With Election Day tomorrow, Wisconsin voters appear ready to make a change by rejecting incumbent Senator Ron Johnson and replacing him with Russ Feingold. Nearly $20 million has been spent by outside groups on advertising attacking Russ and trying to get Senator Johnson another six years in Washington. The bad news for Sen. Johnson is that even his big special interest backers can’t erase his record from the minds of Wisconsin voters.
Where does the race stand on the brink of Election Day?
The Results Are In On Early Voting
Over 775,000 Wisconsinites have already voted -- the vast majority for Democrats up and down the ticket. Drawing on an analysis performed by news media and academic institutions, Russ likely enters Election Day with a lead of more than 100,000 votes. Democratic strongholds turned out in record numbers. The city of Madison saw a 56% spike in early voting. Meanwhile, the Republican-rich WOW counties have seen no corresponding surge in enthusiasm. Simply put, Democrats are voting while Republicans seem uninspired by standard bearers like Donald Trump and Senator Johnson.
Presidential-year Turnout Expected on Election Day
The nearly 800,000 early votes have shattered existing records, and the Wisconsin Elections Commission announced that it expects over 3.1 million voters for the 2016 election, an improvement over the already strong turnout from 2012. A higher level of enthusiasm combined with a massive and already effective GOTV operation from our Democratic coordinated campaign points to success on election day.
After Six Months, Senator Johnson Still Has A Trump Problem
What more is there to say here? The Donald has traditional Republicans depressed in the WOW counties. He’s practically at war with Speaker Ryan. He’s embarrassed nearly a dozen of Senator Johnson’s Republican Senate colleagues into dropping their endorsement.
Despite all of that, Senator Johnson cozied up to Trump in the hopes of giving him a boost in the waning days of his term. He joined Trump for a rally in Eau Claire before awkwardly kicking off a road trip with Eric Trump. But just as soon as Sen. Johnson hopped aboard the Trump Train, The Donald abandoned Wisconsin altogether, canceling his last planned event in Wisconsin. Trump sees the writing on the wall and probably doesn’t expect his favorite Washington insider to be around DC too much longer.
After Six Years In Washington, Senator Johnson Has A Ceiling With Voters
Even Republicans agree that Sen. Johnson has been unable to make up for six years of ignoring Wisconsinites. Polling has shown Sen. Johnson spending his entire reelection campaign middling around in the low to mid-40s. Over nearly two years and dozens of public polls, Senator Johnson still can’t get close to 50% in any survey-- he's never getting higher than 46%, and standing mired at 44% in multiple polls from the last week. When’s the last time you saw an incumbent re-elected in Wisconsin after consistently demonstrating so little public support?
His special interest allies can spend millions attacking Russ. But clearly, no amount of money can convince 50 percent of Wisconsinites that Senator Johnson deserves another term.
A Final Note
Wisconsinites are voting, and the numbers indicate that they are tired of Sen. Johnson’s antics in Washington and want to make a change. Whether it’s general enthusiasm or data and metrics, they all point toward a victory for Russ, because after six long years of Sen. Johnson failing to represent the state, Wisconsin is ready for a leader who will fight for its middle class and working families.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin sets early voting record
“Driven by a surge of early voters in Dane County and the Fox Valley, Wisconsin set a record Friday for the number of ballots received before an election day with the number still expected to grow.
Early voting has become steadily popular in Wisconsin elections over the past decade but the pace this year has been especially swift in Dane County, an historically Democratic stronghold, and the Fox Valley, which has a heated congressional race on the ballot.
Increased voter activity in liberal Dane County could spell trouble for Republican candidates competing in statewide elections Nov. 8, but not necessarily. The number of ballots received on Election Day typically far outweighs the number of early votes.”
From NBC News:
“Democratic-affiliated voters have outpaced Republican-affiliated voters in Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.”
Note: Wisconsin Party Affiliation of 2016 Early Voters as of November 3, 2016: D 51%, R 37%, O 12%. Wisconsin has the largest party affiliation margin of any battleground state.
Wisconsin State Journal: State commission expects 3.1 million Wisconsinites to vote in Tuesday's election
“More than 3 million Wisconsinites are expected to vote in Tuesday’s election, according to the state Elections Commission.
The turnout is expected to be around the same as the 2008 and 2012 elections, when 69.2 percent and 70.4 percent of voting-aged people in Wisconsin voted, said the state’s chief elections official, Michael Haas.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Early Vote Excels In Democratic Counties
“Democratic strongholds in the state are crushing their early voting numbers from the previous two presidential elections, with Republican counties underperforming compared to past years.
The city of Madison has had 56% more early voter ballots returned so far than in all of 2012 — a record number — and now has 10,000 more voters registered than it did four years ago, according to data gathered from the Wisconsin Elections Commission and from the city clerk.
The strong early vote numbers in Madison and Milwaukee and lagging numbers in the GOP suburbs aren't good news for either GOP nominee Donald Trump or U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson.”
Wisconsin Public Radio: Voter Registration Among UW-Madison Students Increases This Election Cycle
“From August to October, the university's Associated Students of Madison registered about 3,400 students. That's 600 more than the number registered during the 2014 election.
Students have also contributed to the record high number of early voters in Madison. As of Nov. 1, more than 4,600 people have voted at two early polling places on campus.”
Wisconsin Public Radio: Latino Early Voters Set Milwaukee Record
“More than 2,000 Latino voters in Milwaukee have already voted in this year's presidential election, a record number of voters with a little less than a week remaining until Election Day, according to Voces de la Frontera, a nonprofit organization that works with the Latino community.
During the same time period in 2012, there were 994 Latino voters who voted early.”