09 June 2009

The 9.25 pick-up states from 2008 - analysis complete!!!

Now that all 9 Democratic pick-up states plus NE-02 have been analysed, I have also provided an exhaustive and most unique non-partisan summary of the pick-up states. I can guarantee you that there is information in this summary that you will not find anywhere else in this quality, clarity or combination.

There are a number of side-documents that go with the summary, plus links to all of the nine analyses and the GE 2008 final analysis for the entire Union.

I want to explain again that I have farmed this kind of thing out to Google Docs as it makes it easier for me to publish charts, tables and graphics. It is my hope that you will read the summary in it's entirety. There are surprises all over the place that only become apparent when one scratches under the surface and researches the GE 2008 at the county level, county for county. In the case of the 9.25 pick-ups, we are talking about 696 counties.

Here the links to the individual analyses, with a detailed description afterwards:


OHIO - Part I, Part II, Part III , raw data
INDIANA - Part I, Part II and Part III, raw data
IOWA – Part I, Part II, Part III, raw data
NEBRASKA CD-02 – raw data


VIRGINIA – Part I, Part II, Part III, raw data
NORTH CAROLINA – Part I, Part II, Part III, raw data
FLORIDA – Part I, Part II, Part III, raw data


COLORADO – Part I , Part II , Part III , raw data, special 9-county 48-year voting history study
Supplemental to Colorado: DEMOGRAPHIC and ECONOMIC profile of Colorado (p.4, hispanic population)

NEW MEXICO – Part I, Part II, Part III, raw data, special 12 county 48-year voting history study
Supplemental to Nevada: DEMOGRAPHIC and ECONOMIC profile of New Mexico(p.4, hispanic population)

NEVADA - Part I, Part II , Part III, raw data, special 6 county 48-year voting history study
Supplemental to Nevada: DEMOGRAPHIC and ECONOMIC profile of Nevada (p.4, hispanic population)

A analysis for NE-02 (which is the „.25“ part of „9.25“) will be published when I have received the complete precinct data for Douglas and (part of) Sarpy counties from election officials who are willing to dig up the data over 48 years for me. But a comparison 2008 to 2004 is already possible and here is the raw-data.

Links to the large analysis for the entire Union:

Part I of the summary contains:
-links for the individual analyses for all the pick-up states plus the links for the GE 2008 analysis for the entire Union are given again. They will be reproduced at the bottom of this diary entry.

-an overview of the raw vote and percentage totals for the pick-ups states, first for 2008 only and then a comparison to 2004.

-three maps. One shows the geographic position of the pick-ups within the USA. The second shows the geographical relationship between the pick-ups and the Democratic retentions from 2004. The third shows the Democratic states from 2008 plus the 5 leanest GOP wins from 2008.

-a question: "How does this compare on a historical level?" 

The question is referring to the number of electoral votes that changed parties in 2008, namely, 113 EV. I then provide a table showing each general election back to 1948 and how many electors changed parties, and in which direction. The answer to the question is that Obama's EC shift is on par with the last election cycle, but less than in the 1980s.

Afterward, there is an introduction to the county-level analysis, including an exact numeric count of counties per state: Democratic retentions, Democratic pick-ups, Republican retentions and Republican pick-ups.

"In the pick-up states, the Democratic party retained 146 of 148 Democratic counties from 2004 and then picked-up an additional 89 counties, for a total of 235 counties (33.76%). The Republican party lost 89 counties from 2004, retaining 459 counties and then picked-up 2 counties, for a total of 461 (66.24%). 235 + 461 = 696 counties."

"Nationally, all 9 states trended Democratic as Obama won them and their electors according to the WTA (winner-takes-all) system, but when we look at the inner details, the picture is much clearer: 642 of 696 counties in the pick-up states (92.24%) swung Democratic. The remaining 54 counties (7.76%) swing Republican. This indicates a statistical grand sweep for the Democratic party in the pick-up states. 
In 4 states, the ENTIRE state trended Democratic: Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada (all three western pick-ups) and Indiana.The pick-up in Indiana is historic not only because this is the first time since 1964 that a Democrat has won the state, but it also had the largest partisan shift of all 50 states in the GE 2008: +21.71%

The state with the largest contra-trend (Republican) against the national trend: Florida."
Part I ends with maps of Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina, showing the geographic position of the 28 counties that swung Republican, showing their proximity to Appalachia.

You can link to Part I via Google Docs.

Part II starts with an extensive study of the 39 largest counties out of the 9.25 pick-ups states, plus Durham County (NC) as honorable mention.
"I have done a statistical analysis of the 39 largest counties of the 9.25 pick-ups. These are all counties that had a total vote of more than 170,000 and at least one candidate should have also gotten at least 100,000 of those votes or very,very close to it. All of those counties meet both criteria. Two counties (Stark County / OH, Washoe County / NV) had no candidate with 100,000 votes or more, but in both cases one candidate was very close to 100,000 and the countwide total vote was well over 170,000. Those 39 counties accounted for 44.49% of the total popular vote of the pick-up states, which is actually slightly LESS than it was in 2004 for the same states: 44.91%. Nonetheless, when only 39 of 696 analysed counties (5.60%, numerically) have almost half the electoral firepower of the region, then it is statistically very clear that the large urban areas have the real electoral firepower in presidential elections. The candidate who sweeps the urban areas has a far better chance of winning the presidency.

Of these 39 counties, there were 21 Democratic retentions, 8 Democratic pick-ups and 10 Republican retentions. This means that of the same 39 counties in 2004, the picture was much more even: in 2004, there were 21 Democratic counties of these 39 and 18 Republican counties.

The Democratic party picked up Hillsborough (Tampa) and Pinellas (Clearwater) counties in Florida, Wake (Raleigh) county in North Carolina, Washoe (Reno) County in Nevada, Hamilton (Cincinnati) County in Ohio, Jefferson (Golden) and Arahapoe (Littleton) counties in Colorado and Douglas (Omaha) County in Nebraska."

The important thing about this study is it's depth and breadth: each of the 39 (40) counties are analysed comparing 2008 to 2004, measuring raw vote and margin differences, also the counties' percentual take of their respective states' popular vote and also their take of the pick-up states combined. But the counties are also each given a spreadsheet to trace their voting history back to 1960 and the results are nothing less than amazing!
Next, from the analysis in Part II:

-the largest raw vote total of all 39 counties: Miami-Dade County, FL: 864,636 votes

-the largest Democratic winning raw vote total: Miami-Dade County, FL: 499,831 votes
-the largest Democratic raw-vote margin of the pick-ups: Cuyahoga County, OH (Cleveland): +258,542 vote margin
-the three highest Democratic winning percentages: Denver- CO, Boulder, CO and Cuyahoga- OH: 75.45%, 72.29% and 68.70%, respectively.
-the three largest Democratic winning margins (by percent): Denver- CO, Boulder- CO and Cuyahoga- OH: +52.41%, +46.14% and +38.74%, respectively
-the highest democratic margin-shift (swing): Marion County, IN: +26.40% margin shift. This is especially impressive, as this shift was not from a pick-up, but rather, a Democratic retention county.

-the largest Republican winning raw vote total: Duval County, FL: 210,537 votes
-the largest Republican raw-vote margin of the pick-ups: El Paso County, CO: +51,419 vote margin
-the three highest Republican winning percentages: Butler - OH, El Paso- Co and Lee- FL: 60.52%, 58.69% and 54.67%, respectively
-the three largest Republican winning margins (by percent): Butler - OH, El Paso- CO and Brevard- FL: +22.58%, +18.82% and +10.37%, respectively
-the lowest negative Republican margin-shift (swing): Brevard County, FL: -5.73% margin shift

All of the Democratic retentions and pick-ups showed raw vote, percentual and margin GAINS.
All of the Republican retentions showed percentual and margin LOSSES.
4 of the Republican retentions showed raw-vote gains: Brevard, Lee, Polk and Pasco counties, all in Florida. The other 6 Republican retentions showed raw-vote losses.

9 Republican or Democratic tipping-point (margin = less than 4%) counties from 2004 became solid Democratic wins in 2008: Pinellas, Volusia and Orange Counties-FL, Wake, Guilford and Mecklenburg Counties- NC, Montgomery and Stark Counties - OH, Arapahoe County- CO

5 Republican retentions have become tipping point counties for 2012: Sarasota (+0.10%), Virginia Beach (+0.71%), Duval (+1.90), Seminole (+2.70%) and Pasco (+3.75%) . Statistically this means that 1/2 of the Republican retentions studied here are endangered territory for 2012 and (this has been proven historically many times over) in the case of a sucessful re-election campaign for the Democratic party in 2012, these five counties are the most likely candidates to become Democratic pick-ups in 2012.

O Democratic retentions or pick-ups are tipping-point counties for 2012.
Here is the EXCEL SPREADSHEET that has all of the raw calculations for the 39 (40) largest counties.
In order to simplify the look of the table and make the information easier to see, I created a table to show the chronological progression of each county from 1960 to 2008. For each county and year, I have assigned either a D, R or an I, depending on which party won the county in that year. And then I have shaded each cell according to winning party. I then organized the table in order from CORE GOP counties to CORE DEM counties. Take a good, hard look at the table when you read Part II, it is most enlightening.
You can link to Part II via Google Docs.
"In the case of some counties that visually look as if they should be core GOP counties there is instead the marking -steady-; these are GOP counties that should be core counties, but which almost flipped in 2008, so their status is now uncertain. And some Democratic counties are marked as -steady- as the margins are very lean.
But the table makes it very easy to see which years are landslide years: 1972 and 1984, to a smaller extent 1992 and 2008. In 1972, we see a sea of red go through all counties except Lucas County, OH. In 1984, we see a sea of red go through all counties except the bottom 5. At the top we see 3 core GOP counties that also resisted the Johnson landslide of 1964. Notice that all three counties are in Florida.
Starting in 1988, the Democratic party started re-building in the urban areas:
3 counties were added to the Democratic column in 1988, resisting the GOP pull in that year: Boulder, Summit and Lucas counties. And those counties have become core DEM counties since then.
8 counties joined the Democratic column in 1992 and have stayed there since then: Palm Beach, Broward, Volusia, Bernalillo, Franklin, Montgomery, Clark, Miami-Dade. They are mostly strong DEM counties, save for Montgomery and Volusia, which tend to go with leans margins. There are 4 more counties that joined the Democratic column in 1992, but were reclaimed by the GOP in either 1996 or 2000: Pasco, Wake, Stark, Guilford. Pasco returned to the GOP in 2004 and has stayed there. It is therefore the only county to complete buck the blue trend, in spite of reduced margins in 2008.
Mecklenburg and Pinellas counties joined the Democratic column in 1996, were reclaimed by the GOP in 2000 or 2004 and were reclaimed by the Democratic party in 2004 or 2008.
Fairfax joined the Democratic column in 2000 and has stayed there since, with ever increasing margins.
Orange and Marion counties joined in 2004 and were retained in 2008. Both of these retentions had massive margin shifts toward the Democratic party in 2008: +18.41 and +26.40%, respectively.
The 8 counties that Obama picked-up are clear to see in the middle of the table. Six of those counties have one thing in common: this is the first time they have gone Democratic since 1964, statistical evidence of a sweep similar to but not as extreme as Johnson in 1964: Hamilton, Douglas, Jefferson, Wake, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties were slightly smaller wins for the Democratic party than in 1964. However, Washoe and Arapahoe counties were larger wins for the Democratic party than in 1964, thus breaking a 44 year record. Notice that both of those counties are in the west.
We can see clearly from the table that the last time a party had flipped 8 counties or more was in 1992, when Bill Clinton picked-up 12 counties. George W. Bush, Jr. picked up 3 counties in 2000 and 1 more in 2004. Those counties returned to the Democratic party in 2000 or 2004.
In 1988- just analyzing these 40 counties- there were 8 Democratic counties and 32 Republican counties. In 1992, out of the same mix of 40 counties, there were 20 Republican counties and 20 Democratic counties, an even split. In 2000, there were 21 Republican counties and 19 Democratic counties. But in 2004, in spite of a republican re-election, the Democrats had 22 counties, the Republicans 18. And now in 2008, it's 30 Democratic, 10 Republican. There can be no doubt about it: statistically, the urban areas in the Union have moved decisively to the Democratic party in 47 of 50 states (the evidence for which I will present before the end of 2009). This example from the 9.25 Democratic pick-ups is mild in comparison to the statistical data that came out of cities in core Democratic territory: Philadelphia (83% for Obama), Detroit (74% for Obama), New York (86% for Obama), Los Angeles (69% for Obama), Seattle (70% for Obama), Portland (77% for Obama) Chicago (76% for Obama), Boston (64% for Obama), Honolulu (70% for Obama), Milwaukee (67% for Obama), Madison (73% for Obama), New Orleans (79%), Baton Rouge, Dallas (deep in GOP territory: 57% for Obama), St. Louis (60% for Obama) etc, etc, etc."
"The Democratic wins in the pick-up states, as in the retentions, was not the example of the Democratic party barely holding on the to so-called "blue" states plus one "red" state or getting to one vote over 50%. The sweep through the pick-ups is statistically clear. The last time a sweep like this happened in the Republican party, it held the white house for 12 years. On the other hand, Johnson and Nixon had massive sweeps in 1964 and 1972 and in spite of this,the White House switched hands in the following cycles. So, though such a sweep is no forecast for the future, the data tells us quite clearly where the new battle lines will form in these nine states for the 2012 General Election. And both parties will be targeting key counties in key districts in 2010 in order to sway the affected area to their side before 2012 even gets off the ground."