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In one of the DK Elections threads today, someone posted a list of 2013/2014 Senate/Governor races using existing PVI.  I realized we already have enough information on hand we don't need to do this anymore.  

PVI is, for those not in the know, determined by averaging together the results of the last two presidential elections, and comparing against the national swing that year.  Thus for 2012, where Obama did around 4.6% worse on average than 2008, a state where his numbers declined by 3% could be seen as an improvement, as he held his losses lower than elsewhere, meaning compared to the nation at large, the state got a bit more Democratic.  

Anyway, time for a trip around the U.S.  

I'll start off with the unchanged states, running from most to least Republican:

Idaho (R+17)
Kansas (R+12)
North Dakota (R+10)
South Dakota (R+9)
Montana (R+7)
Florida (R+2)
Ohio (R+1)
Iowa (D+1)
Minnesota (D+2)
Michigan (D+4)
Washington (D+5)
Illinois (D+8)

Is there a pattern in the states on this list?  To a certain degree.  With one exception, these are states in the Midwest and the upper part of the west.  There has been no great influx of immigrants into this region, and no dramatic changes in partisan fortunes.  Even though Obama's vote share dropped a great deal across this region in 2012, it was basically reversion to what Kerry (if he had won by the same margin as Obama) would have gotten.  

Florida is the only state with no shift elsewhere in the country.  Here I would presume it is two different electoral effects canceling each other out, as the state itself has changed between 2004 and 2012.  Perhaps the rising minority population has so far been counteracted by a shift in white voters away from Obama, in part because older, Democratic-leaning retirees continued to die off in large numbers.  

Now let's look at the states that shifted to the Republicans.  First, we'll look at one clearly identifiable cluster:

Oklahoma (R+19, was R+17)
Alabama (R+14, was R+13)
Arkansas (R+14, was R+9)
West Virginia (R+13, was R+8)
Kentucky (R+12, was R+10)
Louisiana (R+12, was R+10)
Tennessee (R+12, was R+9)
Missouri (R+5, was R+3)

This is the worst area of the country right now in terms of Democratic decline - the inland South/border states.  Most of these were carried by Clinton in the 1990s.  That said, they are turning against us, hard.  Alabama only had a decline of 1%, as it has a large black population to offset the decline of the Demosaurs in the north of the state to some degree.  The decline was 2% in Oklahoma, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Missouri, 3% in Tennessee, and a stunning 5% in Arkansas and West Virginia.  I have little confidence in the future of the Democrats in these states in the near future.  As it stands I expect we'll lose our remaining toeholds in governance in Arkansas, Kentucky, and most of our base in West Virginia by 2020.  

Now, some oddball states with minor shifts towards the Republicans:

Utah (R+22, was R+20)
Wyoming (R+21, was R+20)
Arizona (R+7, was R+6)
New Hampshire (D+1, was D+2)
Pennsylvania (D+1, was D+2)
Massachusetts (D+10, was D+12)

Eliminating obvious cases first, the Utah result, and probably Wyoming, are due to Romney being on the ticket in 2012 and the Mormon vote.  Massachusetts, and to a small degree New Hampshire, saw a boost in 2004 due to Kerry being at the top of the Democratic ticket that year.  Thus these changes thus can probably be safely ignored.

Arizona is a bit of a concern, but there are a large number of outstanding ballots, which may lean a bit more Democratic than the state at large.  Thus later updates may make there be no change, or even a slight improvement, to PVI.  

That leaves Pennsylvania, which is probably my biggest concern, and not only because it's my home state.  There is no doubt that the western part of the state is seeing the same shift to the right as the rest of Appalachia, outside of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) and Erie County.  However, this only makes up around a third of the state population, and it seemed the Democratic shift in the eastern part of the state, particularly the populous Philly suburbs, made up for it.  It's no longer clear if that's the case following the 2012 election.  Certain parts of the burbs are still moving our way (Delaware County for example) but others (like Bucks County) have stalled out.  It may be that Romney was just a good candidate for convincing some of these socially liberal Republican voters to take another look.  

Now to the fun stuff:  States moving towards us!  First, let's look at base states getting even more Democratic:

Oregon (D+5, was D+4)
New Jersey (D+6, was D+4)
Maine (D+6, was D+5
Connecticut (D+8, was D+7)
Delaware (D+9, was D+7)
California (D+9, was D+7)
Maryland (D+10, was D+9)
New York (D+11, was D+10)
Rhode Island (D+12, was D+11)
Vermont (D+16, was D+13)
Hawaii (D+20, was D+12)

Traditional Democratic states in the Northeast and West Coast are only getting bluer.  It's hard to see how Republicans will compete in any of these any time soon on a federal level.  Some outside factors may have played a role in a few cases, like Hurricane Sandy boosting Obama's numbers in NY/NJ/CT, and of course the home state factor in Hawaii.

What about swing states?  

North Carolina (R+3, was R+4)
Virginia (EVEN, was R+1)
Colorado (D+1, was EVEN)
Nevada (D+2, was D+1)
Wisconsin (D+3, was D+2)
New Mexico (D+4, was D+2)

All of these are looking good.  New Mexico barely counts as a swing state any more, and if current trends continue, within 8-12 years, none of the states on this list will be in serious contention.  

Wisconsin is a bit of an odd duck here, as unlike the rest it isn't diversifying especially fast, and has gone to the Democrats since 1992.  Still, Obama obviously did better here adjusting for national swing than John Kerry in 2004, who came very close to losing the state.  Something comforting to consider even as we hate Scott Walker is the state is assuredly not moving away from us on the federal level.  

Finally, there are the red states which have improved PVIs:  

Nebraska (R+12, was R+13)
Alaska (R+11, was R+13)
Texas (R+9, was R+10)
Mississippi (R+9, was R+10)
South Carolina (R+7, was R+8)
Georgia (R+6, was R+7)
Indiana (R+5, was R+6)

First, the three oddballs.

Indiana's PVI is obviously still lifted artificially by Obama's stunning performance in 2008.  That said, he still did better adjusted for national conditions this year than Kerry did in 2004, meaning there is a real, albeit small, shift to the left.  

Alaska is also interesting, as there seems to have been a real shift to the left there in an incremental fashion.  It has always had the fundamentals to be a Democratic state (high nonwhite population, high unionization, secular nature), but stays stubbornly Republican.  After the weird Palin numbers drop out, it should initially settle into about R+8, giving us a good base to work it further to the left.  

I'm not sure what to make of Nebraska, except that Obama's comparative popularity in the Omaha area seems real, although it flagged a bit in 2012 with the national swing away from him.  

The rest of the states are all in the south, and have high populations of blacks and/or Latinos.  They are all moving our way.  That said, the are all moving slow as molasses.  With a 1% shift every four years, it will take until 2036 for Georgia to have an EVEN PVI.  And that's presuming in the post-Obama world we don't see enough of a dropoff in black support/turnout to stagnate things for awhile.  I don't think we want to wait that long, so it will take real work to hit the tipping points in these states within the next 10-15 years.  

Anyway, hope you have as much fun reading this as I did putting it together.  


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Comment Preferences

  •  Romney is from MA. (0+ / 0-)

    The amazing thing is that his being a former governor was only worth +2.

  •  yeah I was pretty sure this would happen in (0+ / 0-)

    Oregon.  I think at least one of the big counties will see a shift when I calculate them, once the unofficial count is done.

    ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

    by James Allen on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 07:59:56 PM PST

  •  Oklahoma is deceptive though (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's actually been stable itself since 2004 (34%, 34%, and 33% were the Democratic performances in 2004, 2008, and 2012).

    Technically speaking, Obama did relatively well in Oklahoma compared to 2008.

    Politics and more Formerly DGM on SSP. NM-01, 26 (chairman of the Atheist Caucus)

    by NMLib on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 08:55:21 PM PST

    •  I see what you mean... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But in terms of how PVI is calculated, Kerry did better in 2004 than Obama in 2012, since Obama's vote total was about 3% higher, but the state slipped back by 1%.

      What's really the case is we've already receded to a pretty inflexible base there, which is probably based around Black, Latino, and Native American votes.  I don't see any real way to claw back though.  

      •  That's true... (0+ / 0-)

        But the state could also just be settling into a stable point where regardless of where the nation goes, Oklahoma is just going to stay in a new status quo.

        That's probably something that we won't know for a long time though.

        Politics and more Formerly DGM on SSP. NM-01, 26 (chairman of the Atheist Caucus)

        by NMLib on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 09:18:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Re: Nebraska (0+ / 0-)

    Census 2000 data shows that Nebraska was 5.5% Hispanic which jumped to 9.5% in 2010.  The African American population also grew from 4.0% to 4.7% in 2010.  I don't have the data for what the voting population demographics were this election but its possible that the growing Hispanic population could be tilting NE just a bit toward the center.  Currently NE is 19th in the nation in percentage of Hispanic or Latino population.

    As a former Omahan, I can only hope that this trend continues and can have a real affect on statewide elections.

    •  I'm under the impression... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That most of Nebraska's Latino population growth was in the west of the state, related to slaughterhouses, and overwhelmingly undocumented, so I'm not sure it played a big role in the slight nudging back towards the middle.  

      The rise in the black population almost certainly has been helpful however, along with whatever Latino voters have been moving into Omaha and Lincoln.  

  •  Excellent diary (6+ / 0-)

    Thanks for posting.

    Political Director, Daily Kos

    by David Nir on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 10:23:06 PM PST

  •  It's nice to see Wisconsin at D+3 (0+ / 0-)

    even with a Wisconsinite on the Republican ticket, though I don't think Ryan had much homestate advantage. That said, many areas in Wisconsin are basically reverse Blue Dog country with entrenched Republican legislators, and gerrymandering hasn't made our lot there any better. Still, Ron Johnson is probably very vulnerable unless he moderates or starts providing constituent services.

    Male, 22, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02. "You're damn right we're making a difference!" - Senator-Elect Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison)

    by fearlessfred14 on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 10:57:06 PM PST

  •  You know, I'm not so sure if Sandy is what caused (3+ / 0-)

    NJ to improve so much this year. It may have been a factor. But if you look at the counties that really moved D-wards, it wasn't the harder-hit (and whiter) coastal counties, but the counties with high minority population, including high Asian populations. Likewise, my own personal borough of Queens moved well to the left.

    You could also look at the only 3 counties in CA to give Obama a larger vote share than in '08: Imperial, Los Angeles, and Santa Clara. All 3 have large Hispanic populations, and LA and Santa Clara have huge Asian populations as well.

    This may have to do with Obama's performance among Asians - a huge story which hopefully will get some more attention. Remember, asian americans were voting republican as recently as the 1990s, and Obama won them 3-1!

    •  Same could be said for Connecticut (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Sandy probably didn't help Obama at all; the hardest-hit part of the state was Fairfield County, and he lost ground there big time, mostly because of financial types.

      Obama actually did better in the New Haven area this time than he did in 2008. Now CT hasn't had the type of Asian immigration that Queens and parts of Jersey has gotten, but they are a growing segment of the population, and a few suburbs of New Haven have a decent number of them. Just like Jersey, however, Hispanics are a large and growing portion of the population and the electorate.

      The PVI benefits from losing the 2004 numbers, which were probably influenced by 9/11. Chris Murphy was essentially a Generic D, and still gained 55% of the vote despite being outspent the way he was (I actually think he didn't run a very good campaign, but that's not why we're here). The GOP won't be able to break 43% again in a federal race without some serious Democratic problems.

      •  While I... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NM Ward Chair

        Was born in Eastern Pennsylvania, and now live in Western Pennsylvania, I spent most of my childhood (3-18 or so) in Fairfield County, and I know the area well.  

        Romney was the right republican to compete there, just as he was the right candidate for the Philadelphia suburbs.  I don't have much confidence the Republicans will nominate another candidate like him however.  

        As I see it, Connecticut basically has two political cultures.  Fairfield and Litchfield are New York like, in that the Republican brand is not tarnished yet, provided it's socially moderate.  The rest of the state is pretty concretely New England in orientation, meaning the distaste with the Republicans is only growing, even in rural areas.  

    •  Hrrm... (0+ / 0-)

      You're right it seems.  I guess I assumed that Sandy was due to it because Obama did seem to get a significant boost compared to 2008 in Staten Island, which was almost certainly Sandy related, although the increasing diversification of the northern part of Staten Island is making it less Republican than it used to be.  It might not be too long until South Brooklyn is more Republican than Staten Island.  

    •  Santa Clara County = Silicon Valley (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming

      I live here, and this is the future that the GOPosaurs are so terrified of.  This is a minority-majority county.  Several cities are majority Asian (which here means both East and South Asian).  You'll find the highest concentration of Asians in the school districts with higher test scores, and the more that move in, the higher the scores get.  School reports almost always show higher test averages for Asians than any other group.

      In the last 10 years the number of Asians has really jumped, and given the national Republican Party's racist and nativist orientation, it's not surprising their message is losing ground with Asians.  

      Also the California Republican Party is a complete joke.  The hard-core RWNJs drummed out the moderate leadership statewide, so the rank and file moderates don't expect to win anything around here.  No RWNJ could win here where so many people make an excellent living because of math and science.

      In capitalist America, bank robs you!

      by madhaus on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 12:36:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Santa Clara (0+ / 0-)

        I lived in Santa Clara County from 1964 to 2008.  [lastly in Campbell]  Great county.  

        When I moved there the republicans were still being elected, and the demographics have since completely changed the county.

        I moved to Solano County, which, while being diverse also, has included in that diversity a lot of black people, which was not so in Santa Clara, as a general rule

        •  Yes, few blacks, SC is white, Asian, Hispanic (0+ / 0-)

          The only really white county in the Bay Area is Marin, and it's still way too diverse for the likes of the typical voter Karl Rove is targeting.

          In capitalist America, bank robs you!

          by madhaus on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 12:57:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Good point (0+ / 0-)

      It will be very interesting to see the precinct results in heavily Asian areas, once they are available!

  •  Thanks for these numbers (0+ / 0-)

    Pennsylvania is a bit of a concern, which struck me on election night. That said, the shift in Virginia and Colorado more than evens it out (and, given population trends, this disparity will only increase).

    I was also a little surprised by the Illinois numbers last night. Given the home state factor, it's surprising that Obama did no better this time around than Kerry did in '04. My anecdotal guess would be that Obama did poorly in Southern Illinois, which is in many ways part of the cultural south. Still, those are odd numbers.

  •  So, look at these numbers for 2014 (0+ / 0-)

    we've got the following:

    Arkansas- +14
    West Virginia- +13
    Alaska- +11
    South Dakota- +9
    Montana- +7

    Let's hope the economy improves and incumbency is our friend, because those are some ugly numbers. At least we have a 5 seat majority to buffer any potential losses.

    •  Don't forget that incumbency... (0+ / 0-)

      Is a powerful effect.  Joe Manchin cruised this year after all, and there were clearly many Tester, Kaine, and Nelson voters who voted for Mitt Romney.  

      As I said, discounting Palin's effect on 2008, Alaska is really R+8 - red leaning, but no worse than Montana.  We'll need to wait to see who is really endangered, but right now Rockefeller seems in the worst shape.  

      The numbers look good for us for governor though.  With a credible Candidate, Christie is going to be in a lot of trouble, and the open-seat VA race should be within reach.

      Arkansas is our only sure loss, due to term limits.  Theoretically we could be vulnerable in other states, but I'm not seeing it now.

      I think it's a done deal LePage is out in Maine.  I think we stand a great chance of defeating Corbett in PA as well, who has pissed off the majority of the state.  The same goes twice as hard for Rick Scott in Florida.  

      Ohio will be a tossup, and Wisconsin a tough slog, but we have to try.  I think the Republican governors in Michigan, Nevada, and New Mexico have governed moderately enough that unseating them in a general will be difficult, but any or all of them could be teabagged in the primary quite easily.  

  •  I hate to say it, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NM Ward Chair

    I think our PVI may be deflated in the upper south by people who would gladly vote democrat (and do at lower levels, especially in West Virginia) provided the democrat we ran was white.  

    •  I don't think there's any doubt about that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But those people were on the verge of falling into the R category anyway, and the Democratic Party nominating a black man gasp pushed them over that cliff. I don't think nominating a white man, especially if it is a non-Southerner, is going to bring them back. And, personally, they can get fucked and stay gone as far as I'm concerned.

      What will be interesting to watch is what they will do if the Republicans begin to modify their position on immigration and welfare. My suspicion is that most of them will be dead before that happens.

    •  I haven't looked into this in the upper south... (0+ / 0-)

      But I have in Southwestern Pennsylvania, which, like West Virginia, was solid Dem back in 1988, and is now strongly Republican.  

      The shift to the right didn't happen all at once.  Adjusting for national swing, the rural counties surrounding Pittsburgh became more Republican than the national average every single presidential election.  This was masked during the 1990s given Clinton won PA by pretty wide margins, but the trend was already there.

      I presume the same basic model holds true in West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky.  The rest of the inland south I'm not so sure, because many of the Democrats there were not only racist, but lived in racially mixed areas to begin with.  

      In addition, the final decline has begun in this area.  We lost the Louisiana State legislature in 2010, and Arkansas this year.  The margin dropped dangerously close in the State House in Kentucky, and Republicans are only eight seats away from winning the State House in West Virginia.  Ticket splitting in this region is almost done.  

  •  several states are not done counting (0+ / 0-)

    california, washington, and arizona still have at least a quarter of the votes uncounted. your calculated PVI is going to be pretty off as a result, given how provisionals tend to break.

  •  I did a real quick comparison (0+ / 0-)

    with the 1992 election. The "tipping point" state (to steal a Nate Silver term) that year was Tennessee, with Louisiana just a bit safer.

    The non-essential states for a Clinton victory?

    -New Jersey
    -New Hampshire

    Not to mention that Clinton still lost Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina and destroyed Bush in Arkansas, Missouri, and West Virginia.

    My how times have changed.

    So, as far as "essential" states go, it seems the Dems and Reps have swapped:

    Arkansas, Missouri, West Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee (40 electoral votes)


    New Jersey, Wisconsin, Nevada, Colorado, New Hampshire  (43 electoral votes)

    Not a bad trade, especially when you consider the states that have become more purple over time, offsetting the loss of electoral college votes in the NE and Midwest

    •  By 1996 (0+ / 0-)

      Missouri and Tennessee fell out of the necessary states (though Arkansas, Louisiana and WV did not)

      New Jersey and Wisconsin fell into the necessary states category (NH did as well, but just barely).

      Needless to say, this would remain the case in 2000 and 2004.

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