Today, McCain and Palin visited the Wisconsin city of Cedarburg. Located about 20 miles due north of Milwaukee and with a population of about 11,000, Cedarburg is located right in the middle of Wisconsin's most Republican region comprising the three neighboring counties of Ozaukee (in which Cedarburg sits), Washington, and Waukesha.
To give you a sense of how Republican this area is, in both the 2000 and 2004 presidential races, these were the three most Republican counties in the state. The Republican share of the vote for each county in 2000 and 2004 respectively was:
Washington: 70% / 70%
Waukesha: 68% / 68%
Ozaukee: 68% / 66%
These three counties are also quite large in terms of how much of Wisconsin's vote they comprise. In 2004, Waukesha, Washington, and Ozaukee counties were the 3rd, 10th, and 15th largest counties in votes cast. Combined they provided about 12% of all the votes cast in the state.
Cedarburg itself is even more Republican. In 2004, President Bush received 73% while in 2000 he took home 71%. While many have suggested that there has been a "blue-ing" of many suburban areas transpiring in recent years (i.e. Northern Virginia, Montgomery County Pennsylvania, etc.) this trend has apparently not come to this part of the badger state.
Having written a lot about Wisconsin, including areas which may be trending Democratic (see here), I'd have to conclude that if the McCain campaign's goal was to rally the base, this wasn't a bad place to start. The visit will be covered throughout the Milwaukee media market, the state's largest, and will signal that--at least for now--the Republican ticket believes Wisconsin can be won.
For more indication of how competitive this area is, from the perspective of the campaigns' spending on television advertising, see this press release by the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project. During the period covered in their recent study, the Milwaukee market was the 8th largest in the country in terms of number of ads aired.
*Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel