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Wisconsin Studies

Studies by UW-Madison Political Science faculty concerning policy and politics in Wisconsin.
For talks and interviews by UW Political Science faculty on Wisconsin issues, see our Audio/Video page, and for comments in the media see UW Political Science In the News.


Milwaukee Independent Charter Schools: Report on Two and Three-Year Achievement Gain
Independent charter school students outperformed Milwaukee Public School students in reading and mathematics on the Wisconsin Concepts and Knowledge examinations after two years and particularly after three years.
By: John Witte, Patrick J. Wolf, Alicia Dean, Deven Carlson


Student Attainment and the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program
Voucher students graduate from high school and attend college at between 5 and 7 percent higher rates than Milwaukee Public School students.
By: John Witte, Joshua Cowen, David Fleming, Patrick J. Wolf


Milwaukee Parental Choice Program: Longitudinal Education Growth Study: Fourth Year Report
After three years of achievement growth there were no significant differences between voucher students and Milwaukee Public School students in either reading or math achievement as measured by the Wisconsin Concepts and Knowledge examinations.
By: John Witte, Deven Carlson, Patrick J. Wolf, Joshua Cowen, David Fleming


The Story Behind School Choice Study
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - May 28, 2011.
By: John Witte, Patrick J. Wolf



Mr. Johnson's Taste of Tea
An analysis of national forces, candidate strategies, issues, geography, and voting patterns in the 2010 U.S. Senate election.
By: Charles Franklin


The Maverick Icon Meets His Match: Feingold vs. Johnson in Wisconsin's Senate Race
This paper explores the 2010 Wisconsin Senate race between the Democratic incumbent Russ Feingold and his challenger, Ron Johnson. Johnson came out of nowhere to swamp the 18-year incumbent in one of the biggest upsets of the midterm elections. The paper examines the candidates' campaign strategies, debate performance, ad buys, and spending and the role of national forces on the outcome of the election.
By: David Canon


On the 2010 Wisconsin Vote for Governor
The 2010 election results confirm that Wisconsin remains best described as either a purple state or as a volatile, unpredictable one in any given election year or as both.
By: Robert B. Fowler


Data on July Recall Primaries and Elections
Turnout statistics for Wisconsin's July recall elections.
By: Charles Franklin


The 2011 Wisconsin Vote for Supreme Court Justice: or, Why Turnouts Matter
Turnout was the key factor in the April 2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court race
By: Robert B. Fowler


Election Administration

Early Voting and Election Day Registration in the Trenches: Local Officials' Perceptions of Election Reform
Wisconsin election clerks are more likely to support election day registration (EDR) than early voting, because of the long history of EDR in the state and their beliefs that EDR is a voter's right and increases turnout.
By: Barry Burden, David Canon, Kenneth Mayer, Donald Moynihan


Wisconsin Voter Experiences in the November 2008 General Election
Compared to voters in other states, Wisconsinites were more likely to vote in person on election day, took less time to vote, and were more confident that their votes were counted properly.
By: Barry Burden


Election Administration and the Pure Effects of Voter Registration on Turnout
Article uses a "natural experiment" in Wisconsin to show that registration lowers turnout 2 points on average and more in communities with low administrative capacity.
By: Barry Burden, Jacob Neiheisel


Election Laws, Mobilization, and Turnout: The Unanticipated Consequences of Election Reform
An article, not limited to Wisconsin, arguing that early voting has lowered overall voter turnout.
By: Barry Burden, David Canon, Kenneth Mayer, Donald Moynihan


Voting Early, but Not So Often
New York Times - October 24, 2010.
By: Barry Burden, Kenneth Mayer



Early Identification and Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease: Social and Fiscal Outcomes
The early detection of Alzheimer's disease, followed by drug treatment and caregiver support, offers social benefits and sufficient fiscal savings to federal and state governments to recommend these measures in a time of fiscal austerity.
By: David Weimer, Mark Sager



Midwest Media Patterns by Partisanship and Political Engagement
Comparing Milwaukee to seven other cities, this study finds significant market-to-market differences in Democratic vs. Republican patterns of television, newspaper, radio, and Internet usage patterns. These differences have implications for our understanding of political media planning and media effects.
By: Kenneth Goldstein


Open Records

Stop Poisonous Record Requests
Wisconsin State Journal - April 1, 2011.
By: Howard Schweber, Donald Downs


Open Records Law Used to Muzzle Critics
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - March 28, 2011.
By: Howard Schweber, Donald Downs


Rural Politics

A Geography of Power: Rural Perspectives of Political Inequality
Rural residents use the rural vs. urban distinction to understand public affairs-including who has decision-making power, who has values consistent with their own, and who has resources-and to make sense of policies, candidates, and their own potential to influence political outcomes.
By: Katherine Walsh


Views toward Government

Political Understanding of Economic Crisis: The Shape of Resentment toward Public Employees
Based on conversations in 27 communities across Wisconsin from 2007 through 2011, the study explores the perspectives that placed government and public employees, and an urban/rural divide, at the center of explanations for economic difficulties.
By: Katherine Walsh