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.