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    « The Democratic Electoral College lock? | Main | What's the matter with California ... and Lake County, Tennessee? »

    November 06, 2008


    Chris VanHaight

    The shifts in this election are not surprising. I believe job losses have been the worst in Chippewa (with Mega-Chicago not doing much better), while the housing crisis has been terrible in the South Coast area (think boom to bust Florida) and El Norte (think boom to bust Las Vegas). The question is whether this election simply reflects the tough economic situation (hopefully a temporary reality), or do they signal a more permanent political realignment. Another piece of the puzzle that certainly seems to have long-term effects is the shift of Hispanic voters towards the Democrats, particularly in El Norte. Proposition 187 was the gift that keeps on giving for the Democrats.

    Rachel Findley

    The counties that showed a red shift, voting more Republican in 2008 than in 2004, make an arc through the Appalachians through the Ozarks (plus parts of the Gulf Coast), including parts of Cumberland, Southern Inland, and Comanche. See . These counties match up with areas of highest "American" or "Scotch-Irish" ancestry. They shifted toward McCain-Palin in regions that became less Republican, while still being carried by the Republican ticket. Any thoughts?

    Robert David Sullivan

    Well, the obvious implication is that those areas have the most resistance to the idea of a black president. That may not be the entire explanation, however. This arc from the Appalachians to the Ozark is probably the most rural part of the country (most people in the West live in big cities, even if those cities are surrounded by desert), and the Republican Party has increasingly identified itself as the "small town" party -- which may be a winning strategy in Appalachia even as it's a disaster on the national level.

    Nate Cohn

    If you look at this belt of counties, these counties used to be the key to the New Deal coalition.

    Every democrat to win the presidency, until Obama, did so by collecting states and counties along this belt. This belt has trended very strongly towards the GOP since 1968, but especially during this decade; even Dukakis outperformed Kerry and Gore here, and they didn't do much better than Mondale here, if at all.

    These counties are still winnable for democrats, as proven by state wide races, and Hillary's dominant performance here during the primaries. Intriguingly, they have behaved very consistently together for the last 60 years.

    I'm planning on writing about this over the next month. It's a pattern that I had noticed before the primary season, and I think these counties deserve more attention.

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