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Before reading my article, I'd highly recommend you take a look at this piece about Greenwich, Darien, Westport, Norwalk, and Fairfield. You'll learn plenty about the people and politics of those towns.


Connecticut's 4th Congressional district is one of the most polarized Congressional districts in the country. Some of the wealthiest and some of the poorest Americans reside just miles apart in parts of this district that contains both towns like Greenwich, Darien, and New Canaan and cities like Bridgeport and Stamford.

The 4th district was represented by Republican Chris Shays for 11 terms between 1987 and 2009. In 2008, Shays was defeated narrowly by current 4th district Representative Jim Himes by four points while Barack Obama carried the seat with 60% of the vote. Out of the 17 towns and cities in the district, only Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford voted for Himes but Shays, a Bridgeport resident, only pulled 19% in his home city, dooming his reelection prospects. Himes has since settled into his seat, defeating his 2010 challenger by a fairly strong margin of six points.

In a midterm year, the 4th district likely sits around D+1.5 but it voted D+3.7 in 2012. In a district where Mitt was such a tailor made fit, how did he do compared to John McCain's 2008 performance? Find out below the fold.

Election Results in 2008 and 2012

Below is a map that shows how John McCain performed in each of the 4th district's 17 towns and cities in 2008.


Below is a map that illustrates Mitt Romney's performance in each of the district's 17 towns and cities.

Color Key:

Navy: 65+% Obama
Sky blue: 50-53% Obama
Dodger blue: 53-58 Obama
Blue: 58-65% Obama
Salmon: 50-53% Romney
Red: 53-56% Romney
Crimson: 56-60% Romney
Reddish Brown: 60+% Romney

Below is a map that shows how each of the 17 towns and cities voted in comparison to their 2008 performances.

Color Key:
Light blue: 0 through 3% shift towards Obama
Salmon: 0 through 3% shift towards Romney
Red: 3 through 6% shift towards Romney
Crimson: 6 through10% shift towards Romney
Reddish Brown: 10+% shift towards Romney

Below is the data table I created and used while writing this article. Click on the image to see the full table; DKE's page width is too narrow for it to display correctly in this article.



There isn't much to be said about CT-04, other than that it's out of reach for Republicans with well-liked Rep Jim Himes, who defeated a strong but weakly funded opponent by 20 points in 2012, holding the seat. However, the interesting takeaway from the voting trends in CT-04 is that the wealthier the town, the more it tended to swing towards Romney from its McCain performance. Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Fairfield, Weston, and Westport each registered in at a swing of at least 8 points towards Romney from their McCain showings. Meanwhile, demographic trends caused the district's cities to either trend Democratic or stand pat.

Mitt Romney matched or did slightly better than Bush '04 numbers in most of the towns of the district but fell through the floor compared to Bush's '04 performance. Therefore, his '04 performance was slightly more than 2 points worse than Bush's 2004 showing in the 4th district.

It's also worth noting that without Bridgeport in the district, Romney would have received 48.64% of the two-party vote in the 4th district, giving it an R+.5 PVI. Bridgeport's rapid minority trending demographic trend in the past two decades has made CT-04 lean slightly, but durably, Democratic.

Rundown of the Towns

Here's what a friend of mine with a political background from Connecticut had to say about each of the towns in the seat.
Greenwich: definition of Old money: Bush, Skakel, Regis; but now with hedgies & fashion folks like Tommy Hilfiger.

Stamford: once another heavily Italian satellite city of NYC; then a postwar Mecca of corporate HQ's; (Xerox, GE Capital); now in this century with new downtown high rises a "6th borough" of the City

Darien/New Canaan: interchangeable large lot WASP heritage top end suburbia. Republicanism still fashionable as this is corporate country; not celebrity country.

Norwalk: a denser and less affluent ( for the most part) city. Less corporate & fashionable than Stamford. Where Fairfield County finds big box stores. Historically Italian but less so over time

Westport: the cool suburb; bars, theatres, et al. Artsy, lots of Jewish residents. Once R but social issues have had their impact. Harv Weinstein lives here

Fairfield: where upper middle class folks live who can hack long train/Tpke commutes. Catholic influence--Fairfield U there.

Bridgeport: once industrial blue collar (Rowland carried city in 90) now post industrial and very minority heavy. Small ethnic enclaves left in Black Rock (129th AD) & North End (127).

Trumbull/Shelton: Where white Bridgeporters all moved. Fairly affluent, very Catholic, lots of extreme commuting except that Shelton's a small edge city now

Wilton/Ridgefield: newer and less dense New Canaans

Weston/Redding: newer and less dense Westport

Easton/Monroe: newer & less dense Trumbull

Oxford: should be in 5--really aligned with the 'Bury's


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    Home: North Shore of Illinois, College: Main Line of Pennsylvania (PA-07)

    by IllinoyedR on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:48:42 PM PST

  •  More on CT (0+ / 0-)

    Greenwich is the Hedge Fund capital of the world.  Stamford is also a financial mecca with UBS and RBS banks calling it home.  Darien and New Canaan are very WASP with a large group of Mormons in New Canaan especially and they are bedroom communities that feed off Greenwich/Stamford and Wall Street.  These 4 swung towards RMoney for obvious reasons.  Obama's 3.8% hike on Cap Gains and Dividends (as part of Obamacare) is not well liked in this part of the world.  Religion plays a small part.  Also many were downright scared of Sarah Palin in 08.  

    Westport, Weston and Redding are also wealthy but tend to be more artistic.  Many noted celebrities call these towns home.  They also tend to have a slightly larger Jewish population and are less WASP.  However, they too have many who live off Wall Street and hedge funds and again are not happy with a 3.8% boost in Cap Gains and Dividends taxes.  They are bluer than their counterparts in SW CT but do vote pocketbook.  Sarah Palin was also a factor.  

    Fairfield is home of some Hedge Funds also GE.  You forgot to mention Sacred Heart U.  It is fairly Catholic.

    Trumbull/Monroe are more Blue Collar than any other town in CT-04.  I can't really explain why these areas would vote GOP as the GOP has nothing to offer them outside of extreme religious ideologically driven policies but yet they tend to be reliably red.

    Oxford/Shelton is part of the Naugatuck Valley.  Very blue collar.  Lots of low info voters here and in all the valley.  Also lots of East European people.  Poles, Czechs, Hungarians etc.  Somehow they've been duped into voting against their own best interests by preying on the fear of creeping communism and Obama the Marxist devil.  Not sure if it is racially driven as much as historical fear of communism from the old country.    

    Wilton and Ridgefield are old money.  Also a very old population.  A good number of Catholics in these towns and Wilton especially seems to have quite a few NYC transplants.      

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 07:10:12 AM PST

    •  I grew up in Trumbull... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's a fairly racist (by Connecticut standards, no one would say the N word) town, as most of its residents were (a generation or two back) white flight escapees from Bridgeport.  

      I remember as a child in the 1980s, the Republican mayor lost because, in a moment of unusual candor, he admitted that he was opposed to building affordable housing in the town because"the Puerto Ricans will move here."

      Not that I think that much of anyone voted against Obama because of his race.  But there was a core of older voters who became Republican because they were upset with what happened to Bridgeport during the 1970s, and they blamed the Democrats for it.  Enough anyway to make it nominally more Republican than Fairfield.  

  •  Do you have maps like these (0+ / 0-)

    comparing Jim Himes's performances in 2010 and 2012? Those would be very interesting.

    (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), new ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

    by ProudNewEnglander on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 08:44:32 AM PST

  •  Loved this (0+ / 0-)

    Really interesting write up, thanks a lot.

    Think Himes is a statewide candidate at some point? Assuming if he can win here, the rest of the state, save the 5th district, is a lot bluer.

    21, Male, LA-02, LA-06 (former), TX-08 (home), SSP: sschmi4

    by Stephen Schmitz on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 09:02:11 AM PST

    •  Not quite (0+ / 0-)
      The rest of the state, save the 5th district, is a lot bluer.
      CT-02 is less than a point bluer in PVI (it went more for McCain by less than a point and went less for Romney by less than a point) than CT-04 is. Your assertion is correct about CT-01 and CT-03, though.

      Home: North Shore of Illinois, College: Main Line of Pennsylvania (PA-07)

      by IllinoyedR on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 09:35:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's fascinating how Himes has locked down (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalLiberal, KingofSpades, GoUBears

    this district. It was represented by Republicans for 40 years prior to his win in 2008, and prior to Himes, Donald Irwin was the only Democrat who managed to get re-elected to the seat in the past century.

    •  Chris Shays was really... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pistolSO, KingofSpades

      Barely a Republican, at least rhetorically.  

      I remember once I was on a strike line, and he actually came out and spoke to us.  Not a rousing pro-labor speech, of course, more along the lines of "everyone wants this to come to a mutually beneficial conclusion," but it was no worse than what half of Democrats would say.  

      •  He was the only GOP member of the pro-LGBT caucus (0+ / 0-)

        Ros-Lehtinen came into it after he left, I think.  I wonder if he shifted to the right in his Senate run.

        Age 23. Voting in NJ-03. Lived most of life in NJ-01. Had Rush Holt represent me during my undergrad years and am now represented by Frank Pallone in my grad school.

        by KingofSpades on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:12:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Really good diary (0+ / 0-)

    and fascinating discussion in the responses.

    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

    by MichaelNY on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:06:36 AM PST

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