Worth Noting

Blue and Red

November 09, 2008

There’s a lot of blue on the election map this year. Follow this link and select “Voting Shifts” on the left side of the page for a map showing the change in party vote across the United States.

As you can see, Obama’s margin in most states improved on Kerry’s performance in 2004. Aside from Arkansas and Louisiana, which swung more Republican in 2008 from 2004, and Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia, where the margins stayed constant, there was a nationwide shift toward the Democratic Party.

Professor Andrew Gelman of Columbia University correctly notes that this was not a redrawing of the electoral map, but a national swing. His analysis shows that after accounting for this swing in Obama’s favor, most states were within 3 points of where they were in the last presidential election, making it premature for Democrats to claim traditionally red states have realigned to the left.

Furthermore, there’s evidence that geographically, America’s still a Republican country. Obama won 864 counties, up from Kerry’s 583 four years ago, but still far short of McCain’s 2,234 counties.

History will favor Republicans in 2010—no president aside from FDR and George W. Bush has ever gained seats in his first midterm election in both houses. Since World War II, the out-party gained an average of 23 seats in the House and 2 in the Senate in a new president’s first midterm election.

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