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  Long term Presidential election trends (and other stuff)
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Author Topic: Long term Presidential election trends (and other stuff)  (Read 18097 times)
Trends are real, and I f**king hate it
Antonio V
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« on: November 16, 2010, 05:41:46 pm »
« edited: August 03, 2011, 09:21:34 am by Senator Antonio V »

Hi everyone ! Smiley

After a pretty long work, I have collected a considerable amount of data regarding State-by-State margins of victory in Presidential election since 1932, and these data can have a lot of applications. One of them is particularly interesting, enough to justify this thread.
Having all the swing/trend data of each election since 1928-1932, I can easily calculate long-term trends from any election to any other one. So, here, you will be able to see maps like those on the Atlas forum, but instead of being 4-year trend maps, they could be 8, 12, 20 or 80 years trend maps !

On this thread, I will post several trend maps for interesting periods (note that I will discover the results only after calculating it, so I will be able to react to them simultaneously to you). But also, I will be able to satisfy any request for a long-term trend map. Just ask me from which election to which election you want to see the trends, and I will be able to post you the corresponding map extremely soon. I hope you will enjoy it ! Cheesy


To begin, let's see some interesting or funny maps. Wink

First of all, a pretty meaningless one, but I needed to do it Tongue : 1928-2008 :



Now let's start with some maps comparing 2008 with preceding elections. First of all, 2000-2008 :



And here is 1996-2008 :



More to come ! Smiley
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2010, 05:44:52 pm »

Sweet! Please continue.
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2010, 08:09:26 pm »

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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2010, 08:41:06 pm »

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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2010, 09:38:37 pm »


Smiley
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Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey
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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2010, 09:55:27 pm »

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Trends are real, and I f**king hate it
Antonio V
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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2010, 05:12:52 pm »

Alright, let's go further with 1992-2008 :

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Trends are real, and I f**king hate it
Antonio V
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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2010, 11:46:41 am »

1988-2008 (here we start seeing more consistent trends) :




And finally, 1984-2008 :

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Trends are real, and I f**king hate it
Antonio V
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2010, 03:51:34 pm »

So, what do we learn from these first maps. The first one (1928-2008) is of course the most shocking visually, with huge rep trends in the South and West and huge dem trends in the Rust Belt and the West Coast. But maybe what is more interesting on this map are instead States that appear surprisingly stable. The extreme Northeast, with NY and southern New England, is particularly striking : look at how democrats gained little ground in 80 years that have seen so much ideological shifts ! It helps us measuring how Al Smith was, in some way, a premonitory candidate for democrats, perfroming extraordinarily well in northeastern big cities. The other two surprisingly stable States, Nevada, Minnesota, Indiana and Wisconsin, are interesting too because they are 4 states that have trended dem in past decades.

Now, the more recent maps :
- We see something weird happening in the West. The first map (2000-2008), shows consistent democratic trends in most western States (the most striking being of course Montana). But as soon as you go back further for 4 or 8 years, those trends flip : you suddenly see MT, ND, SD, WY, ID and UT far more republican than they used to be in the Clinton years. Indeed, there seems to have been a constant and very strong republican trend in the West, which culminated in 2000 when Gore got totally trounced in those States, and then since 2004 democrats are slowly recovering. So, it's useful to see how the current democratic trend is maybe nothing else than a "return to normality" from the preceding situation. Now look at 1988-2008 : this is quite scary. Not only the traditional West, but also the rural Midwest in States like Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri have seen dramatic republican shifts. Just immagine what it would be like if you compared it to 2000... Shocked PS : I didn't meantion it but Texas also fit to this category. So does Alaska.
- A trend that is pretty steady and isn't contraddicted by any year is that of the Deep South/Outer South (ie WV, KY, TN, AL, AR, LA and OK). If the trends get less colossal once we leave the Clinon era (favorite son effect played in the entire region, but particularly in AR of course), they still remain pretty clear. West Virgninia looks particularly dreadful for democrats, as it went from being one of Dukakis' best States to one of McCain's best ones. Clearly dems losing ground there is a political constant of our era.
- About the coastal South, trends are far more ambiguous than excepted : apart from Virginia which, along with MD and DE, show a consistent democratic trend (Washington suburbs ?), NC, SC, GA and FL are pretty erratic and weak : sometimes rep, somtimes dem, always quite stable... IMO (but that's just an hypothesis), these trends are the sign of an internal conflict inside the States themselves, between their "inner south" part that is running away from democrats and their coastal part which is instead getting more friendly to them. Maybe some county analysis would be useful there.
- Midwest is weird. The first maps seem to show a pink sea in that region, giving the impression that democrats are slowly solidifying their endge/bridging their gap in OH, IN, IL, MI and WI. Contrary to the West, these trend resist to 1996 and 1992. But before the 1990s, things get trickier. As said before, the rural Midwest (the WI-MN-IA trio where Dukakis did so well) becomes a nightmare for democrats. Instead, two States emerge as having grown more and more democrat year after year : Illinois and Michigan, and the last two (OH and IN) are pretty stable. How to explain that ? Certainly, the dynamics of rural MW are deeply different from those of the Rust Belt, and in Illinois, Chicago seems to have played a major role in the dems' shift. Michigan seems to have been somewhat attracted by the reaganomics (which looks quite paradoxal) but having then switched back to democrats.
- The southwest Hispanic belt seems to be one of the most consistent dem-trending area, except for one black sheep... Arizona ! No democrat ever did worse than Obama there since at least Jimmy Carter ! Of course, the "McCain effect" has probably played a big role in all this (if you take 2004's performance instead AZ becomes pink in the last two maps. Still, it looks pretty impressive and hard to understand when you see all its neighbors. Also to note, Nevada is one of the strongest and most consistend dem trend, and to a lesser extent it's the same for California.
- Oregon and Washington show always small but steady democratic trends, except for OR in 1988 (Dukakis did really well in the Northwest Coast). Things seem pretty clear there. Also, Hawaii is just Hawaii, and Obama swept it as no one before.
- Northwest (ie MA, RI, CT, NY and NJ) is interesting because it shoes a reverse scenario of that of the West previously described : the first two maps show small but significant rep gains there, but once you go before 1996, this little rep trend is overwhelwed by a massive democratic way that goes until 1984 at least. To understand what happened, you can simply look at the 1996 trend map, where Clinton lost ground roughly everywhere except in the Northeast. Acutally, it's quite funny to see how the two "big city libruls", Dukakis, Kerry and Obama, did worse in the Northeast that southern kids Gore and Clinton. It seems like NE has had a massive structural dem trend in the late 90s and now is "stabilizing" somewhat.
- Finally, something has been going on in Northern New England. Not only did New Hampshire and Vermong trend democrat compared to every election, but the further you go in the past, the darker the red shade becomes. Maine is a kind of exception, but only for 1996, where Clinton could have played well in a "maverick" State. Clearly, Northern NE is one of the places were dems have gained a significant ground.
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Associate Justice PiT
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2010, 04:08:20 pm »

     New England used to be a yankee Republican stronghold. They're pretty much gone by now, so New England has trended strongly towards the Democrats as a result. NH & VT were the yankee Republicans' strongest states, so they have trended the most (though NH can still elect Republicans, as the 2010 elections demonstrated).

     Notice that CT & ME trend more weakly than NH & VT, & that MA & RI trend more weakly still. MA & RI are the most historically Democratic states in New England, while CT & ME fall in the middle. My guess is that New England is moving towards greater similarity in the voting patterns of its states.
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« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2010, 03:27:03 pm »
« Edited: November 20, 2010, 04:31:42 pm by Odysseus »

The 1984 trend map actually looks like an Obama loss scenario, sans Nebraska, DC, and Florida.
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Trends are real, and I f**king hate it
Antonio V
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« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2010, 06:26:53 pm »

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Well, you are right in some way, but that goes beyond a simple "harmonization" of New England. While Connecticut seems indeed to be becoming a new Massachusetts, a State like Vermont has literrally come from being NE's most rep State to NE's most dem. Instead, NH and ME seem to be remain pretty competitive. What is particularly funny is the fracture between Vermont (D+30) and NH (D+2).


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You can even go further. If you flip not only NE, DC and FL, but also VA, CO and NH, you getexacly what would be the election with McCain winning by 5 points. All right, this correlation isn't perfect, but still, it's pretty funny to see such correlation. What it means concretely is that the States that have trended dem in past cycles have generally trended enough to become safe States. In comparison, several rep trends weren't "efficient" in flipping those States for the GOP. As a result, the situation has significantly improved for democrats structurally speaking.


Now I take a little pause to show you two short-term trend maps, that could (should ?) be on the Atlas. There are the trends for...

1928-1932 :



And 1932-1936 :



Just to compare, here is 1936-1940 (the map you can find on the Atlas) :




Look at how widespread the trend toward Roosevelt was ! That looks impressive. The only areas trending Rep are NE and the lower Midwest (were Smith did unusually well for a democrat at that time). Trends are more flat in 1936 (logical since the same candidate was on the ballot), but we see some big rep shifts in the plains region, and some dem shifts in the industrial Northeast. Instead, in 1940, all the dem trends are located in the South or the Northeast (New England is particularly impressive), while the West and the Midwest come back to republicans.
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« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2010, 07:18:49 am »

The other two surprisingly stable States, Nevada, Minnesota, Indiana and Wisconsin, are interesting too because they are 4 states that have trended dem in past decades.

Eh, with the exception of Nevada, not really. Your own maps contradict this - 1984-2008 has all three of those other states trending Republican, 2000-2008 has them all trending Democratic, the other maps have a mix. Also, Indiana's 2008 results involved some fairly unique circumstances including the proximity of Gary to Chicago.

 I'm not sure if you've seen Nate Silver's Electoral History Charts, but they show the absolute and relative state performances from 1948-2004. It makes it easy to see any state's trend over a long time period.
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Trends are real, and I f**king hate it
Antonio V
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« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2010, 08:42:07 am »
« Edited: November 21, 2010, 08:43:59 am by Antonio V »

The other two surprisingly stable States, Nevada, Minnesota, Indiana and Wisconsin, are interesting too because they are 4 states that have trended dem in past decades.

Eh, with the exception of Nevada, not really. Your own maps contradict this - 1984-2008 has all three of those other states trending Republican, 2000-2008 has them all trending Democratic, the other maps have a mix. Also, Indiana's 2008 results involved some fairly unique circumstances including the proximity of Gary to Chicago.

 I'm not sure if you've seen Nate Silver's Electoral History Charts, but they show the absolute and relative state performances from 1948-2004. It makes it easy to see any state's trend over a long time period.

I have exactly the same charts, except that with two decimals. Wink

Also, for Indiana you have to look so far as 1984 to find a rep trend (and if you look at earlier maps you can see that even 1984 was a kind of exception). Similarly, Wisconsin was more democratic in 2008 than any other year since 2008. You're right about Minnesota, though.
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Nichlemn
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« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2010, 09:02:43 am »

The other two surprisingly stable States, Nevada, Minnesota, Indiana and Wisconsin, are interesting too because they are 4 states that have trended dem in past decades.

Eh, with the exception of Nevada, not really. Your own maps contradict this - 1984-2008 has all three of those other states trending Republican, 2000-2008 has them all trending Democratic, the other maps have a mix. Also, Indiana's 2008 results involved some fairly unique circumstances including the proximity of Gary to Chicago.

 I'm not sure if you've seen Nate Silver's Electoral History Charts, but they show the absolute and relative state performances from 1948-2004. It makes it easy to see any state's trend over a long time period.

I have exactly the same charts, except that with two decimals. Wink

Also, for Indiana you have to look so far as 1984 to find a rep trend (and if you look at earlier maps you can see that even 1984 was a kind of exception).

Relative to 2008 sure. But there was a solid Republican trend from 1988-2004. This is why I like the Electoral History Charts and not maps like these, because they can show more than two data points for each state. I mean, if the Republicans screwed up and failed to get McCain on the ballot in Indiana, there would have been a strong Democratic trend to 2008 from any other year. That wouldn't mean that Indiana was trending heavily Democratic.

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It's pretty easy for Wisconsin to have been more Democratic then than in the 2009 and 2010 Presidential elections Tongue
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Trends are real, and I f**king hate it
Antonio V
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« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2010, 09:05:28 am »

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It's pretty easy for Wisconsin to have been more Democratic then than in the 2009 and 2010 Presidential elections Tongue

Wow, just realized the typo error and... had a good laugh ! Grin

Meant 1988 of course.
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Trends are real, and I f**king hate it
Antonio V
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« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2010, 10:35:43 am »

Also, maybe there's something interesting there. I remember this map, showing how many consecutive times a State has trended toward a party :




Well, here is a little variant : it uses the compiled long-term maps instead of the election-by election maps. That means, the darker a State is, the farther you must go in the past to find a better result for a party (this map is based on the 2004-2008, 2000-2008, 1996-2008, 1992-2008, 1988-2008 and 1984-2008 maps).

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Trends are real, and I f**king hate it
Antonio V
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« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2010, 03:09:03 pm »

Here is an interesting "Roosevelt vs Roosevelt" map (1932-1944) :




And here a "skipping Roosevelt" map (1928-1948) :

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Penelope
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« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2010, 07:30:29 pm »

Bump, I would really like to see this continued.
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Trends are real, and I f**king hate it
Antonio V
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« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2010, 04:39:06 am »

I'll try to post something this weekend but I'm pretty busy so I can't guarantee anything.
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Trends are real, and I f**king hate it
Antonio V
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« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2010, 08:31:44 am »
« Edited: November 28, 2010, 08:33:28 am by Antonio V »

Here is a 1960-1968 trend map :



Interesting because the two maps look very similar but we can actually see some big swings.
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Trends are real, and I f**king hate it
Antonio V
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« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2010, 09:29:34 am »

Comparing two dem landslides (1936-1964) :



The South and the Northeast look scary.
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Trends are real, and I f**king hate it
Antonio V
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« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2010, 12:40:26 pm »

Now two rep landslides (1972-1984) :



The persistence of a "Carter effect" in 1984 is quite interesting.
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« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2010, 12:50:07 pm »

Not so much a "Carter effect" as a "McGovern effect."  McGovern was absolutely flattened in the South.
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« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2010, 07:23:41 pm »
« Edited: December 01, 2010, 07:25:16 pm by shua »

Here is a 1960-1968 trend map :



Interesting because the two maps look very similar but we can actually see some big swings.

thanks - I was thinking about what a Nixon 60 v Nixon 68 map would look like!
I guess that's quite the Muskie effect in Maine?! with Wallace in the mix, the states in the South with the Republican swing actually gave Nixon a smaller vote in 1968 than in 1960, but increased relative to Humphrey.
also I hadn't realized Humphrey actually did better than JFK in MA.
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