On Tuesday, the entire country will be watching the state of Wisconsin, a crucial battleground state for both President Obama as Republican nominee Mitt Romney, as they each look to gain the 10 crucial electoral votes in the state.
Wisconsin has voted for the Democratic candidate in the presidential election since 1984; however, both the 2000 and 2004 votes were extremely close with John Kerry winning by a 0.4% margin in 2004. While the state may have voted for the Democrat in the presidential election, the state currently boasts an extremely conservative governor in Scott Walker, as well as one Republican senator, Ron Johnson.
While the presidential election will be the focal point for many, one should not overlook the very hotly contested senate seat which is being vacated by Herb Kohl. Wisconsin has not boasted two Republican senators since Joseph McCarthy was in office in the 1950s. The race pits Democratic Representative Tammy Baldwin against former Governor Tommy Thompson. Real Clear Politics shows Baldwin with a narrow 2.2% lead; however, Thompson led by as many as 11% as recently as August.
One hallmark of this campaign has been the immense amount of money spent on ads. Wisconsin had the 9th highest amount of money spent on advertising by the two candidates with $28 million spent by the two candidates with the Obama campaign spending more than $8 million and the Romney campaign spending more than $19 million. Meanwhile, in the Senate race, more than $65 million has been spent between the two candidates.
Real Clear Politics currently has Obama with a 4.2% advantage; however, Romney has shaved Obama's lead from double digits and a far cry from Obama's 13.9% victory in the state in 2008. The polls open at 7 AM and are open until 8 PM Central Time.
PolicyMic will be covering the 2012 election from the state of Wisconsin live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.
UPDATE: 11:05 PM - For the first time since 1972, both candidates on a major party ticket lost the states they represent with Romney losing Massachusetts and Ryan losing Wisconsin.
10:56 PM - Final recap of the House seats:
WI-1, WI-5, WI-6, WI-7, and WI-8 remain Republican, while WI-2, WI-3, and WI-4 stay Democratic.
10:50 PM - Check out my article on Tammy Baldwin's victory in the Senate race here.
10:27 PM -
10:13 PM - CNN has the map at 256 to 191. A quick check on the swing states:
Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire go Democratic, North Carolina goes Republican with Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, and Nevada still yet to be decided.
10:09 PM - According to MSNBC, Baldwin holds the Democratic Senate seat. It was a real battle as Thompson had vast amounts of outside funding; however, Baldwin's popularity within Dane and Milwaukee counties carried her to victory.
9:48 PM - WI-8 goes Republican. Two years ago, Reid Ribble had his stiffest test; however, this time, he skated to victory.
9:33 PM - WI-2 goes Democratic. No surprises there as the seat formerly held by Tammy Baldwin has been picked up by Democrat Mark Pocan.
9:22 PM - 17% of the vote is in within the whole state, Thompson leads 51% to 46%.
9:19 PM - With 22% of the vote counted in Dane County, Baldwin leads there 60% to 39%. That piece of Wisconsin is widly important for Baldwin's success. If the voter turnout remains as strong as it has seemed, then Baldwin is in good shape.
9:02 PM - Another house seat has been called. WI-6 stayed Republican with incumbent Tom Petri keeping his seat.
8:56 PM - With 9% in, Thompson leads Baldwin 52% to 45%; however, only 22% of Dane County and 1% of Milwaukee County have been counted.
8:50 PM - Another swing state goes blue as the count is now up to four with Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Michigan all going for Obama.
8:47 PM - First House seat has been called, in WI-5, incumbent Jim Sensenbrenner has been declared the victor.
8:42 PM - With 5% in, Thompson holds a 55% to 43% lead over Tammy Baldwin.
8:33 PM - According to MSNBC, Wisconsin goes Obama. This is enormous news as Romney is currently ahead in terms of votes; however, CNN has not called the state.
8:28 PM - With 2% in, Romney holds a 51% to 48% lead; however, 0% of Milwaukee county has been counted.
8:24 PM - More numbers are in. Romney leads 8,147 (58%) to 5,804 (41%). Nothing has been reported yet from the Democratic strongholds of Milwaukee and Dane counties.
8:16 PM - In the same county, Tammy Baldwin leads by 5 votes. Can't really gleam too much from this.
8:13 PM - With 4% of Sauk County in, Obama leads 129 to 107 votes which works out to be 54% to 45%. Obama won Sauk County 61% to 38% in 2008.
8:04 PM - A whole batch of new states have been projected. 152-123 Romney; however, they have already called Michigan in favor of Obama. Obama taking Michigan is immense, and that is the first swing state that has gone in favor for either candidate. Polls have closed here in Wisconsin and my shift will go from national to a much larger focus on this very state.
7:58 PM - If you haven't voted yet in Wisconsin, you have 2 minutes to get on line.
7:38 PM - Catching up on some things around the nation. Arkansas went red, not a surprise. 88-64 Romney.
In other news, people of the great state of Wisconsin have 22 minutes left to get on line to vote. Exercise your rights people!
7:16 PM - It appears as if Nelson has kept his Florida Senate seat. Massachusetts, and Missouri both have leads by Warren and McCaskill respectively. That would be a big pickup in Massachusetts by Democrats as the wavering Scott Brown seems primed to lose to Elizabeth Warren. In Missouri, incumbent Claire McCaskill after a very rocky campaign should hold on against Todd Akin after his controversial rape comments.
7:08 PM - 82-64 Romney. New England went blue save for New Hampshire and one vote in Maine (the other is undecided). The south is filling out red with Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi going Romney's way.
6:57 PM - Georgia, not surprisingly, goes Republican. 49-3 Romney.
6:52 PM - In Indiana, Joe Donnelly holds a 50% to 44% lead over Richard Mourdock with 21% of the vote counted. This will be a key race to watch throughout the course of the evening as this seat was formerly held by Republican Richard Lugar.
6:40 PM - CNBC just called South Carolina. 33-3 Romney.
6:25 PM - CNN just called Indiana for Romney. Tack 11 electoral votes on to Romney's 8 to get us to 19-3 in favor of Romney.
6:19 PM - 712 votes. That is all that separates Obama and Romney in Florida with 5% of the vote counted. The separation by only a three-digit number brings up shades of 2000. There is still plenty of time to go, but such a close number of votes separating the two always makes things exciting.
6:14 PM - For those of you who need a break from election coverage this evening, there are three NBA games: the Orlando Magic are playing the Chicago Bulls, the Toronto Raptors are playing the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Detroit Pistons are playing the Denver Nuggets. Scores will be updated throughout the night.
6:05 PM - The current electoral vote count stands at 8-3 Romney with Romney projecting to take Kentucky, and Obama projected to take Vermont.
5:58 PM - Some key counties to look at will be the turnout in both Milwaukee and Dane counties (the two largest counties, which both have large Democratic bases) as well as Jefferson County, which Obama won by 352 votes in a county with 43,166 registered voters.
5:49 PM - As the first big wave of polling data comes in from the East Coast, let's look at the initial polling numbers from right now.
With 4% of the vote in, Romney leads 60% to 38% in Indiana, a state Obama won in 2008; however, Republicans took the state in the prior nine elections.
With 2% of the vote in, Romney leads 69% to 30% in Kentucky. Kentucky went Republican in 2008 by a margin of 57% to 41%.
5:38 PM - All eight seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs. Let's look at each of the eight districts:
WI-1 - Likely no change here, Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan should retain his seat in a district which has gotten more conservative since he first took office 12 years ago. He is up against Democratic challenger Robert Zerban.
WI-2 - Tammy Baldwin vacated this seat in her home district of Madison, as Dane County (the county that houses the city of Madison and its surrounding suburbs). This seat should stay blue as Mark Pocan is widly popular within one of the most liberal cities in the country against Republican challenger Chad Lee.
WI-3 - Democratic incumbent Ron Kind should hold on here against Republican challenger Ray Boland.
WI-4 - Democratic incumbent Gwendolynne Moore should hold on against Republican challenger Dan Sebring.
WI-5 - Incumbent Republican Jim Sensenbrenner should hold on against Democratic challenger Dave Heaster.
WI-6 - Incumbent Republican Tom Petri should hold on against Democratic challenger Joe Kallas.
WI-7 - The only real contested race in the country occurs in this northwestern Wisconsin district. Incumbent Republican Sean Duffy should hold on against Democratic challenger Patrick Kreitlow. Polling data has shown an increasing lead for Duffy as he has widened his gap from a 4% lead to an 11% lead.
WI-8 - Incumbent Republican Reid Ribble should hold on against Democratic challenger Jamie Wall.
5:20 PM - It's raining across the whole eastern half of Wisconsin. That includes both the cities of Madison and Milwaukee, which will hurt the Democrats; however, it will also include the traditionally conservative suburbs of Milwaukee.
5:16 PM - Wisconsin is just one of the eleven key swing states at play. Check out my overview of the final pre-election day polling data of all eleven swing states here.
5:12 PM - So let's say that Wisconsin goes Democratic. This would be the first time since 1916 that both the presidential and vice presidential candidate lose their home/representative state. Then, Wilson lost New Jersey and Marshall lost Indiana. This year, Romney is in line to lose Massachusetts and Ryan could lose Wisconsin. Just one interesting dynamic at play during this election.
4:31 PM - Classes these days. Good news and bad news. The good news is that when walking to class, I saw thousands of "I've Voted Today" stickers. The bad news, its raining and the weather is just generally awful in Madison. Hopefully that will not effect voter turnout too much.
2:08 PM - Here is a photo of Tammy Baldwin voting this morning. If you don't know where your polling location is, type in your address here.
2:00 PM - So in other news, Tammy Baldwin was at Sunroom Cafe at around 12:45 today. Her tactic of shaking hands within Madison means that she just needs voter turnout as opposed to trying to change people's opinions. Only 6 more hours of voting!
1:45 PM - Here is a county by county view of Wisconsin. While the color red typically represents Republicans, this map has it backwards. The counties in red voted for Obama in 2008, and the blue counties voted for McCain.
1:32 PM - Let's look at how Wisconsin has voted over the past ten elections, courtesy of 270towin.com
1:22 PM - Well this is interesting, with the first county tabultated, the election is currently a tie. In Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, the ten total registered voters have cast their ballots, and the result...a tie. The two registered Democrats, three registered Republicans, and five registered independents voted 5-5. Will this be the sign of things to come? You can read more in the CNN article here.
12:12 PM - Well, I know the votes are at least 1-0 Obama as I voted for the first time today. Look here for everything Wisconsin related, and some national election news will be included in here as well. Even a sports score or an unrelated fact might slip in as tonight could be a very long night.