by flatblade, Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:34:24 PM EST
Nothing ever stays exactly the same. Each election, states change their partisan outlook. Some move left and some move right, many stay quite far on the Democratic or Republican side.
President-elect Obama certainly used a strategy that included more states and was rewarded by winning states that hadn't been carried by a Democratic presidential candidate in years--Indiana and Virginia. However, some credit (particularly in Virginia) has to come from the "blueing" of the state. Virginia has moved rapidly towards the Democratic party.
There are several other states that are going blue. This reflects well on the future of presidential elections, as long as the current Electoral College is in force.
As far as movement toward the Democratic party goes, Ohio has certainly "gone blue". In 2006, Ohioans elected a Democratic senator and governor and added several Congressional seats. In 2008, Ohio went for Barack Obama. Why is this happening. Republicans did a poor job of governing and the state has determined that Democrats are a better answer. I think Ohio will be fickle--if Obama doesn't do a great job or if the country suffers continued economic setbacks, it would not surprise me that Ohio would take it out on Democrats, specifically the governor and Senator.
North Carolina was carried by Obama in this election, but also of significance Kay Hagan and Bev Perdue won a Senate seat and the governorship respectively. Also, in the last two elections, at least 2 Democrats have unseated US Congressmen. Hagan's win was the first by a Democrat in a Presidential election year since the 60s. So a black man won the state in the presidential vote and women won the top two statewide offices. Times they are a'changin'! It appears that the Democratic party is more popular in NC in part because they are not Republicans, but more importantly because of demographics. Many people have moved there from other states and brought more liberal, Democrat friendly politics with them. Also, more minorities are registering and voting.
New Hampshire looks like it has gone from purple to blue. After just barely going for Bush in '00 (if NH had gone to Gore, Florida would have been academic), NH did move to Kerry in '04 and easily went to Obama in '08. Also, both House members and one of the two Senators have flipped from Republican to Democrat. New Hampshire was the lone Republican holdout in solidly Democratic New England and it has now moved much closer to its neighbors in its politics.
I'll include three western states together. Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico. They all have moved towards the Democrats. Nevada easily went for Obama after going for Bush twice. The state added a Democratic Congessman. Colorado went for Obama after going for the Republican twice this decade. They have flipped both of their Senators and added three Democrats to Congress in the last two elections. New Mexico has clearly gone blue. Their entire Congressional delegation in DC will be Democrats. Gore carried New Mexico by less than 1%, Bush won in '04 by a small margin and Obama by 15%! All three states have large and growing Hispanic communities and Nevada has a growing Las Vegas metro area accounting for a large part of the Democratic surge in these states.
Virginia has really moved towards the Democrats. In the last three years they have flipped both Senate seats and three (I believe) House seats. Bush carried this state by double digits in '04 and Obama won by 5 points only four years later. Demographic changes matter greatly. Northern Virginia has added a much more moderate Democratic-leaning element and the Democratic governors--Warner and Kaine--have been successful and have increased the Democratic brand throughout the state.
Most other states have moved some towards the Democrats in the last two elections, but these have moved the most and would look like solid bets to go Democratic in a close election in the future.