All State Voting Trends Since 1976
by Chris Bowers, Sat May 29, 2004 at 01:19:05 AM EDT
The partisan index shows the relative standing of Democrats and Republicans in a given state by comparing the state popular vote of the two parties with the national popular vote of the two parties. For example, in New Jersey in 1992, Clinton won with 42.954% to Bush's 40.581%. However, in 1992 the partisan index favored the GOP by 3.2, since nationally Clinton had 43.007% of the vote and Bush had 37.448%.
1992 NJ DNC 43.007-42.954 = 0.053 GOP 40.581-37.448 = 3.133 Total 3.186 (3.2)
In theory, this means that Clinton would have won the state had he only won the national vote by 3.2, but lost it if he won by 3.1. In reality, local organization and targeting play a small, unquantifiable, but noticeable role in the partisan index. Further, for most candidates, being a "favorite son" makes a large impact on the race. Also, as a candidate rises of falls in the national polls, s/he does not do so across the board, evenly in all states.
While the primary use of this chart will be to better understand this election, it also has clear historical uses, and even goes a long way to answering some common questions. For example, I think it shows that broad trends are more powerful than local targeting. Also, I think the chart conclusively shows that Perot did not cost Bush the 1992 election. Considering that Bush lost nationally by 5.56%, where does he find the necessary 102 electoral votes? Colorado, Georgia, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Tennessee and maybe Kentucky are the only states it appears Perot may have handed to Clinton. Taken together, they are not even half of what Bush needed, as the final total would have been 319-219 instead of 370-168 (for a more detailed discussion on this matter, click here). In the other direction, Perot almost cost Clinton Connecticut and Ohio.
There will be a permanent link to this chart soon in a "Presidency 2004" section that will include lots of other goodies. There is some cool stuff happening at MyDD.