The Wisconsin effect

Obama won big. Last week I pointed to an interesting article by Jay Cost which argued against the idea that Obama had already built unstoppable momentum, and showed that demographics could account for his recent run of successes, leaving Texas and Ohio as likely wins for Hillary. Jay's update on Wisconsin is worth reading. If it is right, the news is bad for Hillary.

Hillary Clinton suffered a stinging blow last night, losing Wisconsin by 15 points. What is worrisome for her is that Obama seems to have broken into several of her core voting groups. This is the first real evidence of momentum we have seen on the Democratic side.

After the Potomac Primary last week, some argued that Obama had already begun to build momentum because of his large victories in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. I thought this talk was hasty. Given the large number of African American voters in each contest, and given that white voters in all three primaries were quite wealthy - Obama's sizeable victories did not come as a surprise. In particular, 39% of all Maryland Democrats and 39% of all Virginia Democrats claimed to make $100,000 or more per year. So, it is hard to argue that Obama's success among whites was due to him peeling off portions of the Clinton coalition. What seems more likely is that he won handily because his best voting blocs were in good supply that day.

The same cannot be said for Wisconsin. Just 20% of Wisconsin Democratic voters claimed to make $100,000 or more per year. So, there is strong evidence that, at least last night, Obama expanded his voting coalition. Consider the following chart, which uses the exit polls to review Obama's margin of victory with key groups in the non-southern states in comparison to his performance with those same groups in Wisconsin last night.

Obama%20Margin%20of%20Victory.jpg

So, for instance, Obama won white males in the non-South by 8 points prior to the Potomac Primary. Last night, he won them by 26 points, yielding a net increase of 18 points.

March 4th could settle it.

Presented by

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This wildly inventive short film takes you on a whirling, spinning tour of the Big Apple

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Business

Just In