Just Five Republican States Left!
Taegan Goddard passes on a Gallup poll that he aptly summarizes thusly: ” there are only five states that now have a statistically significant majorities of Republicans. They are Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska and Nebraska.
In contrast, there are now 35 states that are majority Democratic with 10 states up for grabs.”
Shocking? Wildly implausible?
Take a look at the top-line graphic:
Having both spent a lot of time living in Alabama and having watched recent election returns, the idea that Alabama is a tossup state is laughable. It gets better:
Does it strike you as even remotely plausible that Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina are “competitive,” in the sense of having no significant party lean? Me neither.
What’s going on here?
There are several reasons for possible disparities between the party affiliation data and the voting outcomes in a given state. First, turnout has typically been an equalizer in U.S. electoral politics because Democrats almost always have an advantage in identification, but Republicans have been competitive in national and state elections over the last three decades because Republicans are usually more likely than Democrats to vote. Second, one’s partisan leaning is not a perfect predictor of voting in a presidential election, in which candidate-specific characteristics can influence a voter’s choice. Third, the party affiliation data reported here cover all of 2008, while presidential election voting was limited to Nov. 4 or the weeks leading up to it.
It’s true that voting behavior and party preference are not perfect overlaps and that, as a rule, Republicans have tended to benefit from higher turnout than their Democratic counterparts. But de-coupling party ID from presidential preference is another matter altogether. The states in the Deep South are perfectly hospitable to Democrats in state and local elections; it’s just that Democrats in those starts are, well, Republicans. That’s much less interesting for national-level discussion, though, than presidential preference.