Analyzing Swing States: Pennsylvania, Part 2

This is the second part of a series of posts analyzing the swing state Pennsylvania. The next part can be found here.

Like Florida, and unlike Ohio, Pennsylvania's political geography can be divided into three. The industrial southwest is reddening, the populous southeast is bluing, and Pennsyltucky remains, as James Carville memorably described it, "Alabama without the blacks." (Actually, Pennsyltucky is a fair bit less conservative.)

The following section will concentrate on Philadelphia, the region upon which Democrats draw the most votes.

Philadelphia the City

Although cities always vote Democratic, different cities contain different political characteristics. Not all big cities are liberal (see Houston, Phoenix), nor are all liberal cities are big (see San Francisco, Boulder).

Fortunately for Democrats, Philadelphia is both America's sixth largest city and one in which four out of five inhabitants regularly choose the Democrat. It is, moreover, a city which has become bluer for eight straight elections.

More below.

There's more...

Analyzing Swing States: Pennsylvania, Part 1

This is the first part of a series of posts analyzing the swing state Pennsylvania. The second part can be found here.

In the dying days of his campaign John McCain mounted a quixotic attempt to win Pennsylvania. Despite his efforts, Obama cruised to a double-digit victory; from May to November 4th, only one poll showed McCain leading.

Two years previously, Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum - a Republican politician who had ambitions of becoming president - ran for re-election. A hard-line, nationally known conservative, he was overwhelmingly defeated by challenger Robert Casey.

These two instances provide a sense of Pennsylvania's political climate; the state, while not exactly liberal, naturally leans towards Democratic candidates. The average Republican must overcome a formidable Democratic machine to win Pennsylvania.

More below.

There's more...

Analyzing Swing States: Ohio, Part 4

This is the last part of a series of posts analyzing the swing state Ohio. The previous parts can be found here.

Republican Ohio

What parts of Ohio vote Republican?

All of it, of course, except for the parts that vote Democratic.

That is a pretty facetious answer to a fairly serious question, but there is something to it. Blue Ohio has a set of defined, separate characteristics. Red Ohio does too, but not to the same degree. It is far easier to describe Democratic Ohio than Republican Ohio.

The following map is a good beginning in exploring Republican Ohio. It indicates strongly partisan counties in 2008.


These are the places which most heavily supported John McCain (for those who are curious, the most Democratic counties were Cleveland, Toledo, Ohio University, and Youngstown). They are located primarily in the southwestern portion of the state, away from the Democratic "7″. Interestingly, practically none are part of Appalachia - considered Obama's weakest region in the country.

Southwest Ohio historically - and to this day remains - the most conservative part of Ohio. Geographically, it is the Republican base; even in Democratic landslides, it often will vote for the red candidate.

There is another trait the highlighted counties have in common: most are semirural and somewhat less populated. Another map, below the fold, helpfully illustrates this.

There's more...

Analyzing Swing States: Ohio, Part 3

This is the third part of a series of posts analyzing the swing state Ohio. The last part can be found here.

Like most states, Ohio contains several swing areas. Some lean Democratic; others lean Republican. A good politician will usually pick up most of these regions on his or her way to victory.

Swing Ohio

The following map provides a sense of swing Ohio.


Providing balance, the map encompasses two solid Democratic victories and two solid Republican victories. Bearing this in mind, one can readily make out the structural "7" of Ohio politics. Absent three counties, swing Ohio roughly encompasses the outer edges of Ohio's northern and eastern borders, creating a shape that resembles the number "7." Strong Democrats win these swing counties and fatten the "7." Strong Republicans do the inverse.

More below.

There's more...

Analyzing Swing States: Ohio, Part 2

This is the second part on a series analyzing the swing state Ohio. Part three can be found here.


Unlike Florida and Pennsylvania, Ohio cannot be easily divided into geographically distinct regions (although they do exist). Instead, I will be examining it through the lens of both partys' strongholds in the state.


During the late eighteenth century Ohio was a consistently Republican state, the equivalent today of North Dakota or Arizona. Democrats often came close behind - four or five points - but never quite won the state until 1912. Their stronghold lay in a ring of rural counties populated by German immigrants (a pattern that has completely disappeared today). But this was never enough to overcome Republican strength everywhere else.

It was Franklin Roosevelt who changed this pattern forever. He laid the foundations of Ohio's structural politics, which exist to this very day. Roosevelt brought in previously hostile working-class counties along the northeast section of the state. He also shifted most of Ohio's northern cities to the Democratic side - which had previously leaned Republican.

To see the effect, look below the fold.

There's more...


Advertise Blogads