 years of service, second in seniority to only Alaska at-large Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon) who was elected five years earlier.
Gravis Marketing conducted a series of surveys in the Great Lakes Swing states during the July 22-24 period, and came to some interesting conclusions. While President Trump had largely been polling better in Wisconsin when looking at the three regional swing states, Michigan and Pennsylvania being the other two, Gravis sees a different cut.
Their results find former Vice President Joe Biden leading Mr. Trump in Wisconsin (6/22; 796 WI likely voters via an interactive voice response system and through an online poll of cell phone users), 50-42%, and Michigan (6/22; 754 MI likely voters via an interactive voice response system and through an online poll of cell phone users), 51-42%. The Pennsylvania numbers, however, reveal the closer ballot test. Here (6/22-24; 1,006 PA likely voters via interactive voice response system and through an online poll of cell phone users), Mr. Biden leads only 48-45%.
Wisconsin: Trafalgar Strikes Again
The Trafalgar Group, the only polling firm to correctly project President Trump winning a close Wisconsin contest in 2016, again defies the polling mainstream. Their new Badger State survey (6/23-25; 1,021 WI likely voters) reveals a one point, 46-45% edge, in the President’s favor. A trio of other June polls from three separate pollsters give former Vice President Joe Biden leads between six and eleven points. During the 2016 election cycle, the Trafalgar Group poll was the only survey during the entire election cycle (33 polls) that found Mr. Trump leading Hillary Clinton. He would win the state by 22,748 votes.
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