The results of last year's recall election may have confused Republican pollsters who thought that meant Mitt Romney would win the state in the November elections.
Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School poll, shared with members of the Dairy Business Association his polling results showing how changeable and unpredictable Wisconsin voters can be.
He showed county voting tabulations for the two elections in terms of "blue" for Democratic majorities and "red" for GOP wins.
In the recall vote in June the counties along the Mississippi voted mostly Republican - "there were only two counties that were blue." The recall election also featured the "powerhouse of the GOP" in the suburban Milwaukee counties up through the Fox Valley, he added.
Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties are reliably Republican and largely voted that way in the recall. But there was a "remarkable shift" away from that in November as there was in southwest Wisconsin.
The region of southwest Wisconsin along the Mississippi River had no counties voting red or Republican and in the eastern GOP-leaning counties "it was red but less so." The margins there narrowed substantially, turning those counties more pink than red on his maps.
Counties voting Democrat expanded and many switched entirely from June to November. "A lot of the counties that switched were not urban but rural."
One such county was Manitowoc, he said, which Gov. Scott Walker won by 10,000 votes in the June recall, but Romney won by only 1,000 votes. "That's a 90 percent drop for the Republicans in that county."
Franklin named five counties - Winnebago, Racine, Sauk, Eau Claire and Green - where voters switched from Republican majorities in June to Democratic majorities in November.
Reliably Democratic-voting counties like Dane and Milwaukee increased their margin of Democrat votes between June and November.
"The Republican professionals doing their polling were very good - but you can understand why they came up with the wrong conclusion after the June recalls."
The Democrats congratulated themselves on the win and the Republicans congratulated themselves on doing really well. "But I would be careful about drinking either one of those Kool-Aids, "he said. "What changed was the electorate."
Franklin said the GOP lost the African-American vote by a 95-5 margin and Latinos by over 70 percent largely based on proposed immigration policies. Asians went two-thirds for Democrats, he added.