Articles and Analysis


Wisconsin Election Night Results

Topics: 2008 , ABC , Barack Obama , CBS , CNN , Exit Polls , Gary Langer , Hillary Clinton , Mark Lindeman , MSNBC

Carrying on with our "live blogging" tradition, I'll post what seems relevant here on what we can learn from the non-leaked exit poll information tonight. Use the following links for actual exit poll tabulations after the polls close at 8:00 p.m. Central time (9:00 p.m. Eastern):

Updates will follow in reverse chronological order -- all times Eastern:

7:51 a.m. Wednesday - ABC updated their analysis. Obama's margin among non-college whites was 52% to 47%.*

10:55 - Following up on our discussion last week on the preferences of non-college white voters comes this from the now-updated ABC News exit poll analysis:

Another core group for Clinton has been less-educated whites; in previous primaries combined she's won those who lack a college degree by 30 points, while Obama's won college-educated whites.

In Wisconsin, however, less-educated whites split about evenly in preliminary data, while Obama continued to sail ahead among the better-educated.

There have been only two previous primaries in which Clinton didn't clearly win less-educated whites, Utah and Illinois.

Note: ABC's Gary Langer also looked at the Democratic vote by socio-economic status in a blog post earlier today using a combined exit poll sample from previous primary states:

Overall, combining all primaries to date, voters who hold a college degree have voted for Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton by an 8-point margin, 51-43 percent, while those who haven’t been graduated from college have favored Clinton by 10 points.

9:19 - The networks just posted an update. The extrapolated overall estimate now shows Obama with 56%, Clinton 43% among Democrats (n=1431); McCain 52%, Huckabee 36%, Paul 6% among Republicans (n=840).

9:00 - As the polls close in Wisconsin, MSNBC has the crosstabulations up online. Our friend Mark Lindeman reports an extrapolated overall exit poll estimate is 55% for Obama, 43% for Clinton among Democrats (based on n=878) and 52% McCain, 35% Huckabee, 6% Paul (n=454). Click here for the usual caveats on how these numbers are derived and how they improve over the course of the evening.

8:43 - The Page has a summary of non-leaked issue results from the early waves of exit poll interviews, including a link to an early analysis from ABC News. TPM also passes along early analysis from AP and what was apparently an inadvertent sneak preview from CBS of the early exit poll estimate everyone is most curious about (though keep in mind that all of these numbers are based on data collected as of the late afternoon, which has been less than reliable on previous primary nights and in previous years).

*Thanks Jordan


Mark Lindeman:

I'll give a cookie to anyone who can explain how "Milwaukee City" constitutes 21% of the Democratic electorate, but pop "over 500,000" supplies only 13%. The like #s on the R side are 9% and 3% respectively. It may make more sense to someone who has, say, actually been to Milwaukee.

"Milw Vicinity" is a hefty share in its own right.



I find the democrat/nondemocrat rates on MSNBC interesting.

White democrats make 53% of the vote, with Clinton leading 52-47.

However, among independents, who make 26% of the vote, it's 37-60, and among republicans (about 9%) it's 30-70.

So are real independents going for Obama or is it republicans trying to tip the scale?

Do the exit-pollers actually verify if someone's an independent or a democrat? Not sure how it works in WI.



Obama exceeding all expectations yet again and beating Clinton by 17% tonigh, 58 to 41, with 87% in, making it 9 in a row, soon to be 10 after Hawaii later tonight.

Clinton should just save everybody time and money and help the Democratic Party and concede now, instead of waiting for further humiliation and doing so after March 4.

It's getting almost to that point of mathematical impossibility for Clinton to catch up.




This past weekend I predicted on this site that Obama would win 58 to 42 percent. I nailed the prediction because I knew the dynamics of Madison/Milwaukee in the Democratic primary equation.

Also, I understood how the primary process worked in Wisconsin. (As a side note, only 9% of the Dem. turnout was black.)

In Ohio/Texas they have modified open primaries which automatically swith each voter's party affiliation to Democrat if they intend to vote for Obama/Clinton.

Typicallly, this lowers turnout among Independents/Republicans, but in next month primaries the drop will be statistically insignificant.

Predictions for Ohio/Texas

!black turnout- Ohio 19-21%, Texas 23-26%

Ohio- Obama 53 Clinton 47
Texas- Obama 55 Clinton 45


joshua bradshaw:

To start with I am a clinton supporter I will congratulate Obama on his win in Wisconsin. Now I have a question in washington primary it is looking like a 50-47 win for obama this shows the stark contrast to the caucus that he won by 36 points. My question is can anyone tell me what the actual delegate count for Washington was and what it would be if they went by the primary result?




Unfortunately, we cannot use the results of the Washington primary. Although I am an Obama supporter, I think it would be best for most of the caucus states to switch to primaries, especially in the case of Washington, where there is a primary already! But seeing that the party decided to award the delegates according to the result of the caucus rather than the primary, we can't assume that the vote in the primary was unaffected. Many voters may have decided to ignore the primary, after all the attention and delegates given to the caucuses. It is perhaps best to consider this primary a sort of poll of the electorate. Who knows what the result would have been if the votes mattered?


joshua bradshaw:

I realize that the delegates are awarded via caucus I was simply trying to see if anyone could give theorectical allocations simply for the purpose of a comparison between the caucus results and the primary results. I also understand the point about the affect that the delegates were awarded could have on the primary I would like to see some sort of analysis of that as well



I'm seconding what Joseph said. I'm a Washington state voter, and caucused for Obama. Since our Dem primary has no delegates at state and effectively is without consequences, I didn't waste my time voting in it. Of the 5 or 6 people I've spoken to here who voted in the caucus, not a single one bothered to vote in the primary. I don't know who DOES vote in it, but the results are totally meaningless.


Another Mike:

The Washington pledged delegate split based on the caucus results were 53 Obama - 25 Clinton. To calculate the split if based on the primary, you'd have to know whether it's statewide proportional or congressional district proportional or some combination. Assuming statewide proportional (and the postulated 50-47 split), it would be 40 Obama - 38 Clinton.


Gary Kilbride:

The most predictable Wisconsin exit poll result of the night was 53% believing Hillary attacked unfairly, to only 33% attaching it to Obama. IMO, that's not indicative of the plagiarism charge or anything from the past few days. Every time I see that question in an exit poll it screams as a likability quotient. Unfortunately it's not asked often, merely when there's high profile negativity throughout the campaign or in the final days. I can't remember an example of the candidate considered more likable "losing" that question.

Luckily the only actual political wager I've made in 2008 -- Hillary to win California -- was successful. I've certainly been blatantly wrong on many other aspects. Edwards dropping out apparently favored Obama more than virtually anyone anticipated. Tim Russert said tonight that Edwards' supporters among white males have shifted almost exclusively toward Obama.

That transitions to my current rationalization: White males, even if subconsciously, feel incredibly threatened by a woman in position of power. Particularly ultimate power, like president, as opposed to governor or senator. I'm not sure even a more naturally likable female candidate for president wouldn't be picked apart and eventually rejected by the white male establishment and talking heads.

Combine that with the Iraq vote and Hillary was more vulnerable than I forecast. A huge chunk of Democratic voters are fixated on that single vote and determined to punish anyone who strayed, or have them beg for forgiveness. It would be very interesting to see where this race would stand if Hillary had cast the opposite, i.e. correct, vote.

Primaries are a different breed. I need to keep reminding myself of that. It's like the annoying occasional sporting event where motivation overcomes ability. Primary voters have the verve and the numbers to dictate outcomes, and late in the game, as opposed to general elections where participation is more balanced and predictable, and fundamental long term preference is reliably central.


Andrew S.:

In response to the Washington State Primary results. Many Washingtonians most likely did not turn out to physically vote as the state was already won by Obama last week. Similarly the state has a huge absentee voter population compared to many states that most likely was the leading indicator of the results tonight. Many absentees turned in their ballots before Super Tuesday so this is fairly predictable of those results. Being one of the states with a non-binding primary many people didn't show for the physical on the ground voting which probably would have favored Obama more.

Andrew - Seattle



"I don't know who DOES vote in it, but the results are totally meaningless."

Well, 2x as many people participated (voted) in the WA primary than the WA caucus. I believe it was around 500,000 primary votes versus 250,000 caucus.

It does make you wonder...

Why would someone vote in a meaningless contest (the Dem primary), yet NOT participate in a meaningful one (the Dem caucus)?

For what it's worth, I think 50-47 is a LOT closer reflection of the Washington voter sentiment than 70-30. The latter result implies Obama is more popular in WA than his home state, an implausible result.

But, all fairly irrelvant. Hillary could probably lose a primary in New York if she continues this pace.


Tom,des moines:

America we should never,ever vote for anyone who wasn't proud to be american.Hillary keep on fighting.


Harald K:

Tom from Des Moines: It's not his wife who is up for election. Non-politicians must be expected to step in the salad occasionally.


Mark Lindeman:

Uri, I was staring at the same numbers. --The exit pollsters certainly don't try to verify anyone's registration status. CBS is pretty good about posting the questionnaires, and you can find the WI Dem one here. It is the stock question: "No matter how you voted today, do you usually think of yourself as a:" There is no doubt that some registered Democrats routinely say that they think of themselves as independents or Republicans -- but the WI numbers do indicate plenty of crossover.

I think for politically engaged independents and independent-minded partisans, it's more interesting to vote for Obama than for McCain. Presumably one reason that hasn't yet translated into a big Obama advantage in head-to-head polls is that the politically engaged independents are "diluted" by the rest.

Gary, I like your idea that the unfair-attack question really reflects likability -- and certainly Pew's study last week indicates that Clinton has likability issues. That question is so strongly related to vote choice that it is hard to interpret.

I'm not sure who the hypothetical more-likable female presidential candidate could be; I'm not even sure what form that more-likability would take. (And I doubt likability is the key criterion or issue, especially if it is the have-a-beer-with sort of likability.) I think that glass ceiling is really hard to break. Even for people (both men and women, I imagine, but more men) who ideologically are prepared for a female national political leader, someone who sets the terms of debate, it's mostly outside our experience -- like a blue moon or a red club. It's inevitable that Clinton is judged differently than male candidates -- but she had a huge advantage over any other prospective female candidate in being imaginable in that role. Conceivably if she had staked out a strong position against the war, she would have been even more imaginable in that role. But trailblazing is damn hard work.




Your hate speech has no place on this message board. For the record, here is what Michelle Obama said:

"For the first time in my adult lifetime I am really proud of my country."

This is not to say she wasn't proud before, but rather that now she is "really proud".

Big difference than what you said, Tom. Perhaps you shouldn't lie so brazenly. We aren't that stupid.



Obama's margin (non-college whites) should read 52%-47% (not 57%).




Looks good for today but the resource battle over the next couple of weeks will push Texas out to Obama +15 and Ohio +8.

Clinton will end up conceding Texas in the last week to try and get some sort of result out of Ohio.



Uri, you got it. Huge, huge crossover of GOP in Wisconsin -- it often occurs here when the GOP slate is set, it was encouraged again this time by conservative talk radio and even, essentially, on the front page of the largest paper in the state.

Look, for example, at returns (see jsonline.com) by counties and especially one of the reddest counties in the country, Waukesha County. Dems cannot get elected for anything there (and even ran an ad in a local paper looking for someone willing to lose races, just so there would be a slate). It also is very populous, with white-flighters from Milwaukee.

Yet Waukesha County went two to one for Dems.

Look also at the reader forum on the same site and see the anecdotal evidence in comments. They will be voting McCain in November -- and they will not even be voting Dem in April in local races. Where we live, this was not good news at all in Wisconsin, where Roe v. Wade rarely exists. Nationwide, this crossover also will not have coattails and get us a stronger Congress. Presidents only nominate Supreme Court appointees.

And as for all the last-minute problems by both Obamas, they were not in the news here -- not in the local paper, not on the local tv news. They would not have mattered, anyway, to the massive numbers of crossover voters -- estimated here at 30 to 40% -- yesterday who, as so often in Wisconsin, picked the candidate they consider easiest to beat.




I haven't had a laugh like that in some time.

Too funny how you try to say that Repubs voted for the "guy easiest to beat". Well that would have been Clinton - FOOL!

Look out world, the US is about to have a man with a brain in office again.

Obama will trounce McCain in the fall- you heard it here first! I'm talking LANDSLIDE!!



yall Obamanites are afraid of March 4th, I think Texas will be close but I think Billary will win it, heck, Obama might get more delegates in Texas....and then she is going to win Ohio and PA(Obama polling around 16%, if he drops anymore, Clinton will get all the delegates from PA since he has to have 15% to get any) Remember folks, it is the biggy states that mater, not the small ones, just look how the Dems have won the Presidency, NOT by winning the small states.

Face the facts, neither cannidate will win 65% of the remaining delegates....this is going to the convention, this is Billary's last chance as a national figure...she has NOTHING to loose(Dems most likely will not beat McCain though because of this, but oh well, there is always Majority Leader of the Senate down the road)



The Republican attack machine cant wait for Obama...elegance but empty will be the motto, also Michelle's screw up will be in commerical discussing whether she was proud of our country after 9/11(that GOD Rudy is not the cannidate, he would have a field day using Michelle voice with photo's of 9/11)

Michelle gave the GOP a HUGE gift(and the base is thinking, OMG, another HILLARY!).

Obama isnt going to win the South at all in the general(think Civil Rights Act passage that caused, overnight, the shift from solid D to solid R) That is the reason Dems have a hard time winning the Presidency, they are already at a disadvantage state wise, I mean the last two were Carter(one term) and Clinton. It doesnt take much of a Republican to beat a Dem for President.



OMG, I HATE this page [just the functionality, not the content]. I HATE IT! This is the 10th time I try to post this...

From where do you get those 16%-for-Obama polls in PA?
The only recent poll I found shows Obama trailing CLinton with about 20 points- about 55-35 or something like that.

The polls you mean were taken in the October or NOvember- this is not important anymore.
Texas will be close, but he´┐Żll get more delegates, with Ohio Clinton can maybe get a draw on March 4.

AND I am not really sure if she has the majority of superdelegates.



Oh, ant I want to mention this Rasmussen Matchup:

Pennsylvania: Obama 49% McCain 39%; McCain 44% Clinton 42%
Ohio: McCain 42% Obama 41%; McCain 46%, Clinton 43%

...McCain wins 83% of the Republican vote if Clinton is the nominee, 73% if Obama is the nominee. McCain holds a slight edge over Clinton among unaffiliated voters while the reverse is true against Obama. Clinton does a bit better than Obama among Democratic voters. Overall, in most states surveyed recently, Obama performs significantly better against McCain than Clinton. ...



I think its pretty clear that if the election was held today, Obama would beat McCain and Hillary would not. On the other hand, the election won't be held today.



"Yet Waukesha County went two to one for Dems."

Nice try, GG. The main reason there were far more dem votes is because there is still a dem race. The repub race is over, so many stayed home. That's undoubtedly the major reason for those numbers.

Funny how there's *always* an excuse for when Hillary loses.



Steve, your comment shows that you really don't know Waukesha County (nor did you read what I told you about it). There simply aren't Dem votes there. As for stay at homes, you also did not research the turnout -- it was far higher than in other states, far higher than usual in Waukesha County, reaching even 50% in Milwaukee County.

My post was attempting to explain factors that would interest those discussing polling and results, factors not as evident to those not as familiar with Wisconsin, county by county. It is not an "excuse" for one candidate, anymore than describing factors in other counties "excuse" Obama's lesser numbers there. But those are lesser counties, whereas Waukesha County is one of the most populated counties so far more significant -- and it also is the most solidly red county in the state so offers opportunity to analyze more clearly. It would be as if Milwaukee and Madison had gone two-to-one for the GOP. It just wouldn't happen.

Btw, estimates in today's local press are of a 30-40% crossover vote, statewide, so I actually underestimated it and its impact. But -- you seem to not really want to discuss polling and results, so this information is for others coming to a blog called pollster.com for that purpose. Your purposes don't interest me.

At least you refrain from shouting out in capital letters and sorority-style punctuation, so I address this comment to you and opt to ignore that other one. Sad for this blog.


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