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State primary election turnout highest in 20 years

Wisconsin's presidential primary had its highest voter turnout since 1988.

Thirty-six percent of eligible voters went to the polls Tuesday.

Just more than 1.5 million Wisconsinites put Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain closer to winning their parties' nominations.

Seventy-three percent voted in the Democratic primary. A CNN exit poll said only two-thirds of those people were actually Democrats. Nine-percent were Republicans apparently trying to pit the weakest candidate against McCain.

Even so, U-W Madison professor Charles Franklin says the high Democratic turnout is worrisome to the GOP. But he said the dynamics would be very different come November.

State Democratic Party chairman Joe Wineke says he's never seen Democrats as excited as they are now. He says Obama and Hillary Clinton get part of that credit, but folks are also tired and frustrated with President Bush.

State GOP chairman Mark Jefferson says we shouldn't read too much into the high Democratic vote count. He said there wasn't much bringing people to the Republican race, with McCain all but wrapping up the nomination.