Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Big stick packs little wallop

The Journal Sentinel's map of the GOP primary for governor, at left, prompts all sorts of analysis about how and why Scott Walker beat Mark Neumann. (The redder it is, the bigger Walker's margin. The greener it is, the more Neumann won by.)

Patrick McIlheran would have you believe it's because of rabid right talk radio, which backed Walker, who cleaned up in southeastern Wisconsin.

Let's think about that for a moment.

The area Walker won is basically the Milwaukee television market. Walker, as Milwaukee County executive, has been all over the news in that market, on a daily basis, since being elected eight years ago.

Eight years of free media coverage is an immeasurably huge advantage. Neumann hasn't been in the news at all since he ran for the Senate in 1998. It is absolutely no surprise that Walker would win in his home media market.

It is true that Charlie Sykes and Mark Belling made untold contributions of corporate air time to the Walker campaign, and also backed the Jessica McBride protege, Rebecca Kleefisch, who won for lietenant governor. But she also is known in the media market as an ex-TV announcer, is from southeastern Wisconsin, and was the only woman in a multi-candidate field.

What would have really been news would be a Neumann victory in southeastern Wisconsin. Who on earth doubted Walker would win here?

Talk radio's audience is simply not that big. If everyone who listens to Belling and Sykes votes for Walker in November, that might give him 15% of the vote. A nice start, but a long way from 50.

The test on Tuesday was not whether Walker would win southeastern Wisconsin. It was how Walker would do in the rest of the state, and now we have the answer: Not so hot.

The map tells the tale.

One more note, as Paddy Mac sings out of the Sykes-Belling hymnal: The biggest stick in the state, taht 50,000-watt megastation that Paddy credits for Walker's win, apparently doesn't reach Milwaukee's east side, Bay View, Cudahy, Oak Creek, or South Milwaukee. Sykes did everything he could to slime Chris Larson and promote Jeff Plale, the Democratic state senator the Repubs love. But Larson creamed Plale by 20%.

Can talk radio have some influence this market in a Republican primary? Sure. But beyond that, as Sykes might say when he gets really risque, it isn't worth a pound of poop.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, I think it does prove that Milwaukee talk radio runs the Wisconsin GOP and its voters, and not people in the other 80 percent of the state. Walker LOST to Neumann if you take away the Milwaukee TV market, and Johnson also scored lower in central and western Wisconsin.

    Why does this matter? Because Republicans need central and western Wisconsin to win statewide. And given the winning candidates' poor performances there, combined with the fact that Scotty or RoJo probably won't get many more votes from the Milwaukee suburbs than what they got yesterday, indicates to me that Barrett, Feingold, and Dem legislative candidates are in much better shape than the Milwaukee media has made it out to be.

    If the Dems stay smart, fight back, and be halfway decent, the GOP whiners will irritate everyone else in the real Wisconsin. Remember, 90 percent of the state lives outside of the Milwaukee suburbs, and the Walker-Barrett vote will be near 50-50 in the Milwaukee TV market in November.