Lincoln County, Washington

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Lincoln County, Washington
Image:WA_Lincoln.png

Lincoln County is a county in the state of Washington.

Lincoln County is an agricultural county with extreme reliance on the production of wheat[1]. It is a sparsely populated county, ranking at the third-lowest population density in Washington state per 2006 estimations[2]. Unlike neighbouring Adams County, which has a similarly agricultural economy, Lincoln County does not have a very significant Hispanic population.

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Political Demographics

Lincoln County has a remarkably even split between those living in rural and urban areas. In 2006, unincorporated portions of Lincoln County cast 50.07 percent of the county's votes. When developments in unincorporated areas are factored in, "urban" Lincoln County - those living within towns and villages - cast a fairly narrow majority of Lincoln County's votes.

Lincoln County is among the most Republican counties in Washington, with George W. Bush receiving about 69 percent of the vote in 2004 and John Kerry failing to break 30 percent, making it the fourth best county for Bush and the fourth worst for Kerry. In the 2006 Senate race, it was the fifth most Republican as well as the fifth least Democratic.

Voting Patterns

Lincoln County is a stronghold for the Republicans. It was one of only six Washington counties to support unendorsed Republican State Auditor candidate Will Baker, and has not supported a Democrat since Sonntag's 1996 landslide in which he carried 37 of 39 Washington counties. In her 2006 mini-landslide, Democrat Maria Cantwell narrowly broke 40 percent in the county.

There were 46 precincts in Lincoln County in 2004. Of them, 43 supported Bush and 3 supported Kerry. Kerry's support came primarily from the recreational area around Lake Roosevelt around the unincorporated village of Seven Bays, which gave him moderate margins.

Kerry's other precinct victory was in the precinct consisting of the city of Sprague. The primary demographic difference between Sprague and other similar towns in Lincoln County is Sprague's slightly lower income levels, although these alone would not seem to explain Kerry's win. George W. Bush received a solid victory in the town in 2000.

Outside of these areas, Republican domination is nearly total. Kerry obtained 40 percent in only three other precincts, all of which are small, and mostly located along Lake Roosevelt, outside of the Seven Bays area.

Cantwell carried two additional precincts, one rural and one consisting of the town of Creston. She also tied in two additional rural precincts.

Despite such heavy support for Republican presidential candidates, Lincoln County sometimes supports liberal positions on ballot initiatives. The landmark and unpopular 1998 Initiative 694, to ban partial-birth abortion, failed here, as did Initiative 933 in 2006, which addressed compensation for government-seized property. Suggestions that this failed here because it made it easier for developers to take farmlands for development of exurbs are inaccurate; all estimations show the Spokane metropolitan area not approaching the Lincoln County border in the foreseeable future[3].

Lincoln County has not supported a Democrat for President since 1948.

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