Gallup had a party affiliation analysis that purports to show there are now more red Republican States than blue Democratic ones. Good news Republicans! From their study:
“Gallup’s analysis of political party affiliation at the state level in 2015 finds that 20 states are solidly Republican or leaning Republican, compared with 14 solidly Democratic or leaning Democratic states. The remaining 16 are competitive. This is the first time in Gallup’s eight years of tracking partisanship by state that there have been more Republican than Democratic states. It also marks a dramatic shift from 2008, when Democratic strength nationally was its greatest in recent decades.”
On paper, this does seem like good news for Republicans. Certainly the divisive Obama years have eliminated almost the last of the Blue Dog Democrats and gave the Republicans their largest majorities in the House and Senate since before the Great Depression. At the State level, Republicans have made a 900 seat gain in State legislatures since 2010. In strictly office holder terms, the Obama years have been good for the Republican Party. So smooth sailing to November 2016 right?
I noticed two anomalies on the map that struck my eye.
First Florida. Since it’s my home State, I have a familiarity with the state that may not show up in polling. First the obvious: Florida went for Obama twice in a row; in 2008 and 2012. Is there something that’s going to break that pattern? A lot of things could, except that the State used to be a red State, now, according to Gallup, it’s “competitive.” But there are trends that are moving Florida from red to blue, and that’s demographics. As NPR helpfully points out, Puerto Ricans have been pouring into Florida. Although it’s part of a long term trend, it’s exacerbated by the financial crisis in Puerto Rico. Although Puerto Rico can’t vote in a Presidential election, Puerto Ricans can, the minute they leave Puerto Rico. And again as NPR hopefully shows, Puerto Ricans predominately vote for Democrats.
And secondly, just looking at that State map from Gallup, when did Texas go from solidly Republican to leaning Republican? I wonder what could be causing that? Demographics maybe?
Texas has 38 electoral votes. Once that State moves from leaning Republican to “competitive” it makes a Republican Presidential win extremely “problematic” as a leftist might say, no matter how many State Houses Republicans win.
Republican wins on non Presidential years are not reflective of Presidential years. Quoting myself:
There is a big difference between the number of people who show up to vote in the mid-terms and those who show up in Presidential years. Based on the numbers I’ve seen this morning, turn out for this year was even lower than in 2010, which was another big Republican year. So you have a 76 million voter turnout for this year, but in 2012 you had 129 million voters. That’s about a 50 million voter difference between the midterms and the Presidential voting years.
So all things being equal, we should see Democratic Presidential wins from here on out. Of course, I caveat that by saying that sometimes all things are not equal. Wars, terrorism, or a financial crisis could flip the script; as could an off the wall Presidential candidate that has cross party appeal. But Republicans shouldn’t take much comfort that some there are more red States on a Gallup map now. That sort of information, like Hillary Clinton’s support, is miles wide but merely inches deep.