There are reports of huge voter turnout across the state today, and this afternoon a spokesman for Wisconsin's Government Accountability told THE WEEKLY STANDARD: "We are still looking at 60 to 65 percent statewide. It will be heavier in some localities." Turnout in Wisconsin was 50 percent in the 2010 gubernatorial election and 69 percent in the 2008 presidential election.
Liberal Dane county, the seat of state government and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is expected to break 3-to-1 against Scott Walker, and Democrats will need a big turnout there to win the election. Early this morning it looked like Democrats might get that massive Dane county turnout. "We could hit 80 to 88 percent," Dane county clerk Karen Peters told a reporter this morning. But minutes ago, Peters downgraded that projection in an interview with THE WEEKLY STANDARD. "We [originally] said 70 to 75 percent, and I think it's going to be more in the 75 percent range," Peters told me.
While 75 percent turnout in Dane County would be big, it would only mark a 9-point increase from the 2010 election, and turnout statewide is expected to be 10 to 15 percentage points higher than it was in 2010. In other words, the increased turnout in Dane county may not be enough to put Tom Barrett over the top.
Update: And how is turnout in the big Republican counties outside of Milwaukee? Clerks for Waukesha and Washington counties tell TWS they won't make estimates and will release numbers after the polls close.