I finally finished my map of the Democratic AG primary results. Red is Falk, blue is Lautenschlager. The intensity of the color shows how strongly each county went for one of the candidates. As you can see there's a rather strong pattern across the state.
Now compare the election results to the map below of the major Wisconsin media markets.
Notice that the election results align remarkably well with the media markets, particularly the Wausau/Rhinelander (2) and the La Crosse/Eau Claire (5) markets. This tells me that Falk's TV ads, particularly the rather nasty attack ad she ran only outside of the Madison area, probably determined the outcome of the race. You can see the ad here:
Yes boys and girls, money does buy elections, and negative ads do work. But what surprised me most is that they worked so well in this case. I've always imagined primary voters to be far more politically informed and less likely to be influenced by such tactics than general election voters.
I was wrong.
- Many thanks to Jim S who collected the data and did all the preliminary number crunching for this project. It would have been a heck of a lot harder without him.
UPDATE: One of my sources has confirmed that Falk ran lots of ads in the Wausau/Rhinelander and the La Crosse/Eau Claire markets, while Lautenschlager was dark in those areas due to lack of funds. You rarely see such a clear and obvious example of the power of money in politics as in the results of this race.