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Author Topic: Why are Republicans so much stronger/Democrats weaker at the state level?  (Read 1118 times)
Skill and Chance
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« on: November 02, 2013, 05:28:39 pm »
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Here is a map of partisan control of the 50 state governments.  Green indicates split control (anything that is not an R or D trifecta).  I have given VA split control in light of Northam's certain LG win and McAuliffe's likely Gov win.



I have given VA split control in light of Northam's certain LG win and McAuliffe's likely Gov win.  Republicans fully control 5 states that voted for Obama twice and 3 states that have not voted Republican for president since 1988.  Yet Democrats only control WV among the 24 Romney states.  And you pretty much only get full Democratic control at the 60% Obama level presidentially.  Do Republicans systematically care more about state level governments?  Is it all about gerrymandering?  Democrats do seem to be systematically better at electing governors than at state legislative control...
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2013, 05:37:23 pm »
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Republicans have apparently decided that given the nationwide demographic trends moving against them, the House would be their best bulwark against what they perceive as a siege.  And to ensure their control of the House, they invested resources in taking over state legislatures and governors' mansions, particularly in the South and Midwest where Democrats have (of late) proven weakest, thereby controlling redistricting.  
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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2013, 06:05:21 pm »
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1. Most governors run in off-year elections with lower turnout.

2. There are fewer restrictions of campaign finance at the state level than at the federal level, making it easier for outside groups to flood races with money.

3. The current districts were drawn very favorably to Republicans in most states due to them controlling the redistricting process in most states following the 2010 elections.
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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2013, 06:14:45 pm »
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2010. It also gave them the chance to draw very favourable maps for the next 10 years.
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2013, 06:19:20 pm »
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2010. It also gave them the chance to draw very favourable maps for the next 10 years.

This is pretty much the answer, but I think republicans overall are trusted a little better at the local level.
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2013, 06:22:22 pm »
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2010 was an unusual election, where it was 10 percent unemployment. In 2014 we have some favorable pickups, for sure in Fl and PA.  The balance of power will shift some in 2014.
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Miles
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2013, 06:32:12 pm »
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This and this.
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2013, 07:34:48 pm »
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2010, also the Democratic states that Republicans control are only Lean D at most. The Republicans control no legislative chambers in states above D+4, except the WA and NY State Senates due to Democratic defectors.
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2013, 07:42:11 pm »
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2010. It also gave them the chance to draw very favourable maps for the next 10 years.

This is pretty much the answer, but I think republicans overall are trusted a little better at the local level.

I think it's more that people who self-identify as Republicans are more "loyal" to their party than people who self-identify as Democrats.

There are Republicans in places like Vermont and New York who will dutifully tick off all the R boxes up and down the ticket even if they quietly murmur that some of them may be a tad too conservative. There are so-called "Democrats" in Oklahoma and Kentucky who will vote in primaries like clockwork but refuse to vote for any Democrats at any level in general elections because they "lost their way" or "ain't the party of the workin' man no more."
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2013, 07:45:01 pm »
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I. A lot of governorship elections take place in off-year. The last time was 2010 when Democrats got wiped out.

II. Republicans took control of a lot of state legislatures in 2010 right before redistricting, so they were able to draw maps that give them a majority of the seats in the legislatures even if they lost the popular vote in 2012.
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2013, 07:49:41 pm »
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2010. It also gave them the chance to draw very favourable maps for the next 10 years.

This is pretty much the answer, but I think republicans overall are trusted a little better at the local level.

I think it's more that people who self-identify as Republicans are more "loyal" to their party than people who self-identify as Democrats.

There are Republicans in places like Vermont and New York who will dutifully tick off all the R boxes up and down the ticket even if they quietly murmur that some of them may be a tad too conservative. There are so-called "Democrats" in Oklahoma and Kentucky who will vote in primaries like clockwork but refuse to vote for any Democrats at any level in general elections because they "lost their way" or "ain't the party of the workin' man no more."

Yes, but there are also many republicans in New England who voted for Obama. You can argue republicans are more loyal, but New England at the state level certainly proves there are many republicans who vote for democrats at the federal level because the party became too far right. Each region of the country will always have voters that will vote straight ticket republican and democrat, and each region of the country has those voters who vote opposite of their own local party.
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2013, 07:51:49 pm »
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Because the kind of people that vote Republican on a state level are the kind of people who always vote and never drop off in off-years. They're basically loyal soldiers.

Democratic voters on the other hand...
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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2013, 07:54:21 pm »
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As bad as that 63 seat loss in the House in 2010 was, it was't as bad as the epic disaster at the state level, leading to insane pro-Republican gerrymandering for the next decade.
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2013, 07:57:45 pm »
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As bad as that 63 seat loss in the House in 2010 was, it was't as bad as the epic disaster at the state level, leading to insane pro-Republican gerrymandering for the next decade.

Or possibly worse in the case if North Carolina.
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« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2013, 10:47:53 pm »
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As bad as that 63 seat loss in the House in 2010 was, it was't as bad as the epic disaster at the state level, leading to insane pro-Republican gerrymandering for the next decade.

Or possibly worse in the case if North Carolina.

NC, MN and AL were the worst in terms of strong D majorities flipping R.
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« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2013, 12:29:20 am »
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Gerrymandering and gains the GOP made in 2010 are part of the reason, but the more important factor is structural: Democratic voters these days tend to be clumped together into urban areas, while Republican voters tend to be more efficiently distributed throughout rural, exurban and suburban areas. This doesn't make a difference in statewide races (a vote is a vote no matter where it's from) but it does matter when it comes to electing state legislatures.

Democrats have two options if they want to address this. They can either 1) maintain and expand the electoral coalition to bring in more of these voters or 2) end the practice of electing state legislatures based on geography. The first one seems much easier.

Also, the "Democrats only control 1 of the 24 Romney states" fact is a little misleading. Many of those Romney states have very small populations. Someone should tally up the total population of states with a Democratic trifecta vs. states with a Republican trifecta.
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Skill and Chance
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« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2013, 02:03:13 am »
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Gerrymandering and gains the GOP made in 2010 are part of the reason, but the more important factor is structural: Democratic voters these days tend to be clumped together into urban areas, while Republican voters tend to be more efficiently distributed throughout rural, exurban and suburban areas. This doesn't make a difference in statewide races (a vote is a vote no matter where it's from) but it does matter when it comes to electing state legislatures.

Democrats have two options if they want to address this. They can either 1) maintain and expand the electoral coalition to bring in more of these voters or 2) end the practice of electing state legislatures based on geography. The first one seems much easier.

Also, the "Democrats only control 1 of the 24 Romney states" fact is a little misleading. Many of those Romney states have very small populations. Someone should tally up the total population of states with a Democratic trifecta vs. states with a Republican trifecta.

The small/large state thing is much less of an issue now than it was 10-20 years ago.  D's have New England just about locked down and are taking over NM, NV and CO.  A tied presidential election would yield 26R/24D in the states now (with the D winning VA by only a couple hundred votes).  Compare that to a tied 2000 PV, where the states would have split 33R/17D (Bush wins OR and everything right of it).  2004 would have been 28R/22D in a tie.  2008 would have been 27R/23D.  And 2012 would be 26R/24D.  Democrats are getting better at winning states in recent years. 
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« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2013, 05:28:50 am »
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It's really quite simple I'd say. The state level electorate looks different from the national one (particularly in presidential election cycles). Republican core voters (i.e. older whites) will always turn out, no matter what election we are talking about. Democratic core voters (i.e. younger voters and minorities) have a far poorer turnout record when there's a big name missing atop the ballot.
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Meeker
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« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2013, 08:52:55 am »
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Gerrymandering and gains the GOP made in 2010 are part of the reason, but the more important factor is structural: Democratic voters these days tend to be clumped together into urban areas, while Republican voters tend to be more efficiently distributed throughout rural, exurban and suburban areas. This doesn't make a difference in statewide races (a vote is a vote no matter where it's from) but it does matter when it comes to electing state legislatures.

Democrats have two options if they want to address this. They can either 1) maintain and expand the electoral coalition to bring in more of these voters or 2) end the practice of electing state legislatures based on geography. The first one seems much easier.

Also, the "Democrats only control 1 of the 24 Romney states" fact is a little misleading. Many of those Romney states have very small populations. Someone should tally up the total population of states with a Democratic trifecta vs. states with a Republican trifecta.

The small/large state thing is much less of an issue now than it was 10-20 years ago.  D's have New England just about locked down and are taking over NM, NV and CO.  A tied presidential election would yield 26R/24D in the states now (with the D winning VA by only a couple hundred votes).  Compare that to a tied 2000 PV, where the states would have split 33R/17D (Bush wins OR and everything right of it).  2004 would have been 28R/22D in a tie.  2008 would have been 27R/23D.  And 2012 would be 26R/24D.  Democrats are getting better at winning states in recent years. 

Ok, but that's more a coincidence of how demographic trends are moving in smaller states, not some sort of improved ability at winning elections by the Democratic Party. And even if the imbalance isn't as great as it used to be, it's still present, which was my point. We should get as much "credit" for having a trifecta in California as they get for having trifectas in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma, Utah and Idaho.
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« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2013, 09:01:40 am »
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I'd agree that you're still looking at the ramifications of the 2010 election. If I'm not mistaken, the map just prior to that election looked something like this (looking strictly at partisan control of governorships and state legislatures; not taking supermajorities into account):



Other than the Midwest, I think it's apparent that 2010 began a realignment towards a more partisan and straight-ticket voting habit. Both parties seem to have really started to lock down their bases.
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« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2013, 09:19:29 am »
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I think after 2014, we will go back to norm of divided control of state legislatures.
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Skill and Chance
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« Reply #21 on: November 03, 2013, 04:34:44 pm »
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Gerrymandering and gains the GOP made in 2010 are part of the reason, but the more important factor is structural: Democratic voters these days tend to be clumped together into urban areas, while Republican voters tend to be more efficiently distributed throughout rural, exurban and suburban areas. This doesn't make a difference in statewide races (a vote is a vote no matter where it's from) but it does matter when it comes to electing state legislatures.

Democrats have two options if they want to address this. They can either 1) maintain and expand the electoral coalition to bring in more of these voters or 2) end the practice of electing state legislatures based on geography. The first one seems much easier.

Also, the "Democrats only control 1 of the 24 Romney states" fact is a little misleading. Many of those Romney states have very small populations. Someone should tally up the total population of states with a Democratic trifecta vs. states with a Republican trifecta.

The small/large state thing is much less of an issue now than it was 10-20 years ago.  D's have New England just about locked down and are taking over NM, NV and CO.  A tied presidential election would yield 26R/24D in the states now (with the D winning VA by only a couple hundred votes).  Compare that to a tied 2000 PV, where the states would have split 33R/17D (Bush wins OR and everything right of it).  2004 would have been 28R/22D in a tie.  2008 would have been 27R/23D.  And 2012 would be 26R/24D.  Democrats are getting better at winning states in recent years. 

Ok, but that's more a coincidence of how demographic trends are moving in smaller states, not some sort of improved ability at winning elections by the Democratic Party. And even if the imbalance isn't as great as it used to be, it's still present, which was my point. We should get as much "credit" for having a trifecta in California as they get for having trifectas in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma, Utah and Idaho.

It's more significant than you think.  Democrats have not held the advantage of winning more states in a tie since FDR.  They could very well do that circa 2016/2020 if FL and NC keep moving their way.
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« Reply #22 on: November 03, 2013, 05:56:05 pm »
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Gerrymandering and gains the GOP made in 2010 are part of the reason, but the more important factor is structural: Democratic voters these days tend to be clumped together into urban areas, while Republican voters tend to be more efficiently distributed throughout rural, exurban and suburban areas. This doesn't make a difference in statewide races (a vote is a vote no matter where it's from) but it does matter when it comes to electing state legislatures.

Democrats have two options if they want to address this. They can either 1) maintain and expand the electoral coalition to bring in more of these voters or 2) end the practice of electing state legislatures based on geography. The first one seems much easier.

Also, the "Democrats only control 1 of the 24 Romney states" fact is a little misleading. Many of those Romney states have very small populations. Someone should tally up the total population of states with a Democratic trifecta vs. states with a Republican trifecta.

The small/large state thing is much less of an issue now than it was 10-20 years ago.  D's have New England just about locked down and are taking over NM, NV and CO.  A tied presidential election would yield 26R/24D in the states now (with the D winning VA by only a couple hundred votes).  Compare that to a tied 2000 PV, where the states would have split 33R/17D (Bush wins OR and everything right of it).  2004 would have been 28R/22D in a tie.  2008 would have been 27R/23D.  And 2012 would be 26R/24D.  Democrats are getting better at winning states in recent years. 

Ok, but that's more a coincidence of how demographic trends are moving in smaller states, not some sort of improved ability at winning elections by the Democratic Party. And even if the imbalance isn't as great as it used to be, it's still present, which was my point. We should get as much "credit" for having a trifecta in California as they get for having trifectas in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma, Utah and Idaho.

It's more significant than you think.  Democrats have not held the advantage of winning more states in a tie since FDR.  They could very well do that circa 2016/2020 if FL and NC keep moving their way.

I don't really see any practical significance to that, but ok.
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« Reply #23 on: November 03, 2013, 11:57:07 pm »
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democratic vote is more concentrated so republicans can win more state house and senate seats while losing the overall vote.

also, off-year elections skew older, which favors republicans.

unfortunately for republicans there are lots of states where democrats can literally win the state in a Presidential election by only winning a single county (Nevada, Illinois, Washington) and a lot of other states where it's possible for democrats to win while only winning < 20% of the counties (New York, Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, etc.).
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« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2013, 08:27:31 am »
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because were lucky, virginia governor polls closing in the final days (that is luck)
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the birth of modern america & onward election Frederick Douglas becomes the 1st African American president of the united states when he wins election to the office in 1892 only 30 years after the height of slavery in the United States. He narrowly wins reelection in 1896 against William Jennings Bryan. Douglas runs again in 1900 and even indicated his interest in a 4th run in 1904 but Grover Cleveland wins the 1900 election.
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