Beyond Milwaukee and Madison: Walker’s ‘erosion of support in diverse set of cities and suburbs’

The WISGOP, under Speaker Vos and Majority Leader Fitzgerald, falsely contends that Scott Walker lost only because of the Dane County & City of Milwaukee vote.  A claim like this is myopic, of course: the close election turned as much on where Walker underperformed as where Evers performed well.  Craig Gilbert looks at the election data and finds An erosion of support in diverse set of cities and suburbs spelled defeat for Scott Walker:

Sure enough, Walker had an urban problem in this election. But it was much bigger than a Milwaukee or Madison problem.

The governor’s undoing was a serious erosion of support in the state’s most populous places.

And by “populous,” we mean not just Wisconsin’s two biggest cities — but communities of any real size at all.

Compared with his victory in 2014, Walker’s performance declined significantly in cities of all stripes, sizes and regions, according to a detailed analysis of election data from the past two races for governor.

It happened in blue cities (Eau Claire), red cities (Brookfield) and purple cities (Green Bay).

It happened in affluent cities (Mequon) and blue-collar cities (West Allis).

It happened on the south side of Milwaukee County (Oak Creek); in the Waukesha County suburbs (New Berlin); in the Fox Valley (Appleton); in southern Wisconsin (Whitewater); in central Wisconsin (Stevens Point); in eastern Wisconsin (Port Washington); and in western Wisconsin (La Crosse).


Here is one more illustration: Walker won his race in 2014 by about 137,000 votes and lost his race in 2018 by about 29,000 votes. That’s a swing of roughly 166,000 votes. Democratic gains in the cities of Milwaukee and Madison accounted for less than a quarter of that statewide swing. The rest of it happened largely in county seats, regional hubs and red and blue suburbs both close to and far from the state’s two biggest cities.

Compared with four years ago, Walker lost ground in every community in Wisconsin of more than 30,000 people — in most cases, a good deal of ground. 

That wasn’t just an urban problem for him and his party. It was a voter problem.

(Emphasis added.)

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