Mitt Romney won Wisconsin the same way he has won many other Republican presidential primaries: with big wins in major population centers that outvoted rural areas where the former Massachusetts governor did less well.
Though Romney won just 26 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, he carried nine of the 12 that cast the most votes in his 7-point win over Rick Santorum, according to an almost complete count of votes this morning. Milwaukee County, which includes Wisconsin’s most populous city, and Waukesha County, a Milwaukee suburb, together gave Romney a cushion of 45,319 votes, or 80 percent of his statewide margin of 56,682.
Romney topped 60 percent of the vote in Waukesha and in Ozaukee County north of Milwaukee. The two counties have the highest median household income in Wisconsin — about $75,000, according to Census Bureau estimates. Romney, a former private-equity executive with a net worth as high as $250 million, generally has done better among higher-income voters than lower-income voters.
Romney won 55 percent in Washington County, a suburb northwest of Milwaukee, and 54 percent in Racine County, which is in the southeastern congressional district of Republican Paul Ryan, who endorsed Romney last week. Romney won a majority in two other counties — Walworth, another southeastern county in Ryan’s district, and Milwaukee.
Santorum won a majority in just one county, Kewaunee, which is located east of Green Bay. Among more populous jurisdictions, Santorum won pluralities in Brown, which includes Green Bay; Outagamie, located west of Green Bay; and Marathon, which takes in Wausau in the center of the state.