Blue America!

This map resulting from a Gallup poll on party identification is making the rounds:

The lede from Jeffrey Jone’s write-up:

An analysis of Gallup Poll Daily tracking data from the first six months of 2009 finds Massachusetts to be the most Democratic state in the nation, along with the District of Columbia. Utah and Wyoming are the most Republican states, as they were in 2008. Only four states show a sizeable Republican advantage in party identification, the same number as in 2008. That compares to 29 states plus the District of Columbia with sizeable Democratic advantages, also unchanged from last year.

So, Texas and Mississippi are competitive states?  Alabama is just a smidgen Republican?  And North Carolina and Virginia have gone from competitive Red States to Solid Blue in a matter of months? Does this strike any of you as even remotely plausible?

Jones offers this as a preemptive rebuttal:

Since Obama was inaugurated, not much has changed in the political party landscape at the state level — the Democratic Party continues to hold a solid advantage in party identification in most states and in the nation as a whole. While the size of the Democratic advantage at the national level shrunk in recent months, this has been due to an increase in independent identification rather than an increase in Republican support. That finding is echoed here given that the total number of solid and leaning Republican states remains unchanged from last year. While the Republican Party is still able to compete in elections if they enjoy greater turnout from their supporters or greater support for its candidates from independent voters, the deck is clearly stacked in the Democratic Party’s favor for now.

Now, I don’t doubt for a moment that the last sentence is true.  Democrats have shed their image as a radical Left party and the Republicans are at modern lows after the debacle of the Bush presidency and twelve years in the Congressional majority.   But does anyone really think Mississippi is equally likely to go for Obama as for the Republican nominee in 2012?

I’m not suggesting Gallup is cooking the books here, merely that their questions would seem to be a poor proxy for what we’re trying to capture when we as about party identification.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. odograph says:

    It’s natural for the pendulum to swing, and perhaps always(*) past the middle in an overcorrection.

    I’d expect a national blue-tilt at this point … but to be that map looks worse than I would have thought possible.

    Perhaps we’ll be more moderate by next election.

    (* – an effect of that 2 party system)

  2. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I like the Nevada leaning Democrat. I guess that is why Harry Reid is likely not to be returned to the Senate. We will just wait and see waht 2010 brings. Harken back to 1994.

  3. It all depends on what one is measuring. That the maps looks like in terms of party ID isn’t surprising, since a lot of would-be Reps don’t feel too Rep-y at the moment. As a proxy for 2012 it is worthless for a lot of reasons.

    That it would likely bode continued Dem majorities in the Congress is probably the case.

    But, I agree that it overstates the blueness of things (but then most Blue/Red analyses tend to overstate something).

  4. The polls show that the country is still center right. That is how Obama got elected by talking like a moderate. It isn’t how Obama is governing (now why would someone lie about being a liberal to get elected, you would almost think that they are ashamed of being liberal). Track the polls that show the public seeing Obama as a moderate which are now moving to see him as a liberal. As the democrats get exposed as far left by their latest poster boy, the pendulum will slide back.

  5. This Guy says:

    An important note is that these are surveys of adults, not registered voters, so might be a bit bluer. I would love to see how that map looks from an ideological view, that is conservative v. liberal, probably a lot like the 1984 electoral map.

  6. odograph says:

    Interesting correlation to Unemployment Rates By State

  7. Grewgills says:

    The polls show that the country is still center right.

    Which polls are those?

  8. PD Shaw says:

    According to Gallup, the national party i.d. averages appear to be about the same as they were in 1999. LINK

  9. Dave Schuler says:

    While every single thing in the poll might be right, I’m not sure what the practical value of the the gauge is. Here in Illinois while Democrats dominate and no doubt will continue to do so it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that they’ll lose a Senate senate and the governor’s mansion here.

    However, never underestimate the ability of the Illinois GOP to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  10. Phil Smith says:

    Really, odo. What correlation do you think you see?

  11. Wayne says:

    Kansas has two Republican Senators and 75% of its Congressman are Republicans. The Senators won pretty easily. So I not sure if the maps means much. The Republican Party seems to want to be Dem light so I’m not even sure if I want to be indentify with them. There was a poll not too long ago that shows a wide margin of US citizens identifies themselves as conservative. If I get time maybe I will find that poll.

  12. lloyd says:

    Obama didn’t carry a single county in Oklahoma I find in hard to see us as leaning Democratic

  13. sam says:

    finds Massachusetts to be the most Democratic state in the nation

    Quelle surprise — only state to go for McGovern in the 1972 election.

  14. PD Shaw says:

    I notice that three of the states have become more Republican since 2008: Colorado, Nevada, and Alabama.

  15. Abby says:

    This map must be based on having ACORN solidly in states to cheat elections. In VA the governors race and ticket down the line is heavily leaning GOP by double digits. Of course like I said don’t count out ACORN having illegals and the dead voting.

  16. odograph says:

    Phil, I guess I was getting an intuition of this:

    Unemployment in April remained 20 percent higher in so-called “blue states” won by Democratic candidate Barack Obama in last fall’s presidential election than in “red states” won by Republican candidate John McCain, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics released yesterday.

  17. Neil1030 says:

    Dems might have shed their image as a radical left party but it does not alter the truth that they remain a far left of center party. Seems like they are becoming more so every day.

    Many of the states that lean Demo went for McCain last year, or have a Republican governor or one GOP US Senator. So that must mean a lot of the people who responded to this poll and identified themselves as Democrats must at least lean to the right.

  18. Phil Smith says:

    You projected your previously held beliefs onto those charts, then; I did a quick analysis of the two charts, and they correlate at .441196. That isn’t really surprising, since the unemployment chart slices the numbers oddly.

  19. floyd says:

    “”Democrats have shed their image as a radical Left party””
    Now if only they would shed the fact that they are the radical Left party!

    Hopefully those who have fallen under the spell of the “image makers” will awaken to reality before it is too late, since there is no country likely to do for us what we did for Western Europe in the forties.

  20. odograph says:

    Phil, nice move calling previous “data” previous “beliefs.”

    Not real honest, but good move.

  21. Phil Smith says:

    You claimed a correlation where none exists. I made a guess as to why you thought you saw something that wasn’t there. Oh well.