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| | |-+  New Study on Election Trends
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Author Topic: New Study on Election Trends  (Read 2480 times)
ChipGardnerNH
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« on: May 27, 2012, 02:31:57 pm »
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This may or may not have been done before, but I came up with a new way to really study the movement of certain states over time.  I decided to look at the past 6 Presidential elections spanning from 1988-2008.  I divided the popular vote into left-leaning candidates and right-leaning candidates.  I tried to allocate third party candidates into left-leaning and right-leaning.  For the small percentage of write-in votes or none of the above (in NV), I discounted those and repercentaged the left-leaning vs. right-leaning vote.  For example, in 2008, I counted the left-leaning vote as a combination of votes for Obama, Nader, McKinney, and a couple others.  The right-leaning vote would be a combination of McCain, Barr, Baldwin, and a couple others.  I did this for every election nationally and in each state going back to 1988.  I will post my results for each state going back to 1988 along with how each state differed from the national average and my analysis of that.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2012, 02:34:15 pm »
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If you have questions about which candidates were allocated as left or right leaning, please email me at ChipGardnerNH@gmail.com.  I made one decision which some of you may find controversial.  I decided to count 1992 and 1996 Perot votes as right-leaning.  I am not suggesting that he cost Bush or Dole the election or even that he necessarily drew more from them than from Clinton, but I just see Ross Perot as being more to the right than to the left.  I guess it would be possible to redo this study without allocating Perot to either side and repercentaging.  Perhaps that would yield a different result.  I also decided to count John Hagelin as left-leaning because he's into Transcendental meditation.  However, he got such a small percentage of the vote that it doesn't matter that much.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2012, 02:41:54 pm »
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1988: Right-leaning votes (repercentaged): 53.95%
1988: Left-leaning votes: 46.05%

1992: Right-leaning votes: 56.85%
1992: Left-leaning votes: 43.15%

1996: Right-leaning votes: 49.84%
1996: Left-leaning votes: 50.16%

2000: Right-leaning votes: 48.77%
2000: Left-leaning votes: 51.23%

2004: Right-leaning votes: 51.19%
2004: Left-leaning votes: 48.81%

2008: Right-leaning votes: 46.32%
2008: Left-leaning votes: 53.68%

By allocating third party votes to either side, we see less dramatic swings across time than if we just looked at the two-party vote.  We see that in 1988 it is basically a direct reflection of the Bush-Dukakis vote (although I did allocate Ron Paul with the right and Lenora Fulani with the left).  In 1992, the right-leaning percentage actually goes up from 1988 because I chose to classify Ross Perot as a right-leaning candidate.  In 1996 and 2000, the right-leaning and left-leaning coalitions were about evenly matched.  The left-leaning percentage actually goes up from 1996 to 2000.  This shows the country may not have been ready to make a move to the right.  They were happy with the economy but some voted against the Democrats and in favor of Nader because of frustrations with Clinton.  The right-leaning percentage takes a slight uptick in 2004 partially because of a rally-around-the-flag tendency.  Then in 2008 after frustration with Bush and the Iraq War, the right-leaning coalition drops below 47%, the lowest of all 6 elections.  What is more interesting, however, is to compare each individual state against the national average.  I will do that in the posts that follow.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2012, 02:44:25 pm »
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For each state, I will compare the percentage of the vote that is right-leaning with the percentage nationally that is right-leaning.  If a state in 2008 had a right-leaning vote of 50% whereas the national right-leaning vote was 46.32%, that state would be an R+3.68.  I will use the letters R and D for right-leaning and left-leaning even though this includes third party candidates and not just Democratic and Republican votes.  After each state, I will provide an analysis and I hope others comment as well.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2012, 02:48:38 pm »
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1988: R+5.85
1992: R+2.01
1996: R+6.83
2000: R+8.5
2004: R+11.6
2008: R+14.56

We see Alabama has been in the Republican coalition since 1988 (and probably since 1984), but the true shift did not come until after Clinton or possibly even after Gore.  Perot was never that strong in the South.  Dukakis was a Northerner and Clinton a Southerner, so we actually see the state move leftward from 1988 to 1992.  However, since then it has gradually gotten more Republican, moving into double-digit territory in 2004 and 2008 when Democrats no longer had Southerners on the ticket as they had in the three elections before that.  However, Kerry and Obama underperformed there even more than Dukakis did, so the state is trending conservative but perhaps less than others in the region most notably Tennesee and Kentucky.  Democrats still have a reliable base with the African-American vote, and the state is probably less movable than some others because the base of each party is very strong.  It's just that the conservative base is larger.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2012, 03:00:41 pm »
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1988: R+8.68
1992: R+12.34
1996: R+13.35
2000: R+13.03
2004: R+11.24
2008: R+14.42

This is a state that has always been kind to third-party candidates of both sides.  The message of "don't waste your vote" probably doesn't get to voters in this remote, non-swing state.  We don't see a whole lot of movement over time.  The state also seems less affected by national trends.  The right-leaning coalition has been between 60 and 70 every single time.  The Bush-Dukakis race is the least to the right of the national average probably because Alaska is just more consistent than the country as a whole.  We do see a slight uptick in 2008 perhaps because of Palin on the GOP ticket.  Third party conservatives grossly underperformed compared to other years in 2008 as well.  This was a state where Pat Buchanan got almost 2% in 2000, much higher than nationally.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2012, 03:40:19 pm »
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1988: R+7.16
1992: R+6.42
1996: R+3.48
2000: R+3.45
2004: R+4.26
2008: R+7.92

We don't see a lot of swings in this diverse yet Republican-leaning state.  A slight uptick in 2008 compared to others years perhaps because of McCain on the ticket.  Hard to say if this state will trend Democratic in the future or not.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2012, 03:50:13 pm »
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1988: R+3.53
1992: D+10.46
1996: D+4.35
2000: R+3.79
2004: R+3.54
2008: R+13.21

This state seems to love Bill Clinton and hate Barack Obama.  In the other three races, it was between 3 and 4 points to the right of the national average.  It does raise the question whether this state is permanently in the Republican camp or if a different type of Democrat could win here again.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2012, 03:59:45 pm »
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1988: D+1.96
1992: D+3.04
1996: D+3.72
2000: D+6.13
2004: D+6.21
2008: D+8.42

A diverse state with many voting blocs, this state has not seen many swings but rather a slow but steady march to the left.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2012, 04:12:25 pm »
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1988: R+0.43
1992: R+2.92
1996: R+3.78
2000: R+3.4
2004: R+1.03
2008: D+0.72

Despite the Dole victory in 1996 being an outlier, this appears to be basically a swing state.  Looking at the two previous elections it was a little to the right of the national average in 2004 and a little to the left in 2008.  It is unclear whether Colorado is trending Democratic or if Obama just had a better ground game than Kerry.  Time will tell.  This is the first of the 2012 swing states.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2012, 04:24:50 pm »
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1988: D+0.99
1992: R+0.85
1996: D+4.54
2000: D+9.11
2004: D+6.93
2008: D+8.08

Once about as much of a swing state as you can get, Connecticut has trended Democratic post 1992.  Many Yankee Republicans probably voted for Perot in 1992 as a transition to Democratic voting.  There was a slight uptick for Republicans in 2004 possibly due to the state's proximity to New York, but it appears this state is out of reach for Republicans Presidentially except in landslide years.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2012, 04:34:15 pm »
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1988: R+2.39
1992: D+0.75
1996: D+1.77
2000: D+6.32
2004: D+5.2
2008: D+8.95

Who says VP selections don't matter?  Is it a coincidence that the Democrats did best the year Biden was on the ticket?  It looks like otherwise there has been a gradual shift to the left with a slight uptick for Republicans in 2004, as in Connecticut.  Bush overperformed in the mid-Atlantic region most likely because of September 11.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2012, 04:43:24 pm »
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1988: D+39.22
1992: D+43.18
1996: D+38.2
2000: D+39.47
2004: D+41.61
2008: D+39.76

DC always votes Democratic and is not worth the time to analyze.  On to Florida!
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2012, 04:46:20 pm »
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1988: R+7.39
1992: R+4.15
1996: R+2.05
2000: R+0.67
2004: R+1.15
2008: R+2.24

This state is consistently right-of-center and probably hasn't been left of the national average since 1976 and possibly not for awhile before that.  2000 was a bit of an outlier.  It doesn't appear to be trending Democratic.  Mitt Romney should do a little better in Florida than he does nationally, and that will probably be the case for Republican nominees for awhile.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2012, 04:53:12 pm »
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1988: R+6.27
1992: D+0.32
1996: R+4.32
2000: R+7.73
2004: R+7.36
2008: R+6.66

This state is more conservative than the country as a whole with 1992 and to a lesser degree 1996 being outliers.  It was the combination of a Southern Democrat and the fact Perot was less popular in the South.  Count on this state to be in Mitt Romney's column in November.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2012, 05:03:53 pm »
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1988: D+8.64
1992: D+5.24
1996: D+9.81
2000: D+10.53
2004: D+5.61
2008: D+19.23

This state is an easy one.  It has three factors.  It's Democratic.  It favors incumbents.  And it likes Obama.  Enough said.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2012, 05:10:34 pm »
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1988: R+9.43
1992: R+14.6
1996: R+16.18
2000: R+20.91
2004: R+18.35
2008: R+16.49

This appears to be a solid Republican state not much affected by national trends.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2012, 05:18:49 pm »
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1988: D+2.93
1992: D+5.62
1996: D+4.3
2000: D+5.6
2004: D+6.08
2008: D+9.03

This state is more liberal than the nation as a whole, but it appears to be static.  Obama overperformed in 2008, but he is from there.  If there is ever a Bush-Dukakis type race where the Republican wins nationally by 7 points and the Democratic nominee is not from Illinois, look for this state to be in play.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2012, 05:36:05 pm »
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1988: R+5.89
1992: R+6.24
1996: R+8.55
2000: R+9.37
2004: R+9.49
2008: R+3.7

A little known fact I learned from doing this project was the Bob Barr actually cost John McCain the state of Indiana.  Well, not exactly, I can't assume every Barr voter would have voted for McCain, but mathematically he did.  It looks like this state was every so gradually trending to the right prior to 2008.  It's tough to predict where things will go from here.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2012, 05:38:07 pm »
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1988: D+9.13
1992: D+0.52
1996: D+1.03
2000: R+0.22
2004: D+0.96
2008: D+1.14

The Dukakis race being an outlier because of the farm crisis (Mondale did well comparatively here too), this state is a swing state with a very slight liberal bent.  2000 is the exception to this.  Perhaps Clinton fatigue was stronger here than in more socially liberal states?  From looking at the numbers, this may not be the easiest of the swing states for Mitt Romney to take.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2012, 05:39:22 pm »
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I had another thought on Indiana.  It looks like the Quayle VP selection didn't help.  The state actually got more Republican from 1992-1996 despite Quayle no longer being on the ticket.  I will calculate 1984 to see how that compares.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2012, 05:48:26 pm »
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The national average in 1984 was 59.04% right-leaning (58.77 of that being Reagan) and 40.96 left-leaning.  Indiana the number was 62.32%, making Indiana an R+3.28, so it's been steadily trending Republican and perhaps the Quayle selection helped very very slightly in 1988.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2012, 05:56:50 pm »
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1988: R+3.11
1992: R+9.4
1996: R+13.84
2000: R+10.49
2004: R+11.4
2008: R+11.17

Dukakis overperformed for a Democrat in rural areas while underperforming in suburbs.  Dole overperformed in 1996 because he was Bob Dole.  Since then, Kansas can be counted on to be 10 points or better more conservative than the nation as a whole.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2012, 06:04:23 pm »
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1988: R+2.08
1992: D+1.48
1996: R+4.16
2000: R+8.26
2004: R+8.63
2008: R+11.67

A lot of Southern states trended left in 1992 because Clinton was a Southerner and Perot didn't perform that well in the South, but other than that Kentucky is to the right of the country as a whole.  Obama probably did a little worse than Democrats may do in the future.  I think the two Bush elections are pretty reflective of where Kentucky is.  Having Al Gore from the next state over vs. having John Kerry made little impact as the 2000 and 2004 numbers were virtually the same.
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William Gordon Gardner
ChipGardnerNH
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« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2012, 06:18:53 pm »
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1988: R+1.71
1992: D+2.73
1996: D+2.38
2000: R+5.07
2004: R+5.99
2008: R+12.86

A swing state through the Clinton years, a Republican state during the Bush 43 years, an incredibly Republican state post-Katrina.
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William Gordon Gardner
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