28 November 2011

Rank 21 / 31: Minnesota

Minnesota




The Battleground state from 2008 that never was really a Battleground“


AN EXTENDED ANALYSIS
Table1: Overview of the last 6 cycles

YearRank.Winning %% Margin% Margin over NationalNotes
200821 / 3154.06%+10.24%+2.98%
200416 / 3651.09%+3.48%+5.94%
200017 / 3547.91%+2.40%+1.88%Strong Nader showing.
199612 / 4051.10%+16.14%+7.62%
199211 / 4143.48%+11.63%+6.07%Strong Perot showing.
198806 / 4652.91%+7.02%+14.75%

Minnesota margin average, 1988-2008 (6 cycles): DEM+8.49%

Note: it seems counter-intutive that MN has actually moved down a total of 10 places in the liberal rankings from 1988 to 2008, but the DEM percentage in this state has gone up continually since 2000. That coupled with the fact of a landslide +10.24% win in MN in 2008, but with the state „only“ in 21st place, means that 20 other states had larger landslides in 2008 than MN, 2 of them being DEM pick-ups from 2004: NM and NV. So, the slippage of MN in the partisan rankings, but the much higher margin is once again statistical proof of the solidity of the Democratic Electoral column from 2008.


MN county-by-county EXCEL spreadsheet
(raw totals for 2008 and 2004, margins, swings, % of state PV, county growth rate)



Trend: STEADY DEMOCRATIC



The Partisan Rankings over 44 years

The partisan rankings for Ranking 21 (Minnesota) from 2008 backwards in history to 1964 in Table-format (highlighted in yellow):


Rank2008Margin '082004Margin - 042000Margin '001996Margin '961992Margin '921988Margin '88Rank1984Margin '841980Margin '801976Margin '761972Margin '721968Margin '681964Margin '64
01 – 51DC85,92%DC79,84%DC76,20%DC75,85%DC75,55%DC68,34%01 – 51DC71,66%DC61,49%DC65,12%DC56,54%DC63,64%DC71,00%
02 – 50HI45,26%MA25,16%RI29,08%MA33,39%MA18,52%RI11,71%02 – 50MN0,18%GA14,81%GA33,78%MA8,97%RI32,25%RI61,74%
03 – 49VT37,01%RI20,75%MA27,30%RI32,89%RI18,02%IA10,22%03 – 49MA2,79%RI10,47%AR30,01%MN5,51%MA30,12%HI57,52%
04 – 48RI27,81%VT20,14%NY24,98%NY28,86%AR17,72%HI9,52%04 – 48RI3,65%WV4,51%WV16,14%RI6,19%HI21,12%MA52,74%
05 – 47NY26,86%NY18,29%HI18,33%HI25,29%NY15,85%MA7,85%05 – 47MD5,49%MN3,94%MA15,67%SD8,63%MN12,53%ME37,68%
06 – 46MA25,81%MD12,98%CT17,47%VT22,26%VT15,70%MN7,02%06 – 46PA7,35%MD2,96%AL13,11%WI9,67%ME12,23%NY37,25%
07 – 45MD25,44%CT10,37%MD16,39%ME20,86%IL14,24%WV4,74%07 – 45IA7,39%HI1,90%SC13,04%OR10,12%MS40.44%WV35,87%
08 – 44IL25,11%IL10,34%NJ15,83%CT18,14%MD14,18%OR4,67%08 – 44NY8,01%MA0,15%TN13,00%CA13,46%WV8,82%CT35,72%
09 – 43DE24,98%CA9,95%DE13,06%NJ17,86%CA13,39%NY4,10%09 – 43WI9,18%TN0,29%MN12,87%MI14,39%MI6,73%MI33,61%
10 – 42CA24,03%ME9,00%IL12,01%IL17,51%WV13,02%WI3,62%10 – 42WV10,51%AR0,61%RI11,28%IA17,13%NY5,46%VT32,61%
11 – 41CT22,37%HI8,74%CA11,80%AR16,94%MN11,63%WA1,59%11 – 41HI11,28%AL1,30%NC11,05%NY17,34%CT5,16%AK31,82%
12 – 40ME17,32%DE7,59%VT9,94%MN16,14%WA11,44%IL2,08%12 – 40OR12,17%MS1,32%KY7,19%WA18,28%LA20.11%NJ31,75%
13 - 39WA17,08%WA7,18%WA5,58%MD15,99%HI11,40%PA2,32%13 - 39IL12,88%KY1,46%MD6,07%CT18,44%AL47.13%MD30,94%
14 - 38MI16,44%NJ6,68%MI5,13%DE15,25%MO10,15%MD2,91%14 - 38WA12,97%SC1,53%LA5,78%IL18,52%PA3,57%PA30,22%
15 - 37OR16,35%OR4,16%ME5,11%WV14,75%OR9,95%VT3,52%15 - 37CA16,25%NC2,12%DE5,41%PA19,98%WA2,11%KY28,36%
16 - 36NJ15,53%MN3,48%PA4,17%MI13,21%PA9,02%CA3,57%16 - 36TN16,27%DE2,33%FL5,28%MT20,08%MD1,64%MO28,10%
17 - 35NM15,13%MI3,42%MN2,40%CA12,89%NM8,56%MO3,98%17 - 35VT17,11%NY2,67%NY4,43%DE20,41%TX1,27%MN27,76%
18 - 34WI13,90%PA2,50%OR0,44%WA12,54%ME8,33%NM4,96%18 - 34OH18,76%ME3,36%MO3,63%OH21,56%AR7.64%OR27,75%
19 - 33NV12,49%NH1,37%IA0,31%LA12,07%DE8,20%CT5,10%19 - 33MI18,99%WI4,72%TX3,17%ME22,98%MO1,13%NH27,28%
20 - 32PA10,31%WI0,38%WI0,22%IA10,34%MI7,40%MT5,87%20 - 32DE19,85%LA5,45%PA2,66%AK23,51%NJ2,13%TX26,82%
21 - 31MN10,24%IA0,67%NM0,06%WI10,33%CT6,43%SD6,34%21 - 31MO20,05%VT5,96%HI2,53%MD23,90%OH2,28%OH25,89%
22 -30NH9,61%NM0,79%FL0,01%NH9,95%IA6,01%CO7,78%22 -30GA20,39%MI6,49%MS1,88%NM24,49%AK2,64%WA24,59%




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MN ELECTORAL DEVELOPMENT


MN Electoral Development (electors through history): 4 (1860-1868), 5 (1872-1880), 7 (1884-1888), 9 (1892-1900), 11 (1904-1908),12 (1912-1928) ,11 (1932-1960), 10EV (1964-present).

SUMMARY


Minnesota is the 21st most liberal state and the 31st most conservative state, with a Democratic winning margin of +10.24% and having voted 2.98% more Democratic than the national margin in 2008. It was the 16th most liberal state in 2004, with a Democratic winning margin of +3.48% and having voted 5.94% more Democratic than the national margin in that year. MN was the 17th most liberal state in 2000, with a Democratic winning margin of +2.40% and having voted 1.88%moreDemocratic than the national margin in that year. 


From 1904-2008, Minnesota went for the GOP 
9 times, for the DEMS 16 times and 1 time for an Independent candidate (Roosevelt, 1912).

Since 1948, Minnesota went for the GOP times, for the DEMS 13 times.(approx. 1:3 ratio)

With the inclusion of the Republican party in the Electoral College in 1856, Minnesota was a GOP bastion all the way up to 1932. In fact, it was a GOP double-digit state for 12 of 13 cycles from 1856-1908.


MN loved Teddy Roosevelt and gave him 73.98% (+55.13% margin) of the vote in 1904, an absolute record in MN history, but then broke the Republican winning streak in 1912 by again choosing Teddy Roosevelt as the „Bull-Moose“ candidate, who won with+5.81% of the vote in a three-way race against Incumbent Taft (R) and Wilson (D). From 1916-1928 (5 cycles), MN remained reliably Republican. 

76 years after the inclusion of the GOP in the Electoral College, a Democrat finally won MN, and he won it big: FDR took the North Star State with 59.91% of the PV and a +23.62% margin in 1932, which made for a state-wide partisan shift of +43.26% over Hoover (R) from 1928. The nation as a whole has never seen a national partisan shift of this magnitude. In 1936, FDR increased his margin in MN to +30.83%, still above the national average. He held MN in both 1940 and 1944, albeit with drastically reduced margins of +3.83% and +5.55%, respectively. It is this margin from 1944 that is very telling, for an increase in Democratic percentage margin in any state in the Union 1944 over 1940 was very rare, it only happened in 6 of 48 states. 

Minnesota really liked Truman/Barkley in 1948 and gave the Democratic ticket a landslide +17.76% margin.

Since 1948, the electoral history of MN is easy to describe: it only went 3 times for the GOP (Eisenhower '52 and '56, Nixon '72). It went for IKE by a reduced margin in 1956, going strongly against the grainin a major GOP year. The other 13 cycles from 1948-2008, MN went for the Democratic ticket. 6 of those wins were double-digit wins, 6 were single digit wins. Or, to put it easily, the statistics from MN on the presidential level are a sea of „blue“ from 1960 to today, with a lone „red“moment in 1972. In 1972, MN was Nixon's smallest margin (+5.51%) and the second smallest Republican margin in the state's history, after 1916. It took a national partisan shift of +22.98% in 1972 to flip MN to the GOP for just one single cycle in the last 48 years.

As both NH and VT have gone into the annals of history as being the only two states in the Union to resist all 4 FDR landslides, DC and MN are the only two „states“ in the Union to successfully resist both Reagan landslides (1980, 1984). This makes MN the state with the longest consecutive Democratic voting record outside of DC: 9 cycles in a row from 1976-2008.

Obama's 2008 landslide in MN, with +10.24% (just slightly smaller than his landslide in Pennsylvania), broke the single-digit trend from 2000 and 2004 and was:

-the largest Democratic win by winning percent since 1964.
-the largest Democratic winning margin in a two-man race since 1976.
-the longest Democratic voting record in MN's history.

An interesting side-note going into 2012: Obama's winning margin in MN in 2008 (+10.24%) and Clinton's margin from 1992 (+11.63%) are pretty darned close to the Carter/Mondale margin from 1976 (+12.87%) or the Humphrey/Muskie margin from 1968 (+12.53%), which is somewhat telling as MN is the home state to both Mondale and Humphrey. It tells us that under normal conditions, this is a very reliable low double-digit state for the Democrats, similar to West Virginia vis-a-vis the Republican Party.


MN and Incumbents

Like 
RI and MI, Minnesota has rewarded incumbents who won re-election in percentage, but the „State minus Natl's“ (partisan Value) is all over the board. For both incumbents who LOST re-election in recent history (Bush 41, Carter), the partisan Value (or TREND against the National) was actually in favor of the losing party:



President -MNYear / MarginYear / MarginState ShiftNational Shift:State minus Nat'l
FDR1932 / +23.621936 / +30.83+7.21+6.49+0.72
FDR1936 / +30.831940 / +3.83-27.00-14.30-12.70
FDR1940 / +3.831944 / +5.55+1.72-2.46+4.18
Eisenhower1952 / +11.221956 / +7.60-3.62+4.55-8.17
Nixon1968 /+12.531972 / +5.51+18.04+22.98-4.94
Carter1976 / +12.871976 / +3.94-8.93-11.80+2.87
Reagan1980 / -3.941984 / -0.18+3.76+8.48-4.72
Bush 411988 / -7.021992 / -11.63-4.61-13.29+8.68
Clinton1992 / +11.631996 / +16.14+4.51+2.96+1.55
Bush 432000 / -2.402004 / -3.48-1.08+2.98-4.06
Obama2008 / +27.812012 / ????????????



Red shading = GOP pick-up



To explain this gobbledygook, the most important value to understand is the “State minus Nation” value, in the right-most column, shaded in grey. 
If it is a positive number, then this is good for that incumbent. Unlike RI and MI, where most of the “State minus National”numbers are positive, MN is a mixed-bag of results, but mostly positive TREND values for the Democratic Party.


From the table above, let's look at the last two Presidents where the state was won in at least one election or both elections with double digit margins: Bush 41 and Clinton. Here is a fascinating pattern in the statewide partisan shift:


George W. Bush, Sr. lost MN to Michael Dukakis by a -7.02% margin in 1988. He also lost the state to Bill Clinton in 1992, thistime by -11.63%. That makes for a negative partisan shift of 4.61%for Bush, or a positive 4.61% shift for the Democrats, from Dukakis to Clinton.


Bill Clinton won the Gopher State both times, with the already aforementioned +11.63%in 1992 and again with +16.14% in 1996, which made for a 4.51% positive shift for Clinton or a negative 4.51% shift for the Republicans, from George W. Bush, Sr. to Bob Dole.


Those numbers are easy to identify as being practically identical to each other: 4.61% (1988-1992), 4.51% (1992-1996). Interesting is that this number is so stable, regardless of a two man race or a three man race.


Take a look at Reagan 1984 over 1980: +3.76 (Democratic Party -3.76%)
Or Eisenhower, 1956 over 1952: +3.62% (Stevenson -3.62%)


Those two numbers are also incredibly close to each other: 3.62%, 3.72%. 

The numbers are different for Bush 43, 2004 over 2000, as the state dipped into low single digit margins and from two low values can only come a low value.


In four of these cases, the national shift was radically different each time.


So, we can say that, on the whole, the state-wide shift in MN in incumbent re-elections has been around the 3.5% mark through the 80s and the 4.5% mark through the 90s, and generally good for the incumbent.


Now, let's look at the trend (State shift minus Nat'l shift): here theTREND has been against every incumbent Republican since 1936 except one: George W. Bush, Sr. The TREND has been for every Democratic incumbent or Democratic challenger in these elections since 1932, and were I to add 1964 over 1960 and 1948 over 1944, we would also see positive trends for the Democrats there as well. Only 1968 over 1964 would show negative TRENDS, as the LBJ landslide in 1964 was so massive, and well, what comes up, must come down.


Only once in MN's electoral history has it „flipped“ against the Incumbent: it flipped against Hoover (R) in his re-election bid of 1932. 


Only once in MN's history has an incumbent „flipped“ MN to his party in his re-election bid, meaning, he did not win the Land of 10,000 Lakes the first time around: Nixon in 1972.

Every Democratic incumbent who ran for re-election has won MN a second time, regardless of the national results.

Based on its voting record, MN is not a bellwether state, having missed the winner in 8 of the last 26 cycles, or 100 years,and more recently, it has missed the winner 6 times since 1960.


Why was MN called a „battleground“ in 2008?

In the election of 2008, as his own campaign manager admitted afterwards, John McCain made two major „Hail-Mary“ passes: he picked Sarah Palin to be his Vice-Presidential candidate and he decided to make a hard play for PA, which I have already described in the PA analysis here. But his team also did focus on MN and the GOP national convention in 2008 was held in MN. The McCain team sunk agreat deal of money in MN and after his team gave up on nearby MI, the visits to MN, especially from Sarah Palin, increased.


But in the rolling polling averages, the state was never really in play.


Interestingly enough, the election results from MN and PA – the two states John McCain picked to open as major battlegrounds, were almost carbon copies of each other:

StateEVObamaMcCainOther%MarginObamaMcCainOtherMarginTotal Vote
Wisconsin1056.22%42.31%1.47%+13.90%1,677,2111,262,39343,813+414,8182,983,417
Nevada555.15%42.65%2.20%+12.49%533,736412,82721,285+120,909967,848
Pennsylvania2154.47%44.15%1.38%+10.31%3,276,3632,655,88583,228+620,4786,015,476
Minnesota1054.06%43.82%2.12%+10.24%1,573,3541,275,40961,606+297,9452,910,369
New Hampshire454.13%44.52%1.35%+9.61%384,826316,5349,610+68,292710,970


The McCain team may have chosen to call MN a battleground, bit it was never really a battleground in 2008. Of the 51 polls conducted in MN from November 2007 to November 2008, McCain won 5 polls (3 of them in 2007), there was one tie and Obama won the othe r45 polls. There was great disparity in poll results, but interestingly enough, the composite average of the last 7 polls, from 10/29/2008 – 11/02/2008, showed Obama with an average margin of +12 over McCain. Does that number ring a bell? Go to the big table from posting number 1 and look again at the margins for Clinton '92, Carter '76, Humprey'68, etc... lots of margins around +12%. Fascinating. And in too many polls, Obama came well above 50%, which is a sure-fire sign of a win in progress. As it turned out, the end polling average overstated Obama's winning margin by +1.76%, butunderstated both the top and bottom line (the percentage average fo rObama and for McCain). Here the polling from MN in 2008:

Minnesota – polling 2008



Pollster
Date
Obama
McCain
Other
Und.
Margin
FINAL AVG:
11/04
53.00
41.00
1.43
4.57
+12.00
Actual results:
11/04
54.06
43.82
2.12
---
+10.24
Difference

-1.06
-2.82
-0.69

+1.76







11/02
53
42
--
5
11
11/02
49
46
3
2
3
10/31
53
38
4
5
15
10/31
57
41
--
3
16
10/30
48
40
2
10
8
10/30
56
37
--
6
19
10/29
55
43
1
1
12
10/25
42
37
--
21
5
10/23
56
41
1
2
15
10/23
50
40
--
10
10
10/23
57.3
37.9
1.4
2.3
19.4
10/19
50
44
4
3
6
10/19
52
39
4
5
13
10/19
52
41
--
7
11
10/14
51
43
1
5
8
10/09
47
46
1
6
1
10/08
52
45
1
2
7
10/07
54
40
2
4
14
10/05
55
37
--
8
18
10/03
46
47
4
3
1
10/01
54
43
--
3
11
09/23
47
45
2
6
2
09/22
52
44
2
2
8
09/21
48
47
--
5
1
09/18
47.3
44.5
2.3
4.7
2.8
09/14
45
45
--
10
0
09/12
49
47
1
3
2
09/03
53
41
--
6
12
08/21
48
38
4
10
10
08/18
47
45
4
4
2
08/14
49
45
2
4
4
07/24
46
44
2
8
2
07/22
49
37
6
8
12
07/14
52
34
4
10
18
07/08
48.3
31.7
12.7*
7.3
16.6
06/26
54
37
1
8
17
06/17
47
46
--
7
1
06/13
52
39
6
3
13
06/02
47
42
--
12
5
05/25
53
38
4
5
15
05/18
51
38


13
04/24
52
38
 
 
14
04/17
49
43
 
 
6
03/21
47
43
 
 
4
03/20
46
47
 
 
1
03/06
49
42
 
 
7
02/22
55
40
 
 
15
02/16
53
38
 
 
15
01/23
42
49
 
 
7
12/18
41
50
 
 
9
11/09
43
46
 
 
3



Can MN become abattleground in 2012?



Probably not. Any state can suddenly become a battleground, if conditions are right for such a shift, but none of those conditions exist yet. Obama still has strong favorability numbers in MN and is winning in current polling match-ups. Even Tim Pawlenty, during his time as a candidate, was unable to make MN competitive for the GOP. This electoral history of this state speaks strongly against the state flipping against an incumbent Democratic president. It took a winning percentage of 60.67%and a +22.98% national margin shift for Nixon to win this state by +5.51% for the GOP in 1972, just one time in the last 48 going on 52 years, and that was coming from the election before that was a squeaker win for Nixon. To get to 60% of the PV in 2012 as Nixon did in 1972, the GOP candidate will first need a swing of 7.26% just to get back to 50-50, and then again a swing of 20% to add 10% more to his percentage, meaning that the GOP candidate would need a +27% shift for MN to flip. This is most likely not going to happen in 2012.
State Superlatives
MN SuperlativesYEARCandidateWinning %Notes
GOP1904Roosevelt, T.73.98%+55.13% margin
DEM1964Johnson63.76%
IND1912Roosevelt,T.37.66%IND victory
---------------------Winning Margin %
All-time “squeaker”1916Wilson+0.10%



In Minnesota, the Governor, Lt. Governor both Senator and 4 of 8 congressional Representatives are Democrats (labeled as „DFL“ in Minnesota: „Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party“). The other 4 congressional representatives are Republican. In the Minnesota Legislature, the Republican Party has a strong 56 to 44 majority in the Senate and a nominal 54-46 majority in the House. 

Facit: in 2007, I wrote: though 16th in the partisan rankings, Minnesota is without a doubt within the top 5 “firewall” states. It has only gone 3 times for a Republican in the last 55 years, and that only in the case of a major landslide. The strong liberal vein of thinking in MN should actually cause HRC do do better here than Kerry did in 2004.“


Halfway prophetic words. The DEM margins in 2008 across the board were indeed higher, and then reversed in 2010. Of couse, HRC did not become the nominee...


Facit 2011: based on its electoral history, MN is highly unlikelyto desert an incumbent Democratic president, even in the case of a Republican landslide in 2012, which I consider even more unikely.