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On Daily Kos Elections, many commentators throughout the summer and fall assumed Tim Kaine would outperform Barack Obama's total in Virginia.  This turned out to be true.  However, commentators also said they couldn't imagine any Obama-Allen voters, and speculated who those voters could be.  I decided to find out for myself, and so I made a map.  The bluer the county, the more the Democrat outperformed Obama.  The redder, the more they underperformed.  In this first installation of the series, I have three maps: Virginia, Montana, and Ohio.

 photo virginiasen2012_zpsee95de66.jpg

Unsurprisingly, Tim Kaine's strongest overperformance came in Virginia's ancestrally Democratic Southwest, the most Appalachian part of the state, more similar to Eastern Kentucky than the rest of the state.  A cluster of ten counties in the Southwest and one county near that cluster all had Kaine outperform Obama by at least 3%, a not-insubstantial amount of ticket splitting in a race where neither candidate deviated much from their party.  Of course, a bit of that may be racism; some of those voters may be Democrats who would have voted for Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, or other White Democrats, but not Barack Obama.  

In much of the rest of the state, Kaine ran a point or two ahead of Obama.  This was fairly uniform; it included many rural counties, more urban places like Norfolk or Alexandria, as well as suburban areas like Fairfax and Loudoun Counties as well as the Richmond suburbs.  Unlike some races, this race didn't really have the Republican candidate overperforming in the ancestrally Republican suburbs.  Part of this may be Allen's past; his offensive statements regarding African-Americans ("what position did you play?") and South Asians ("macaca") are most likely to turn off suburban voters who like voting for moderate or mainstream Republicans, but not those they see as extreme.  Even Loudoun County, an area I'd expect to have a decent number of voters who split their ticket, had Obama run behind Kaine.  A second explanation for why this didn't occur is that Romney was a great fit for moderate suburbanites.  Allen may have run ahead of George Bush or Rick Santorum, but enough swingy, wealthy moderates went for Romney that he couldn't outrun him.

Finally, and most interestingly to me, there were some areas where Allen did outrun Romney.  I'm going to break these down into three areas.

1) The Southside: Much of Southern Virginia and some of the Hampton Roads area had Allen outrun Romney.  There are multiple potential explanation for this.  Firstly, there is the possibility that Allen had particular appeal to Black voters.  I'm discounting this theory for obvious reasons.  Secondly, it's possible some Black Republicans voted for Obama out of racial solidarity, but voted Republican for other offices.  In my opinion, this is unlikely because of Allen's history, but could have occurred a bit.  Most likely to me is the idea that some low-info, mostly Black voters skipped the Senate race but voted for Obama, or turned out with the intention of only voting for Obama, leading to Allen outperforming Romney.

2) Appalachia (Bob Goodlatte's district): Six Appalachian counties had Allen do better than Romney.  In my opinion, this is the most likely place for there to actually be Obama-Allen voters.  I don't really know why that would be, though.  But the area is very White, so it's not due to minority dropoff.

3) Prince William County: This county has a lot of minorities but is ancestrally Republican.  Therefore, either of the two theories could apply.  However, the fact that Loudoun County, which is similarly ancestrally red, had Kaine overperform Obama leads to my guess that it's due to low-info minorities skipping the Senate race here as well.

Now on to Montana, where Jon Tester beat Denny Rehberg in a race I expected him to lose.

 photo montana2012senate_zpsd8b1b109.jpg

Here, as we can see, Tester outran Obama everywhere, no surprise considering his moderation and the fact that he won in a red state.  There don't appear to be strong patterns here, but I can identify a couple.
1) Native Americans: Tester didn't outrun Obama as well in counties containing reservations.  I'm not sure why this is.
2) Ranchers: Tester, from the Central, ranching part of the state, did better in the eastern two-thirds of the state than the mountainous western part.  He likely had less appeal to mountain-dwellers.  
3) Home-County Strength: Tester's home of Chouteau County is the dark-blue county that is furthest north, near the center of the state.  He did well there.  Rehberg didn't do that great in his home county, Yellowstone (Billings), the county where the C in "Crow" is located on the map.

Finally, Ohio.
 photo ohiosen2012_zps766960c9.jpg

Sherrod Brown is known as a blue-collar Democrat, closely linked to unions and manufacturing.  Therefore, he should do well in auto-manufacturing areas and relatively poorly in the suburbs, right?  Well, that didn't happen.  Here's what did.

1) Josh Mandel's strength: Mandel did pretty well in the Northwest fourth of the state.  That area has been Republican for over a century.  What surprises me, however, are the five counties he won in the Eastern half.  That area has historically been purple at worst for Democrats, yet he outran Sherrod Brown!  I don't know why this is, and I can think of no reason at all that Obama would be uniquely appealing there, but that's what happened.  Like George Allen, Josh Mandel didn't do better than average in suburban, ancestrally Republican areas like Hamilton County or Franklin/Delaware Counties.

2) The Exurban Counties: Sherrod Brown did very well in Warren, Medina, and Geauga counties, three exurban places where Republicans always win.  Perhaps Romney was very appealing there?  Otherwise I have no explanation.

3) Home Base: Sherrod Brown grew up in Mansfield.  Apparently he's still popular there.

4) Autos: I don't see any correlation between auto plants and Brown overperforming.

5) Eastern and Southern Ohio: These ancestrally Democratic areas gave Brown the overperformance we all expected.

Anyway, that's part one.  Any help with potential explanations? Feedback? Leave comments!

Originally posted to jncca on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 04:31 PM PST.

Also republished by Virginia Kos.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
    Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
    UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.5.38, -3.23

    by jncca on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 04:31:03 PM PST

  •  I apologize (0+ / 0-)

    For some reason, the number "0" vanished from the poll.  So if you missed no races, kudos to you!

    20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
    Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
    UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.5.38, -3.23

    by jncca on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 05:04:48 PM PST

  •  MT Indian Reservations (5+ / 0-)

    I think the most likely reason Tester barely over performed Obama in counties with large Indian populations is most likely because Obama was close to maxing out Natives, and Tester pulled in the few who didn't vote for him or people in the surrounding areas.

    Really liked this though, thanks for sharing!

    23, Male, LA-02, TX-08 (originally), SSP: sschmi4

    by Stephen Schmitz on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 06:38:02 PM PST

    •  Yes, that's what I was about to say. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Obama did really well amongst the bulk of the NA community across the nation.  For instance, Shannon County, SD is entirely within an Oglala Lakota community, is 94% Native American, and was Obama's best county in the entire nation in 2012 (93.39% Obama).

      "Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game." -Voltaire

      by KingofSpades on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 06:50:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'll add to that... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KingofSpades, wwmiv

      You'll see the same pattern in South Dakota, the counties that Heitkamp overperformed Obama the least in were ones with reservations.

      Additionally, in New Mexico, where Obama tended to outperform Martin Heinrich the most were in the reservation areas (look specifically at McKinley County).

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

      by NMLib on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 07:05:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Allen-Obama Voters in VA? The Mormon thingie (0+ / 0-)

    I bet there was group of voters who were dead set against voting for a Mormon and Catholic, so they voted for the Protestant candidates.  Voters like that still exist in some parts of VA.

    •  But (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NMLib, jncca, skibum59, Audrid

      With those voters being black is probably just as big (if not bigger) sin than being Mormon or Catholic. And not only that, there's a fairly high correlation with those views and believing that Obama is Muslim, which is just as bad.

      I'd imagine those voters voted Allen and then a third party for President or even didn't vote for President (which would still cause Allen overperformance anyway!).

      23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

      by wwmiv on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 08:08:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this. (0+ / 0-)

    Are you going to do all the states that had Senate races?

    I hope you do WI soon. :)

    Farm boy, 20, who hit the city to go to college, WI-03 (home, voting), WI-02 (college), -7.00, -3.13, Coya shouldn't have been sent home.

    by WisJohn on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 08:26:11 PM PST

    •  WI (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KingofSpades, Alibguy

      will be in the next installation :) I've already mapped it.
      Teaser: Baldwin did worse than Obama in Dane County but better in Pierce.

      20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
      Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
      UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.5.38, -3.23

      by jncca on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 08:54:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Baldwin did better than Obama in Wood County (0+ / 0-)

        as in she won it and got more votes than Obama there.

        "Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game." -Voltaire

        by KingofSpades on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 09:25:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It will be interesting (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        To see how Feinstein performed compared to Obama in California.

        As for a reason for Obama/Allen votes in Virginia, I would not be surprised if there were a few African American Republicans who went for Allen. In 2006, the exit polls showed Allen with 15% of the AA  vote, it may be an anomaly but still...

        Obama also over performed in NW Ohio because of the auto industry presence there, he did well there in 2008 and over performed.

        As for Northern Virginia, Kaine seems pretty popular there (he did win PW and L in 2005 there,) while Allen could not win Prince William and Loudon in 2006 either.

        For more election analysis and redistricting maps, check out my blog CA-2 (former CA-6) College in CA-37. Go Trojans!!

        by Alibguy on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 09:34:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  CA (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not sure I'll do it, because it takes like five attempts in order for it to not crash.  But from what I've looked at earlier, it seems DiFi did similarly everywhere.  Definitely no counties she underperformed Obama in.

          20, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)

          Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
          UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.5.38, -3.23

          by jncca on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 10:39:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  interesting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades, jncca, NMLib

    For the VA counties, compare Obama's and Allen's raw votes as opposed to vote shares. If the combined Obama-Allen vote exceeds the total presidential vote (including protest candidates) then there must have been some actual Obama-Allen voters. If not, Obama may have outperformed Kaine just because of dropoff.

    SSP poster. 43, new CA-6, -0.25/-3.90

    by sacman701 on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 03:49:26 PM PST

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