Part 1: Popular Voting in Aggregate
Part 2: Gender and Race
Part 3: Age and Religion
Part 4: Regional and Population Size
In this part of the series I'll analyze and present the data by Region and Population size. I've also pulled additional data to add to the exit poll data which will show map-based views of trends for the regions and population sizes.
I'll start with Population size. The data is broken down by the following groupings and their % of the electorate:
There are some interesting shifts in the trending. Although only 11% of the population, the voters in the Greater than 500K are no doubt easily targeted with the media stations and mass gathering opportunities. Its interesting how Bush in 2004 closed the gap by 10%, which was reversed in 2008. Democrats have a clear advantage and history with urban voters. Republicans need to reverse the downward trend among these voters.
Since 1988, Democrats have won the voters in the 50K to 500K range by 10-15%. The one exception again is Bush in 2004 closing the gap to a tie at 49%. Barack reversed that in 2008 and won it by 20%! That is a huge swing. Again, there is another downward trend in this range that needs to be reversed.
Conversely, looking at the voters in the 10K to 50K range, it was Bush who dropped 10% here in 2004 from 2000. McCain was only able to expand the Republicans share from 50% to 53%. Definitely not enough to make up for the drop in the 50-500K range. Republican numbers have actually been climbing in this range but at only 7% it is a diamond in the rough.
The Rural voters have gone Republican in every year since 1988, with the data we have. We edged Clinton in 1992 and 1996 by 1 & 2 percentage points. This likely due to his gains in Appalachia and the Mississippi valley in those years. Bush won this range by 18% and 20%, whereas McCain only won it by 8%. Clearly he was unable to capitalize on the "Bitter so they cling to guns & religion" gaffe by Obama.
With the Suburbs voter totalling 49% in 2008, this is obviously a pivotal group. Looking at the plotlines, ever victor since 1980 has won a larger % of the suburban vote. Suburban migration from the more liberal inner cities can attribute for some of the losses as we've declined from 55% in 1980 to 48%. But look at the swing from 1988 to 1992. Clinton clearly shifted the suburban electorate. His gains, or Bush's losses in 1992, among Independents is an identifiable swing. Bush recovered in 2000 and 2004 with 2% and 5% margins respectively. His gains in key suburbs of Cincinnati, Tampa, and St. Louis were big reasons why he won those toss up states. McCain's drop-off in key suburbs is part of the reason why he lost OH, FL, VA, NC, and IN. Clearly this is a key voting block for Republican success.Looking at a Map of how the counties have changed since 1960 reiterates the data.
The Regions were broken down into the following 4 areas with their % of the electorate:
Once the most populous area, the Northeast has been continuing to shrink in population and at the same time become more Democratic. There is a clear drop-off of Republican preference since the Clinton years. The Northeast is a core region for the Democrats. Not only at a Presidential level, but in Congress as well. When Congress resumes in 2009, there will not be a single Republican House member from New England. Neither party can ignore an entire region of the country and be successful. Republican need to invest in favorable parts of the Northeast for House Seats, Governorships, and eventually Electoral Votes. Places like New Hampshire with its strong Libertarian beliefs plays nicely with Conservative economic principles, true principles not the practices of the recent years. Maine has been trending more Republican in past years with a more rural population. Western New York is more conservative as is Western Pennsylvania. A surprise is that New Jersey has also been trending more Republican. The question for Presidential elections is whether that manifests itself into Electoral Votes.
The Midwest is a broad and diverse region and always in contention. With aging Manufacturing in the east, farming plains in the west, and heavy population center in the middle, there are sub-regions within the Midwest that cannot be accounted for in aggregate. The victors in ever election since 1972 has won this region by popular vote. Clinton's Mississippi River and Appalachian strategies in the Midwest were keys to his victories. Obama capitalized on the heavy union voters, collapsing manufacturing, and his home turf in Chicago to turn a 10% margin of victory, the largest since Reagan in 1984. Ohio and Missouri are probably the the 2 most hotly contested states in recent elections. Both are clearly transitioning economies. Republicans need to regain the losses in OH, MO, IN, IA, WI, and MN. They also need to look for House seats in key conservative areas such as the Bible belt in southern IL and IN, central MN, northern MI, and across OH.
Since the FDR years, the South has been turning away from the Democratic party. It wasn't until Nixon, that it was solidified as core Republican country. Other than Carter in '76, Republicans have won a larger percentage of the southern vote in every election. Clinton obviously made a large dent along the Mississippi valley in AR, LA, and TN. Ironically, these same 3 states have trended more Republican in 2008 than any other in the nation. Republicans are losing their grip on the South as a whole as the demographics change in VA, NC, GA, and FL. Florida has long been a wild-card. Dominated at the state level by Republicans, in Federal elections the Democratic Jewish and minority voters come out. Georgia has been trending more Republican until 2008, when Barack reversed this trend with very high Black voter turnout in the Atlanta area. It was shocking to see Virginia and North Carolina go Democrat in 2008, but it shouldn't have been!! The Washington D.C. suburbs, possibly the most liberal per capita, continues to expand into east VA and finally out-numbered the western Appalachian and southern military voters. North Carolina is a matter of immigration also. The boom of the Research Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill) has brought in many more-liberal oriented northerners. Add in the fact that this growth is happening on top of three major universities (UNC, NC State, and Duke) and you have a recipe for disaster for Republicans. Republican obviously need to hold onto core deep south states and reverse the trends towards Democrats GA, VA, and NC.
If the Midwest has been the battleground region of the past, the West is the future. An odd mix of the mountains, the coasts, and the deserts; it is the "new frontier" by Democrats. Bush established a firm hold of the mountain region in 2000 and 2004. However, pockets of Democrats have sprung up that are challenging the norm. We saw Colorado go this year. Did you know that McCain won Montana by only 2.5%? With 2 sitting Senators, Montana may be the next Democrat swing. Its amazing to think that George H.W. Bush won CA, and Reagan swept the PacNW by +10%. The often referred to "Left Coast" is clearly along with New England the base of the Democrat party. The southwest is where we may see big changes. The 3 fastest growing states in the U.S. are NV, AZ, and NM. Don't assume it is all Hispanic voters either. However, there is a heavy concentration of Hispanics in this area and as I discussed in Part 2, they are a make or break demographic for Republicans in the future. Republicans need to focus on changing their game in the desert areas, look for opportunities in the coastal regions, and hold majorities in the mountains. While it would be difficult to turn a state like CA in presidential elections, near-term, there are House and Governorship opportunities. The key is to stop or reverse the trend towards Democrats in the West.
Historical Map Trends:
Here are the trends by state for 2000, 2004, and 2008. Its interesting to see a state like Ohio which went Republican in 2004, has trended more Republican since, but went for Barack because of higher turnout in 2008.
From 1936 to 1956 you can see the Republican party grow from a New England base to a dominant party except in the south.
From 1956 to 1964 you can see the Democratic party grow from a southern party, expand in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest, and ultimately reverse map of 1956. Fascinating!
From 1964 to 1972 you can see the southern backlash against Democrats, a Balkanized party holding on to the mid-Atlantic and islands of support, to a Nixon supermajority opposed to attempted move to the left by the Democrats.
From 1972 to 1988 you can see a brief resurgence among Democrats in the south and Appalachia for Carter but otherwise a period of Republican electoral dominance. 1988 concludes with Democrats holding only the seeds of their new base, PacNW, Upper Midwest, and New England.
From 1988 to 1996 you can see the true impact of Clinton finally uniting the Democratic party. Turning the seeds of the West coast, upper Midwest, and New England into corner posts for expansions in Appalachia, the Mississippi River Valley, and signs of the future in the West.
From 1996 to 2004 you can see the Democrats being driven back to their corners. Republicans capturing the West solidly, reclaiming the entire South, Appalachia and eastern Midwest.
The effects and shifts from 2004 to 2008 are unclear. We don't know if Republicans will be a deep south, mountain west, plains of the Midwest party. We don't know if gains in the northern south are permanent shifts. We don't know if Democrats will own the eastern Midwest long term. We don't know if Republicans can reverse the Western loses. What we do know is that our Electoral Strategy is going to have to change to avoid regionalized pigeon-holing brought on by exclusionary approaches to our positions.Key Takeaways:
- Reverse the declining numbers in urban areas
- Avoid heavy swings among population groups
- Continue to grow in the 10K-50K population range
- Dominate the Rural vote more heavily
- Own the Suburban vote, it is key to victory across the board
- Look for in-roads back in the Northeast, we cannot write-off New England
- Target key Midwestern states in flux
- Hold the core south. Reverse trends in VA, NC, FL, and GA.
- Look West! Recapture the West. 2010 means new Electoral shifts to this area. Its growing in importance in EV numbers.
- Identify states that we have won recently but are trending Democrat and invest (MT, GA, etc.)
- Identify states we've lost but are trending Republican (MN, PA, NJ, OH, etc.)
- Learn from the macro-view of the regional shifts from the past. Don't just rely on strengths in states because that is all you'll be left with.
coming soon... Part 5: Education and Income
Signing off...JCBSphere: Related Content