An unpredictable piece of the Blue Wall.
Close presidential races are the norm in WISCONSIN. Since 1936, there have been 11 elections with a winning margin of less than 5 points here, and only seven with a more decisive victory. Yet WIsconsin is part of the "Blue Wall" of states that have gone Democratic in every election since 1988. The outcome was quite close in 2000 and 2004, when the Democrats won by less than 1 percentage point and by raw-vote margins of 5,708 and 11,384. But Obama won by 414,818 in 2008, the biggest margin in state history outside of FDR's reelection in 1936. In contrast to other states, this shift to the left was not the result of higher turnout, as the Wisconsin electorate actually dropped by some 14,000 (to 2,983,417). This gives hope to the Republicans in 2012, since victory would largely come from persuading people to vote the way they did just eight years ago, as opposed to fighting off a rise of demographic groups favorable to the Democrats.