Where Wisconsin is winnable

Craig Gilbert:
When President Obama goes to Green Bay Tuesday, he’ll be visiting one of the ”swingiest” parts of Wisconsin.

Democrat Bill Clinton won Brown County by 5 points in 1996. Republican George Bush won it by 10 points in 2004. Democrat Barack Obama won it by 9 points in 2008. And GOP Gov. Scott Walker won it by 20 points on June 5.

Welcome to Clinton-Bush-Obama-Walker country.

Or maybe Clinton-Bush-Obama-Walker-Romney country. We’ll find out Nov. 6.

It’s not just Brown County that swings like this. Outagamie County, home to nearby Appleton, swings even more.

And it’s not just the Fox Valley, the state’s quintessential battleground, that swings. You can find similar patterns in northern, central and western Wisconsin.

With Wisconsin so deeply defined these days by bitter partisan division, it’s easy to forget just how politically fluid and volatile large pockets of the state are.

Yes, the state is deeply polarized. But that description fits some parts of Wisconsin better than others.

Would you call Kewaunee County (at the base of the Door peninsula) polarized when it gave Bush a 7-point margin in 2004, gave Obama an 11-point margin in 2008, and gave Walker a 29-point margin in 2012? That’s a 40-point partisan swing in those last two elections.

Would you call Clark County in north central Wisconsin polarized when it gave Bush a 7-point margin in 2004, gave Obama an 8-point margin in 2008, and gave Walker a 38-point margin in 2012? That’s a 46-point swing from 2008 to 2012.
How likely is it for these places that swung so strongly for Walker only a few months ago to swing back for Obama?  The polls show a tie at about 49 for each right now, but that looks like a ceiling on Obama's support if he gets that much.

Tom Bevan says the race is currently tied, and both campaigns are mobilizing in the state.

Ed Morrissey says Minnesota is also in play with Obama three points ahead, but at only 47 percent he is beatable.


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