See 2012 Battleground States for brief analyses of a dozen key states in the 2012 elections, and predictions as to who could win those states.
How Wisconsin Votes: Red State or Blue State?
Although Wisconsin historically has proven to be a Democratic blue state, Badger State voters elected two Republican Tea Party-associated candidates to key offices in 2012: Scott Walker as governor, and Ron Johnson as U.S. senator, defeating incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen Russ Feingold.
Since the 2010 state elections, an active 2012 campaign is being waged to recall Gov. Walker mainly because of his 2011 initiatives to drastically curtail public labor union rights, which includes teachers, police and fire authorities, and most state and municipal employees. Several Republican Wisconsin lawmakers have already been successfully recalled.
More than 422,000 Wisconsin workers, representing 16% all workers in the state, belong to labor unions. Late 2011 polling shows a majority of Wisconsin residents support recalling Republican Gov. Walker.
In the last four presidential elections, Wisconsin voted as follows:
- 2008 - 56% for Democrat Obama, 42% for Republican McCain
- 2004 - 49% for Democrat Kerry, 45% for Republican Bush, 6% for Other
- 2000 - 48% for Democrat Gore, 48% for Republican Bush
- 1996 - 49% for Democrat Clinton, 39% for Republican Dole, 12% for Other
Summary of Top Issues in Wisconsin
The state's 422,000 labor union members, their families, friends and supporters, are furious with Tea-Party Republicans in the state legislature, as well as Gov. Scott Walker, for radically chopping labor union rights Democrats, supported by a powerful confluence of unions and progressive organizations are energized to defeat Republicans at the 2012 ballot box.
Because 13.7% of Wisconsin residents are senior citizens, Republican presidential candidates' plans to slash Social Security and Medicare should be important election issues in 2012.
Public education is another key 2012 political issue in Wisconsin, especially $2.6 billion in cuts to public education and vocational training made by Gov. Walker and the Republican majority in the state legislature.
Wisconsin Economic Facts and Voter Demographics
Unemployment Rate as of June 2011 - 7.6% in Wisconsin, about 1% lower than the national average and which ranks about 31st among all states.
Foreclosure Rates as of June 2011 - Wisconsin's foreclosure rate is 1 in 818 homes, which ranks 20th among all states and is somewhat below the national median of 1 of 583 homes.
State Residents Living Below Poverty-Level Income - 10.4% of Wisconsin households live below the poverty level, a benchmark that ranks 38th among all states.
Labor Union Membership - 422,000 Wisconsin workers, representing 16% all workers in the state, belong to labor unions, which is the 11th highest state population of labor union members.
Senior Citizen Population - 13.7% of Wisconsin residents are over 65 years old, ranking 22nd among all states.
Women as a Percentage of Wisconsin's Population - 50.4% of Wisconsin residents are women, ranking 33rd among all states.
African-American Population - Only 6% of Wisconsin residents are African-American, which ranks 27th among all states. Wisconsin trails far behind most southern states in African-Americans as a percentage of state population.
Hispanic Population - Merely 5.9% of Wisconsin residents are Hispanic, which ranks 30th among all states and is far behind most western states in Hispanics as a percentage of state population, including California, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado.