Maps of Ohio Elections

A few maps of Ohio’s presidential elections are posted/linked below, for your enjoyment. Each map comes with some brief analysis.

Ohio, 2008 Presidential Election

(Note: Because the Times stopped updating before all absentee/provisional ballots were counted, this map does not fully reflect the actual results. I have corrected the discrepancy.)

Senator Barack Obama wins Ohio by 4.6%, a solid but unimpressive victory. Mr. Obama performs poorly in traditional Democratic areas – the northeast and even Cleveland – but offsets this with unique strength in Columbus and Cincinnati. Senator McCain runs strongly in the Republican base.

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Ohio, 2004 Presidential Election

President George W. Bush wins Ohio by a close but decisive margin. Senator John Kerry does extremely well – winning Columbus and Cleveland by what his campaign wants – but Mr. Bush’s exurban strength famously overwhelms this strength. Nevertheless, Ohio votes more Democratic than the nation, the first time since 1972.

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Ohio, 2000 Presidential Election

Vice President Al Gore gives up Ohio before election-day; Governor George W. Bush wins the state by 3.5%. Perhaps, campaign strategists later muse, they should not have abandoned the state.

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Ohio, 1996 Presidential Election

Incumbent Bill Clinton cruises to a comfortable victory – the best Democratic performance since LBJ (and before that, FDR). The former Arkansas governor runs strong in the industrial northeast and the Appalachian southwest, while severely undercutting Senator Bob Dole’s margins in Republican territory. It’s a classic Democratic victory.

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Ohio, 1992 Presidential Election

It’s an exact replica of the 1996 map – except this time the Democratic strongholds are a bit less blue, the Republican strongholds a bit more red, and Ross Perot is running strong. Governor Clinton wins by a mere 1.8%.

 

 

Exploring the Most Republican Place in America: Part 2

This is the second part of two posts analyzing the Texas panhandle, a rock-hard Republican stronghold. It will focus upon two quite unique counties.

Texas, 2008.

Strange Counties

Two counties are labeled in the above map: Cottle County and King County. This is the case because the two are the sites of several unique and quite inexplicable voting patterns. One example: although the counties are located beside each other, their two patterns can be characterized as polar opposites.

Demographically, however, Cottle and King could not be more similar. Both are extremely thinly populated (King County contains less than 500 hundred residents) and fairly poor. These places literally define the saying “in the middle of nowhere.” In 2008, both Cottle and King were similarly favorable to Republicans: Cottle gave Senator John McCain 72.20% of the vote, while King – well, I’ll get to King in a moment.

Things weren’t always this way, however. For a long, long time Cottle County constituted a bastion of Democratic strength in the middle of nowhere. This was all the more remarkable given its deep-red neighbors compared to the sheer stubborn determination of one Cottle County to vote Democratic. In election after election, as Democrat after Democrat was broken in Texas (and sometimes the nation as well), this little county reliably ended up in the blue county. Most remarkably, the county voted (by a margin numbering less than one percent) for Senator George McGovern, a Democratic candidate so weak that not a single county voted Democratic in 20 states that year. Mr. McGovern was adept at losting Democratic strongholds, many in far more liberal territory than the Texas panhandle – and yet Cottle County still went blue in 1972. In fact, when Cottle County voted for Governor George W. Bush in 2000, this constituted its first time ever voting Republican.

If Cottle County epitomized Democratic strength, King County represents the pillar of modern-day Republicanism. In 2008, it constituted the single most Republican county in the nation; 92.64% cast the ballot for Senator John McCain, 4.91% for President Barack Obama. CNN even ran story about King County’s love affair with Republicans, which mainly seems based upon evangelical faith and traditional small-town conservatism.

In and of itself this is not so strange; the puzzling part comes when one looks to the 2008 Democratic primary. A total of 27 people named one Barack Obama as their choice – yet on November 4th only 8 did so. This means that at least 19 people were motivated enough to endorse Mr. Obama in March and then changed their minds or sat out the election. More cynically, one might read this as a calculated endorsement designed to wreak havoc upon the opposing party – but then why vote for Mr. Obama, when supporting Senator Hillary Clinton would prolong Democratic suffering?

The Panhandle and the Future of Texas Politics

Today, the voters in the Texas panhandle are quite hostile to liberalism in general. They may have supported Democrats in the past, but they will most likely not do so in the forseeable future (and if the Demcoratic Party changes enough to naturally appeal to small-town conservatives in the Texas panhandle, it probably ought to change its name to “Republican.”)

The Texas panhandle may be interesting for analysis, but the future of both parties does not lie there. In total, only two percent of the state’s population resides in the panhandle. Rather, the heart of Texas lies about the great metropolitan areas surrounding its cities – Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. There Democrats are rising, but Republicans still are dominant – the opposite situation from half-a-century ago.

 

 

Exploring the Most Republican Place in America: Part 1

This is the first part of two posts examining the Texas panhandle, a rock-hard Republican stronghold. I initially posted this as one entry, but I decided the second part needed a bit more work. The second part can be found here.

The Panhandle

In the Texas panhandle and the empty plains surrounding it, Democrats go to die. There is no place in the country more Republican than this rural region, where conservatism is ingrained bone-deep and from birth. Not even the most Mormon stretches of Utah, or whitest areas of the Deep South, exceed the Republicanism of this part of Texas.

Few political strategists have thought about these places as more than deep-red fly-over territory. If a region votes more than 80% Republican and looks set to continue in that pattern for as long one can forsee, one might think that there is generally little to write about.

In fact, in the vast emptiness of the Texas prairie there are a number of interesting patterns – some of which are quite strange to behold.

Yellow-dog Democrats

Believe it or not, much of the most Republican place in the nation used to be Democratic territory, voting for the blue candidate even when the rest of America did not. Now, of course, the same could be said for the entire American South, which routinely gave badly losing Democratic presidential candidates over 70% (and often 90%) of the vote. Texas was no exception to this rule; President Truman lost a grand total of eight counties during the 1948 election, for instance.

The difference with the Texas panhandle, however, was that parts of it continued to vote Democratic even as the Solid South collapsed. In 1956, for instance, President Dwight Eisenhower won re-election by a solid 15.40% and cracked the South. One such crack included Texas, which Mr. Eisenhower won by 11.28%. Mr. Eisenhower carried the state backed mainly by its Republican-leaning cities (an oxymoron nowadays), while much of rural Texas voted for Democrat Adlai Stevenson. This included almost the entire panhandle:

This Democratic-leaning trend continued for some time, even after the 1964 realignment of the South. The panhandle cast a strong ballot for Senator Hubert Humphrey and President Jimmy Carter (both times), while a number of counties voted to Governor Dukakis and even hapless Senator Walter Mondale. As late as 1996, when President Bill Clinton lost Texas by 4.93%, there still remained a flicker of yellow-dog Democratic strength:

It was one President George W. Bush who finally crushed this Democratic tradition; since his time, the panhandle has begun voting uniformly Republican. But for all its current love of Republicans, it must be noted that this phenomenon is relatively recent – although long in coming.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

 

Analyzing Swing States: Virginia, Part 1

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

During the ’08 campaign, the political beltway famously defined Virginia as a Republican stronghold gone Democratic. For ten straight presidential elections, the state had reliably turned up in the Republican column. President Barack Obama, however, promised to change that – and he did.

Virginia indeed is becoming bluer – but not as much as one might think. The state moved Republican sooner than the rest of the South, but never became as deep red as places like Alabama. The actual trend from ’04 to ’08 is less prominent than one might think:

I think this in fact slightly understates Republican strength. Mr. Obama, after all, fit extremely well with Virginia’s Democratic base – blacks and rich NoVa residents. He might have overperformed. In many ways, Virginia still constitutes a purple state, perhaps even a red-leaning one. Democrats must run competent candidates and/or do this in favorable national environments; if both conditions are missing, they may get pummeled ala Creigh Deeds.

This may change in the future. As its wealthy, diverse, and Democratic-leaning NoVa suburbs continue growing; Virginia may soon become more Democratic than even Pennsylvania. This trend was much noted in 2008.

What is less noted is the degree to which the media has overstated this change. These demographic shifts are the work of decades, not one election; they occur very gradually. Moreover, even as bluing NoVa expands, Virginia’s western regions continue to redden – especially the once Democratic-leaning panhandle. This blunts the NoVa effect. Virginia may be turning Democratic, but Democrats should not underestimate continued Republican strength.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

Analyzing Swing States: Virginia, Part 1

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

During the ’08 campaign, the political beltway famously defined Virginia as a Republican stronghold gone Democratic. For ten straight presidential elections, the state had reliably turned up in the Republican column. President Barack Obama, however, promised to change that – and he did.

Virginia indeed is becoming bluer – but not as much as one might think. The state moved Republican sooner than the rest of the South, but never became as deep red as places like Alabama. The actual trend from ’04 to ’08 is less prominent than one might think:

I think this in fact slightly understates Republican strength. Mr. Obama, after all, fit extremely well with Virginia’s Democratic base – blacks and rich NoVa residents. He might have overperformed. In many ways, Virginia still constitutes a purple state, perhaps even a red-leaning one. Democrats must run competent candidates and/or do this in favorable national environments; if both conditions are missing, they may get pummeled ala Creigh Deeds.

This may change in the future. As its wealthy, diverse, and Democratic-leaning NoVa suburbs continue growing; Virginia may soon become more Democratic than even Pennsylvania. This trend was much noted in 2008.

What is less noted is the degree to which the media has overstated this change. These demographic shifts are the work of decades, not one election; they occur very gradually. Moreover, even as bluing NoVa expands, Virginia’s western regions continue to redden – especially the once Democratic-leaning panhandle. This blunts the NoVa effect. Virginia may be turning Democratic, but Democrats should not underestimate continued Republican strength.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

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