What to Look For in the Massachusetts Special Election

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

Results are soon pending in the special election to replace Senator Ted Kennedy. Once a guaranteed Democratic victory, the race has become surprisingly competitive due to a bad national environment and a lackluster campaign run by Democrat Martha Coakley. In fact, several polls have put Republican Scott Brown in the lead, striking panic amongst the Democratic establishment.

Interpreting incomplete results can be difficult if one is not familiar with how different areas in a state vote. Senator John McCain, for instance, led the vote in Virginia during much of election night; this was because deep-red rural Virginia reported first. After Democratic strongholds in Northern Virginia began posting, Barack Obama quickly pulled away (he ultimately won by 6.30%). Because Massachusetts is rarely competitive outside of gubernatorial elections, geographic unfamiliarity probably extends to even most politically active folk.

I have therefore created a map indicating what a tied election would probably look like: More below.

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What Is This Map?

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

This map is not what you think it is. Take a moment to guess what it represents.

The answer below the fold.

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Analyzing Swing States: Pennsylvania, Part 4

This is the fourth part of an analysis of the swing state Pennsylvania. It focuses on the industrial southwest, a once deep-blue region rapidly trending Republican. Part five can be found here.

Pittsburgh and the Southwest

Pennsylvania’s southwest has much in common with West Virginia and Southeast Ohio, the northern end of Appalachia. Electoral change in the region is best understood by grouping these three areas together as a whole.

Socially conservative (the region is famously supportive of the NRA) but economically liberal, the industrial southwest voters typify white working-class Democrats. These voters can be found in unexpected places: Catholics in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, loggers along the Washington coast, rust-belt workers in Duluth, Minnesota and Buffalo, New York.

It was President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal that brought the working-class to the Democratic Party.

More below.

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Analyzing Swing States: Pennsylvania, Part 3

This is the third part of a series of posts analyzing the swing state Pennsylvania. Part four can be found here.

Philadelphia's Suburbs

There used to be a time when Republicans could count on Philadelphia's suburbs to counter Democratic margins from the city. Philadelphia, 1988:

Not anymore. Philadelphia, 2008:

NYT: Philadelphia, 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.)

Indeed, in 2008 President Barack Obama's suburban margins were so great that Democrats did not even need Philadelphia to win Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia's suburbs stretch across four counties: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery. Bucks contains more working-class, Catholic communities. Chester, on the other hand, is more exurban and conservative (in this century, Democratic presidential candidates have only incontrovertibly won the county twice - in 1964 and 2008).

More below.

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Analyzing Swing States: Pennsylvania Part 2.5

This is part of an analysis of the swing state Pennsylvania. Part three can be found here.

(A note: There will be a lot of maps in this post.)

My first post on the swing state Pennsylvania focused on the city Philadelphia, an incredibly Democratic city. At the time, I looked for detailed ward and precinct results but was unable to find any. Recently, however, I have come across a website which maps Philadelphia precinct results across a whole range of elections; it is a literal gold mine. This offers the opportunity to substantially deepen the previous analysis.

Below is a map of the 2008 presidential election in Philadelphia (by precinct!)

An analysis of this result below.

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