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40 Percent Turnout Predicted For Wisconsin’s Presidential Primary

Interest In Trump, Clinton/Sanders, State Supreme Court Could Mean Double Usual Turnout

By
Michael Rosenstein (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The state’s elections agency is predicting 40 percent turnout for Wisconsin’s April election, which would be the highest in a presidential primary since 1980.

Government Accountability Board director Kevin Kennedy said in a statement that he expected Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to bring new voters to the polls, both for and against. Kennedy also said he expected high interest in the Democratic primary between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

If the prediction holds, it would mean much higher turnout than usual for a presidential primary. By comparison, the 2008 presidential primary featuring the contest between Clinton and President Barack Obama generated 35 percent turnout.

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It would also likely mean a lot more people than usual voting in this year’s state Supreme Court race, which is also on the ballot. Turnout in those races, which are officially nonpartisan, typically hovers around 20 percent.

In the Supreme Court race, current Justice Rebecca Bradley and Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg are facing off for a 10-year term.

In the presidential contest, Trump faces Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the Republican primary. Many GOP leaders are hoping a victory for Cruz or Kasich in Wisconsin’s primary will start to derail Trump’s campaign, robbing him of the delegates he needs to claim an outright victory ahead of this summer’s convention.

The state could also give Trump a chance to beat back that effort. The most recent poll by Marquette University showed him leading the GOP field by 10 percentage points, though that was before Florida Sen. Marco Rubio dropped out of the race.

Marquette’s last poll of the Democratic primary showed that race much closer, with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont edging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 44 percent to 43 percent.

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