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For all the time we spend worrying about swing states—who’s polling well in them, how candidates are tailoring their messages to them, and so on—it’s not really that clear what a swing state even is. (There even used to be a blog initially devoted to that very question, and I’m not sure it ever got definitively answered there …) There’s a general sense that it’s the band of states that were the closest in the previous election, and thus will probably be closely contested again in the next election. But there’s also the sense that it’s the “bellwether” states, the ones that are close to the national average and that narrowly break in favor of whoever wins nationwide.

The problem is, those two definitions don’t necessarily match up. The states that were closest in the previous election may not dovetail with the next election; a state’s position in the spectrum of states may vary a lot, depending on how much money and manpower the campaigns pour into the state and whether that state’s unique demographics mesh with the candidate’s appeal. (Take the case of Indiana, for instance; nobody would have guessed that it would be the third-closest state in the 2008 election, based on how dark red it was in the 2004 election, and nobody seems to think that its closeness in 2008 will mean that it’s again in play in 2012.)

And, conversely, just because a state is usually close to the national average doesn’t mean it’s always going to be close. If it’s a close election (like 2000 or 2004), then they will, but if it’s not a close election, the “swing” states don’t wind up being that close, and the tide starts sloshing up into the safer states. Like, for instance, a blue state (Illinois) being the closest in 1988, or a red state (Indiana) one of the closest in 2008.

The constant change in who is and isn’t a swing state is easier to see in graphic form than it is to describe, though, and here’s a handy chart putting the states in the last six presidential elections into rank order. The percentage in each cell is the percentage the Democratic candidate got in a two-way heat. Where it says “Par” in each column, that’s the two-way percentage that the Democratic candidate got nationwide; that helps you see how the candidates fared in each state in relation to the rise or fall of the overall tide each year. As you can see, some states (Iowa, Pennsylvania) usually appear right near the national average regardless of who’s winning. In other places, you can see one-time swing states turning safely blue (New Jersey) or safely red (Louisiana), safely red states gradually turning into swing states (Florida, Virginia), and even safely blue states not even pausing in swing state territory before becoming safely red states (West Virginia).

1988 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008
D.C. 85.2% D.C. 90.8% D.C. 90.1% D.C. 90.5% D.C. 90.5% D.C. 93.4%
Rhode Is. 55.9% Mass. 62.1% Rhode Is. 69.0% Rhode Is. 65.6% Mass. 62.7% Hawaii 73.0%
Iowa 55.1% Rhode Is. 61.8% Mass. 68.6% Mass. 64.8% Rhode Is. 60.5% Vermont 68.9%
Hawaii 54.8% Vermont 60.3% New York 66.0% New York 63.1% Vermont 60.3% Rhode Is. 64.2%
Mass. 54.0% Arkansas 60.0% Hawaii 64.3% Hawaii 59.8% New York 59.3% New York 63.6%
Minnesota 53.6% New York 59.5% Vermont 63.2% Conn. 59.3% Maryland 56.6% Mass. 63.2%
Oregon 52.4% Illinois 58.6% Maine 62.7% Maryland 58.5% Conn. 55.3% Maryland 62.9%
W. Virginia 52.4% California 58.5% Conn. 60.4% New Jersey 58.2% Illinois 55.2% Illinois 62.7%
New York 52.1% Maryland 58.3% New Jersey 60.0% Delaware 56.7% California 55.0% Delaware 62.6%
Wisconsin 51.8% W. Virginia 57.8% Illinois 59.6% California 56.2% Maine 54.6% California 62.3%
Wash. 50.8% Minnesota 57.7% Minnesota 59.4% Illinois 56.2% Hawaii 54.4% Conn. 61.3%
Illinois 49.0% Wash. 57.6% Arkansas 59.4% Vermont 55.4% Delaware 53.8% Maine 58.8%
Penn. 48.8% Hawaii 56.7% Maryland 58.6% Wash. 52.9% Wash. 53.6% Wash. 58.8%
Maryland 48.5% Oregon 56.6% Delaware 58.6% Maine 52.7% New Jersey 53.4% Oregon 58.4%
Vermont 48.2% Missouri 56.5% W. Virginia 58.4% Michigan 52.6% Oregon 52.1% Michigan 58.4%
California 48.2% Maine 56.1% Michigan 57.3% Penn. 52.1% Minnesota 51.8% New Jersey 57.9%
Missouri 48.0% Penn. 55.5% California 57.2% Minnesota 51.3% Michigan 51.7% New Mex. 57.7%
New Mex. 47.5% Delaware 55.2% Wash. 57.2% PAR 50.3% Penn. 51.3% Wisconsin 57.1%
Conn. 47.4% New Mex. 55.1% Louisiana 56.6% Oregon 50.2% New Hamp. 50.7% Nevada 56.4%
Montana 47.0% Michigan 54.6% Wisconsin 55.9% Iowa 50.2% Wisconsin 50.2% Penn. 55.2%
S. Dakota 46.8% Connecticut 54.1% Iowa 55.7% Wisconsin 50.1% Iowa 49.7% Minnesota 55.2%
PAR 46.1% Iowa 53.7% New Hamp. 55.6% New Mx. 50.003% New Mex. 49.6% New Hamp. 54.9%
Colorado 46.0% PAR 53.5% * Penn. 55.2% * Florida 49.995% * Ohio 48.9% Iowa 54.8%
* Michigan 46.0% * Colorado 52.8% PAR 54.7% New Hamp. 49.3% PAR 48.8% * Colorado 54.6%
Louisiana 44.8% Wisconsin 52.8% Oregon 54.7% Missouri 48.3% Nevada 48.7% PAR 53.6%
Ohio 44.5% Louisiana 52.7% New Mex. 54.0% Ohio 48.2% Colorado 47.6% Virginia 53.2%
Maine 44.2% Tennessee 52.6% Ohio 53.6% Nevada 48.1% Florida 47.5% Ohio 52.3%
Kentucky 44.1% Kentucky 51.9% Missouri 53.5% Tennessee 48.0% Missouri 46.4% Florida 51.4%
Delaware 43.8% Nevada 51.8% Florida 53.2% Arkansas 47.2% Virginia 45.9% Indiana 50.5%
Texas 43.7% Montana 51.7% Tennessee 51.3% W. Virginia 46.8% Arkansas 45.1% N. Carolina 50.2%
N. Dakota 43.4% New Jersey 51.4% Arizona 51.2% Arizona 46.7% Arizona 44.7% Missouri 49.9%
Kansas 43.3% Ohio 51.2% Nevada 50.9% Louisiana 46.1% N. Carolina 43.8% Montana 48.8%
New Jersey 43.1% New Hamp. 50.8% Kentucky 50.5% Virginia 45.9% W. Virginia 43.5% Georgia 47.4%
Arkansas 42.8% Georgia 50.3% Georgia 49.4% Colorado 45.5% Tennessee 42.8% S. Dakota 45.7%
N. Carolina 41.8% N. Carolina 49.5% Colorado 49.2% Georgia 44.0% Louisiana 42.7% Arizona 45.7%
Tennessee 41.8% Florida 48.8% Virginia 48.9% N. Carolina 43.5% Georgia 41.7% N. Dakota 45.6%
Oklahoma 41.6% Arizona 48.7% Montana 48.3% Alabama 42.4% S. Carolina 41.4% S. Carolina 45.5%
Alabama 40.3% Texas 47.8% S. Dakota 48.1% Kentucky 42.3% Miss. 40.1% Texas 44.1%
Indiana 39.9% S. Dakota 47.7% N. Carolina 47.5% S. Carolina 41.9% Kentucky 40.0% Miss. 43.4%
Georgia 39.8% Virginia 47.4% Texas 47.3% Indiana 42.0% Indiana 39.6% W. Virginia 43.3%
Virginia 39.6% Kansas 46.5% Miss. 47.3% Miss. 41.4% Montana 39.5% Nebraska 42.4%
Miss. 39.5% Wyoming 46.2% Indiana 46.9% Kansas 39.1% S. Dakota 39.1% Kansas 42.4%
Nebraska 39.5% Alabama 46.2% S. Carolina 46.8% Texas 39.0% Texas 38.5% Tennessee 42.4%
Arizona 39.3% Indiana 46.2% Alabama 46.3% Oklahoma 38.9% Kansas 37.1% Kentucky 41.8%
Nevada 39.2% S. Carolina 45.4% N. Dakota 46.1% S. Dakota 38.4% Alabama 37.1% Louisiana 40.5%
Florida 38.7% Miss. 45.1% Oklahoma 45.6% Montana 36.3% Alaska 36.8% Arkansas 39.8%
Wyoming 38.6% Oklahoma 44.4% Wyoming 42.5% N. Dakota 35.3% N. Dakota 36.1% Alabama 39.1%
S. Carolina 37.9% Alaska 43.4% Kansas 39.9% Nebraska 34.8% Oklahoma 34.4% Alaska 38.9%
Alaska 37.8% N. Dakota 42.1% Alaska 39.6% Alaska 32.1% Nebraska 33.2% Idaho 37.0%
New Hamp. 36.8% Idaho 40.3% Nebraska 39.4% Idaho 29.2% Idaho 30.7% Utah 35.5%
Idaho 36.7% Nebraska 38.7% Idaho 39.2% Wyoming 29.0% Wyoming 29.7% Oklahoma 34.4%
Utah 32.6% Utah 36.2% Utah 38.0% Utah 28.3% Utah 26.7% Wyoming 33.4%

If you’re wondering why this uses only the Democratic and Republican shares of the overall vote, that’s the best way to smooth out differences between different elections, where the presence of third parties may or may not matter. For instance, that’s the way that Charlie Cook calculates Partisan Voting Index. As you can see, it doesn’t seem to affect the overall results much, particularly in the case of Ross Perot’s 1992 and 1996 runs, where he seemed to draw votes about equally from both sides of the aisle. In fact, it seems a little more pronounced with Ralph Nader’s 1996 and 2000 runs, where some of the states where he performed the strongest (Oregon, Wisconsin) show a noticeable dip into swing state territory thanks to votes being siphoned from only one side of the ledger.

And if you’re wondering what the little asterisks are next to one state each year, that’s the “tipping point” state, a form of analysis that Nate Silver came up with back in 2008. In each year, that’s the state that would have put the Democratic candidate barely over the top in the Electoral College, starting with the first three in the District of Columbia and working your way down the totem pole until getting to 270 votes. As you can see from the chart, the whole hyperventilating over swing states may be a little overdone in the first place; the tipping point is almost always right next to the national average. The one exception, as you can see from the distance between the tipping point state (Florida, naturally) and the national average, seems to be Al Gore’s 2000 campaign, which seems to point to a tactical misfire on their part: They ran up the score in the safely blue states, enough to win the Popular Vote, without allocating the resources to bring home enough swing states.

You’ve probably noticed, if you’ve stared hard enough at the chart without your eyeballs falling out, that some states stay pretty constantly in the narrow band near the national average, while others are on more of a diagonal trajectory, moving from safe to swing or vice versa. (Or a V-shaped trajectory if you’re Arkansas, which went red to blue back to red, thanks to the presence of favorite son Bill Clinton.) That left me asking, which of the states are truly the swingiest? In other words, which ones float constantly with the national tide, instead of going in one direction or the other?

I developed a simple formula for figuring that out, and the result may not surprise you. It’s the state that usually is one of the first to get mentioned when pundits talk about what states the road to the presidency goes through, and it really did hold the key to the 2004 election (in terms of where the pre-election focus was, where the post-election threats of litigation were, and also what state was closest to the national mean): Ohio.

State 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008 Total
Ohio R+1.6 R+2.3 R+1.1 R+2.1 D+0.2 R+1.4 8.6
New Mexico D+1.4 D+1.7 R+0.7 R+0.2 D+0.8 D+4.0 8.8
Pennsylvania D+2.7 D+2.1 D+0.4 D+1.9 D+2.5 D+1.5 11.2
Iowa D+9.1 D+0.3 D+1.0 R+0.1 D+0.9 D+1.2 12.5
Wisconsin D+5.7 R+0.7 D+1.2 R+0.2 D+1.4 D+3.4 12.5
Colorado R+0.1 R+0.7 R+5.5 R+4.8 R+1.1 D+0.9 12.9
Michigan R+0.1 D+1.2 D+2.6 D+2.4 D+3.0 D+4.7 13.8
Missouri D+1.9 D+3.1 R+1.2 R+2.0 R+2.4 R+3.8 14.2
New Hampshire R+9.3 R+2.7 D+0.9 R+0.9 D+1.9 D+1.2 16.9
Florida R+7.4 R+4.6 R+1.6 R+0.3 R+1.3 R+2.3 17.4

This, of course, doesn’t mean that any Barack Obama electoral strategy should be based, at all costs, on winning Ohio, as if it magically holds the key to the entire country. As you can see by looking at the overall totem pole of states from top to bottom each year, and where the “tipping point” always falls, it’s always a national election, just in a nation where Ohio falls right in the middle. If you’re losing the country badly, Ohio is long gone, and if you’re winning easily, then Ohio is already in the bag.

Much more discussion over the flip …

The math used to arrive at Ohio as the swingiest may not be immediately apparent; here’s what it means. The D+ and R+ figures are probably familiar to those of you who use PVIs to talk about electoral propensities; it’s how far that state, that particular year, deviated from the overall national norm. In Ohio, for instance, Mike Dukakis got 44.5 percent in Ohio in 1988, which was 1.6 percent less than his national average of 46.1 percent; in 1992, Bill Clinton got 51.2 percent in Ohio, which was 2.3 percent less than his national average of 53.5 percent, and so on. As you can see, Ohio lagged the national average every year except 2004 (when John Kerry heavily contested it at the expense of, say, Colorado), but consistently by only a small margin. Add up the six deviations, and the total is 8.6, the smallest total of any state.

A fair question might be why I’m adding up the absolute value of each deviation, rather than, say, averaging them out by adding D+ figures and subtracting R+ figures. I tried it that way too, but the results don’t seem to be as “swingy” that way. If you use that approach, Missouri winds up as the swingiest state (1.9 + 3.1 – 1.2 – 2.0 – 2.4 – 3.8 = -4.4). That’s fitting, given its historical “bellwether” status, but not too fitting, as it’s slowly been receding into the red column lately. This alternate method manages to capture Missouri balanced on a knife point, averaging the years (1988, 1992) when it was slightly Democratic-friendly against the years (2004, 2008) when it started to become Republican-friendly instead. The Missouri result instead would be an artifact of what year I started counting. (If I went further back, to the 50s or 60s, I could probably get an even stranger result, like Illinois or New Jersey being the swingiest state.) Of course, there’s always going to be an artificialness to the result, depending on the start date; even using absolute values, if I’d started in 1992 instead of 1988, Iowa would be the swingiest state (by lopping off Mike Dukakis’s lopsided victory there in ’88, thanks to the now-long-forgotten mid-80s farm crisis) and Florida would be right behind it (as it was redder than most of the Deep South back in the 80s, when it was a much whiter state).

There’s also one other potential approach to this question, which, instead of using the deviation from the floating national average (which is kind of a pointy-headed political science idea), uses an idea that’s more resonant to the layperson: how close the election in each state was over the six elections. In other words, not asking how far the state was from “par,” but rather from 50 percent in a two-way race, or the point where you actually win. Interestingly, the swingiest state is still Ohio, though this shows traditional bellwether Missouri coming close too. (Here, the deviation from 50 percent in Ohio in 1988 was 5.5, the deviation in 1992 was 1.2 percent, and so on; add it up for a total of 15.5.)

State 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008 Total
Ohio 44.5% 51.2% 53.6% 48.2% 48.9% 52.3% 15.5
Missouri 48.0% 56.5% 53.5% 48.3% 46.4% 49.9% 17.5
Wisconsin 51.8% 52.8% 55.9% 50.1% 50.2% 57.1% 17.9
Colorado 46.0% 52.8% 49.2% 45.5% 47.6% 54.6% 18.9
Florida 38.7% 48.8% 53.2% 50.0% 47.5% 51.4% 19.5
New Mexico 47.5% 55.1% 54.0% 50.0% 49.6% 57.7% 19.8
Iowa 55.1% 53.7% 55.7% 50.1% 49.7% 54.8% 20.0
Pennsylvania 48.8% 55.5% 55.2% 52.1% 51.3% 55.2% 20.5
Nevada 39.2% 51.8% 50.6% 48.1% 48.7% 56.4% 22.8
North Carolina 41.8% 49.5% 47.5% 43.5% 43.8% 50.2% 24.0

If at this point you’re still haven’t succumbed to numbers overload, this kind of analysis can be applied to smaller units, too. Been wondering what the swingiest county is? Wonder no more! Switching back to the original method, based on absolute deviation from the national “par,” the nation’s swingiest county is: Shiawassee County, Michigan! This rural/exurban county of about 70,000, located in the gap between Lansing and Flint, is, out of more than 3,000 contenders, the most average place in America.

Or maybe you’re wondering what is the swingiest county of the swingiest state? That honor falls to Ottawa County, Ohio, a rural lakefront county of 40,000 near Toledo. Right behind it is Stark County, the most populous of the top 10 swingiest counties and location of Canton (and, apparently, a whole lot of swing voters).

State 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008 Total
Shiawassee, MI R+0.4 D+0.2 D+0.9 R+0.7 R+2.2 D+0.7 5.1
Jefferson, WV R+1.3 D+0.1 R+0.1 R+0.9 R+1.9 R+1.2 5.6
Calhoun, MI R+0.2 D+2.9 D+0.9 D+0.7 R+0.5 D+1.1 6.3
Ottawa, OH D+0.1 D+1.1 D+2.4 R+1.4 R+0.8 R+0.5 6.3
Stark, OH R+1.7 R+0.3 D+0.2 R+1.2 D+2.1 R+0.9 6.4
Otsego, NY R+0.1 R+2.7 D+1.9 R+1.9 D+0.1 R+0.7 7.3
Sumter, GA R+2.4 D+1.9 D+1.1 R+0.8 D+0.7 R+0.7 7.5
Calhoun, SC R+0.4 R+0.1 R+2.9 R+1.5 D+0.8 R+1.9 7.6
Westmoreland, VA R+2.4 R+1.5 D+1.1 R+0.4 D+0.8 D+1.5 7.6
Clackamas, OR D+3.2 R+0.6 R+1.5 R+0.6 D+0.6 D+1.6 8.1

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 01:16 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is awesome (14+ / 0-)

    I got to watch as this post came together behind the scenes, but it's really great to see it all laid out so clearly in one place. Excellent work, Jarman.

    Political Director, Daily Kos

    by David Nir on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 02:04:40 PM PST

    •  I agree! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, Larsstephens

      It's very cool.

      I'd love to help out with this sort of thing; statistics is my profession.

      Founder Math and Statistics Geeks . Statistics for progressives

      by plf515 on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 02:07:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rather than the swing (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, Odysseus, Larsstephens

        I think the best thing about it is the way it clearly highlights how different states are trending. It might be interesting to plot the movement on a graph.

        "There are a lot of reasons not to elect me." Mitt Romney (R-All Over The Map)

        by conspiracy on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 02:31:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Missouri and Florida (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY, Odysseus, Inoljt, Larsstephens

          definitely seem to be "goin' south."  I wouldn't waste a dime in Missouri.  And Florida is just hard to comprehend.  There's obviously more to the demographics than I am fully versed in, but it seems like it should be trending differently than it is.

          Ohio is winnable, and only state districting can explain why Michigan trends towards Democrats in the presidential election the way it does, yet elects Republicans at the state level.  Interesting contrast to West Virginia, which votes GOP for president but sends Democrats to the State Capitol.

          "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upwardly mobile." Hunter S. Thompson

          by Keith930 on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 02:47:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Florida has gone into reverse (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MichaelNY, SoCalGal23, Larsstephens

            Progressively more Democratic in each each election between 1988 and 2000 and then more Republican since.

            "There are a lot of reasons not to elect me." Mitt Romney (R-All Over The Map)

            by conspiracy on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 02:56:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Well (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I still think  we should give a little to MO as McCaskill will need all the help she can get to hold on to her senate seat.

            West Virginia is an interesting state almost similar to Kentucky with some Democratic Ancestral roots that make democrats popular from the local level. Even both democratic senators were popular governors in the state

          •  Each county in Florida is like (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            another state.  Demographics vary so much that it is hard to comprehend.  Talk about a whole other country.
            Forget Texas... Florida is like a whole other country ...
            You may have serious progressives in one county and
            moderates in another and die hard republicans in another and then wild with Teapartiers.  Key is GoTV.

            We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

            by Vetwife on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 07:23:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Florida biggest issue is that (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wishingwell, SadieSue

            the Republican vote is spread more evenly through out the state while the Democratic vote is very compact. This allows for very easy gerrymandering, this gives the GOP a huge advantage, more than the numbers in the state would indicate. Having lots of elected incumbent officials raising money, hiring staff, and building voting list helps build a state party.

            But even though he seems to want to live to 100 Catro's death, and more importantly the change in Cuban immigration status (when Cubans will have to immigrate like everyone else) will eventually catch up to them. Cuban Americans can afford to pay less attention to the GOP's anti-immigration turn because of the dry land law (get on to dry land and you get to stay). When that changes expect the GOP share to go from 66-80% to more like 55%-66%% enough to start tipping the state blue. There is a lot of social inertia to how groups vote so I don't think Dems will win the majority of them overnight, but when they are faced with the same immigration issues as Dominicans...

            If Cuban Americans start getting down to this level of support the Republican party can't gerrymander Miami as easily this will break them in the state.

            -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

            by dopper0189 on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 07:26:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I can do that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY, Larsstephens

          Time on x-axis, vote on y-axis, a line for each state.  Might have to make it two panels - 51 lines is a lot.

          Founder Math and Statistics Geeks . Statistics for progressives

          by plf515 on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 03:06:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Fascinating! (6+ / 0-)

    I love this sort of thing.

    I'd suggest, though, a weighted moving average of swinginess, with a correction for favorite son/daughter status.

    The weights should be higher for recent elections, clearly.

    Founder Math and Statistics Geeks . Statistics for progressives

    by plf515 on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 02:05:56 PM PST

    •  Definitely (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plf515, MichaelNY, TofG, Larsstephens

      I think this chart shows that with Arizona.

      "There are a lot of reasons not to elect me." Mitt Romney (R-All Over The Map)

      by conspiracy on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 02:20:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good suggestion (5+ / 0-)

      I just looked back at the numbers and tried a naive-extrapolation way of adding some weighting (by dividing the 1988 number by 6, the 1992 number by 5, the 1996 number by 4, the 2000 number by 3, the 2004 number by 2, and the 2008 number by 1), though maybe you have something fancier in mind.

      Amusingly, Ohio is still the swingiest state that way, although Iowa moves into second place, thanks to 1988's importance being diminished.

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 02:29:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ohio is very interesting (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        plf515, MichaelNY, TofG, Inoljt, Larsstephens

        The chart suggests a Democratic trend from 1992 thru 2004. Not so much in 2008 though but maybe that has more to do with Obama's specific strengths and weaknesses. I wonder though if it is evidence for why he seems to be polling better there this year than in Pennsylvania.

        "There are a lot of reasons not to elect me." Mitt Romney (R-All Over The Map)

        by conspiracy on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 02:35:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've usually chalked up (5+ / 0-)

          Obama's problems in Pennsylvania, relative to the other swing states (as seen in today's PPP poll), and maybe even more so New Hampshire, to their being whiter than the other swing states... and since he's fallen disproportionately among white voters, he'd be harder hit there. But Ohio, it turns out, is actually a few percentage points whiter than Pennsylvania, so that's not by itself much of an explanation. I think age may be a more decisive variable, since Obama's declines have also been faster among older voters, and Pennsylvania is, I think, the second oldest state (after retirement magnet Florida, another state where he's at risk... although while Pennsylvania just seems to keep getting older, in Florida you have Latino in-migration and natural increase quickly driving the average age down).

          Plus, there's probably some truth to Tom Jensen's speculation that in Ohio, the furor over SB5/collective bargaining has gotten some older, whiter union guys to rethink. There's nothing like that to bend the trajectory in Pennsylvania.

          Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

          by David Jarman on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 02:51:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  SB5 could well be it (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MichaelNY, Larsstephens

            But if anything I think the data suggests a Republican trend over time in PA. Not massive but it looks to be there.

            "There are a lot of reasons not to elect me." Mitt Romney (R-All Over The Map)

            by conspiracy on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 02:59:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  "Tip O'Neill" (0+ / 0-)

            (all politics is local)

             In 2004 the GOP had Tom Noe's ill gotten bundles of cash to spend off the books, however they wanted, free of any effort at fund raising, AND they had "The Hate Amendment" (anti-gay marriage) which demonstrated how effective Ohio's petition initiatives can be and how they drive turnout among targeted groups.

            Take away the ease with which the Hate Amendment made the ballot and Noe's money and that's PRESIDENT Kerry to you, sir.

            In 2010, Ted Strickland nixed a plan by labor groups to put a mandatory sick days initiative on the ballot because he said he wanted to be "friendly.. to business". HAH! It WOULD have helped business (even if they were too dumb to realize it at first.) And I STILL say that it might have helped him to survive the Red scourge. Don't believe me? You should have SEEN the poll numbers! WOW! 70+ % approval! (UH, what does that remind me of... hmmn something RECENT.) Kerry lost (at that time) twenty electoral college votes over 118,775  right to life voters who turned out for the hate amendment in 2004, and put the Shurd (shrub turd) back into the white house. Said voters stayed home in 2008, came back TO A SMALL EXTENT in 20010 (mostly our folks stayed home actually) AND WE LOST EVERYTHING.

            Hmmmn, I'd say, that's pretty "swingy." It's a fifty/fifty state (despite our weird registration rules) where ONE ISSUE framed the right way (or the WRONG WAY, like Issue three) blows up everything,

            "Right to work?" God must be a Democrat.Just think, all of the relationships, coordination, infrastructure, TRUST and motivation that went into Issue two- now MAGNIFIED against "right to work." It's SB5 for EVERYBODY. Evidence? Look at the ease at which we whipped out the signatures for Issue Two, then against voter suppression and now gerrymandering. Think of the thousands of cell phones ALREADY LOADED with the right phone numbers.

            How do ya get to Carnegie Hall? Practice,practice, practice. We got dis.

            One could argue, in fact, that sb5/issue two was wasted on a completely off-off year election. Ah, but fear not! The reactionary morons are VERY slow learners. Completely misinterpreting the results from issue 3, (and results from some deep red states) the blockheads are pushing, against Katsich's admonishments, to put "Right to Work" in Ohio. Oh, no, not here in the land of purple social con/econ prog. Kitchen table socialists.

            Here's all I'm gonna say:


            Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it,

            I was chatting with a salt of the earth friend who works heavy construction, who, until recently was basically apolitical. He already knew about right to work and he said:

            "DON'T BRING THAT WEAK SHIT UP IN HERE! Now we KNOW better!"

            I have said to prog activists wannabes, if ya wanna REALLY get in on the action, buy some WARM plaid flannel and move to Ohio.We might have a "weak bench" in some areas, but brothers and sisters, we got staffers whose claws still drip blood and they LIKE IT and TONS of issues to work on.

            "And git yer popcorn out...


          •  SB5 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            It will be very interesting to see if formerly Republican-voting firefighters and police who this year bellowed that they, due to SB5, will never vote Republican again will actually follow through--particularly on the national level.

            I hope so, but never underestimate the power of pure self-interest, however that is perceived.

          •  And our Governor in PA is moving slower than (0+ / 0-)

            Kasich with the massive cuts. He does it quieter and under the radar and he slower and sneakier. He sure pushed the Voter ID law and the education cuts for public schools and state universities were massive.  

            But he is not touching the public unions..yet.  But he will eventually.

            OUr Governor hides out where Kasich is out there spouting teabag rhetoric and Walker..both with their grandstanding.

            Corbett seems to hide out and when he does show up on camera, he cannot string a coherent sentence together.

            Corbett is mean and snippy and does not do well in front of the camera. But voters seemed to like him as AG because he did get several legislators indicted for crimes.

            •  Going after the unions (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              will occur in Corbett's second term.  And, as history has shown, PA Goverenors always get a second term.

              At the local level, PA is becoming much more red in terms of the state legislature and local municipal governments.  The age, whiteness factor, and continuing decline of PA industry, are undoubtedly the reason.

      •  I think it's more common (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        highacidity, Larsstephens

        to multiply, but the effect is the same.

        There's been some work done on best weights to use, but I doubt it would matter much.

        Do you have this as a .csv or .txt file or something?  (I am working on making one) then I could make graphs and stuff, and do other analysis.

        Founder Math and Statistics Geeks . Statistics for progressives

        by plf515 on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 02:40:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Virginia (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Setsuna Mudo, MichaelNY, TofG, Inoljt

    Look at that trend. Moves in a straight line.

    "There are a lot of reasons not to elect me." Mitt Romney (R-All Over The Map)

    by conspiracy on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 02:15:27 PM PST

  •  Wyoming. They had 1,680 earthquakes in 2011. (0+ / 0-)

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 02:46:25 PM PST

  •  Clackamas County! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, redrelic17, Larsstephens

    I've lived there 20 of my 26 years.

    Michigan seems to be trending blue, whereas I had thought it was doing the opposite.

    I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate, perhaps that's what no one wants to see. -6.38, -4.15

    by James Allen on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 03:09:29 PM PST

    •  Why did you think that? (4+ / 0-)

      Republicans won the state in every presidential election from 1972 to 1988, whereas Democrats have won it in every election from 1992 to 2008. It was more Democratic than Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa in 2000, 2004 and 2008. And if you're using political trends in the state as a measure of it's general trend, the 2010 elections were pretty deceptive because of Granholm's absolutely toxic approval ratings and Snyder's appealing campaign, plus the fact that the state's congressional map is a pretty effective Republican gerrymander.

      Is neither cool nor named Ben. MI-06 (Home), MI-02 (College), Male, 20. -7.25, -0.26.

      by koolbens on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 03:46:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  South Carolina (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, Odysseus, bfen, Larsstephens

    37.9% 5th most Republican
    45.4% 8th
    46.8% 10th
    41.9% 14th
    41.4% 16th
    45.5% 16th

    Slowly but surely.

    "There are a lot of reasons not to elect me." Mitt Romney (R-All Over The Map)

    by conspiracy on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 03:17:15 PM PST

    •  SC (4+ / 0-)

      1988 R+8.2
      1992 R+8.1
      1996 R+7.9
      2000 R+8.4
      2004 R+7.4
      2008 R+8.1

      They aren't moving. But there are a lot more deep red states now than there were in 1988. There's been a split between the interior south which is going r-e-d, and the coastal south which is either stable or trending blue.

      GA has bounced around some, but ends up in the same spot as in 1988:

      1988 R+6.3
      1992 R+3.2
      1996 R+5.3
      2000 R+6.3
      2004 R+7.1
      2008 R+6.2

      NC has more yankee and white-collar bridgeheads, and has lately trended blue:

      1988 R+4.3
      1992 R+4.0
      1996 R+7.2
      2000 R+6.8
      2004 R+5.0
      2008 R+3.4

      Then there's VA, which has become more of a border state than a southern state:

      1988 R+6.5
      1992 R+6.1
      1996 R+5.8
      2000 R+4.4
      2004 R+2.9
      2008 R+0.4


      SSP poster. 42, CA-5, -0.25/-3.90

      by sacman701 on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 03:30:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  check out iowa being better for team blue (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, TofG, Inoljt, Larsstephens

    than  massachusetts even with dukakis on the ballot

    18, D, new CA-18 (home) new CA-13 (college). Economic liberal, social libertarian, fiscal conservative. Put your age and CD here :) -.5.38, -3.23

    by jncca on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 03:37:56 PM PST

  •  Yay Shiawassee County! (5+ / 0-)

    My dad and most of my paternal side of my family are from there. I can finally tell him that it's one of the most notable places in America.

    I don't know if I'd really classify it as a rural/exurban county, though. Most of the people who live in the county live in small towns like Corunna, Owosso and Durand City, not in the rural areas or in the areas close to Saginaw or Flint. Traditional Blue Dog Democrat territory with lots of unionized voters that don't have the same cultural hangups that voters in Appalachia/the suburbs have. Livingston and Lapeer Counties are more exurban than Shiawassee.

    Is neither cool nor named Ben. MI-06 (Home), MI-02 (College), Male, 20. -7.25, -0.26.

    by koolbens on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 03:52:30 PM PST

    •  Definitions of rural and urban and suburban (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koolbens, MichaelNY, Larsstephens

      are tricky.

      From the Census Bureau

      For the 2010 Census, an urban area will comprise a densely settled core of census tracts and/or census blocks that meet minimum population density requirements, along with adjacent territory containing non-residential urban land uses as well as territory with low population density included to link outlying densely settled territory with the densely settled core.  To qualify as an urban area, the territory identified according to criteria must encompass at least 2,500 people, at least 1,500 of which reside outside institutional group quarters.  The Census Bureau identifies two types of urban areas:

          Urbanized Areas (UAs) of 50,000 or more people;
          Urban Clusters (UCs) of at least 2,500 and less than 50,000 people.

      “Rural” encompasses all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area.

      Founder Math and Statistics Geeks . Statistics for progressives

      by plf515 on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 04:20:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you; I didn't mean to... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        plf515, Odysseus, MichaelNY, Larsstephens

        Seem to give off a "I'm a local know-it-all" vibe. Shiawassee may have the demographic characteristics of an suburban/exurban area, but anyone who's been there can tell you that it's surprisingly rural for an area surrounded on all sides by major urban areas. It also used to have a quite exurban character (a lot of people would commute to Saginaw to work in the car industry), but now it's a mostly economically dying area, similar to those counties just north of Bay City, filled with older voters and retirees from Detroit.

        Is neither cool nor named Ben. MI-06 (Home), MI-02 (College), Male, 20. -7.25, -0.26.

        by koolbens on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 04:38:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No problem! (4+ / 0-)

          It's just that it is hard to operationalize the "feel" of a place.

          Shiawasee is in MI-08 CD. Per the 2000 census (as reported in Almanac of American Politics) MI-08 was 70% urban and 30% rural.

          The most rural district in the US is KY-05, which is 21% urban, 79 % rural

          The census doesn't define "suburban" or "ex-urban" AFAIK

          Founder Math and Statistics Geeks . Statistics for progressives

          by plf515 on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 04:48:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Last part is actually a good point. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MichaelNY, Larsstephens, plf515

            BTW, this really isn't that important, but Shiawassee is split between the 4th and the 8th, with the more Democratic, urban part in the 4th and the more rural, Republican part in the 8th (it was the same from 1991-2001). Same reason Saginaw County is split, although there it's an east/west divide. Just if anyone's ever wondered why tiny Shiawassee County is split in two (not that it's a big enough place to matter most years, though).

            Is neither cool nor named Ben. MI-06 (Home), MI-02 (College), Male, 20. -7.25, -0.26.

            by koolbens on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 04:59:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The county/CD/ZIP code (0+ / 0-)

              problem is a big one for geographical summaries.

              None of those three match with each other exactly.  I think ZIP codes don't even match with census tracts (there are ZIP codes with no residents, for instance; some office buildings are so large that they have a ZIP code).

              Counties are used a lot, but have a huge problem in that their population varies enormously. Loving County, TX had 82 people in 2010; Los Angeles County had almost 10 million people.

              CDs, at least, are mostly about the same population, but are drawn in infamously odd ways.

              Census tracts are kind of small, and there is not a lot of data available on a tract level.

              Founder Math and Statistics Geeks . Statistics for progressives

              by plf515 on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 04:12:46 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Shiawassee (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koolbens, MichaelNY, Larsstephens

      I live in Lansing, and technically, as defined by the Department of Management and Budget, which the Census uses to define metropolitan areas, Shiawassee County is part of Lansing's "combined statistical area" despite being wedged in between Lansing and Flint.  What this means simply is that Shiawassee sends more commuters to Lansing than it does to Genesee County.

      So, technically, it actually is exburban, and if it wasn't before it's definitely getting to be more exurban, now, and being tied closer in with Lansing's economy.

      •  Interesting; thanks. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, Larsstephens

        Did not know that.

        Is neither cool nor named Ben. MI-06 (Home), MI-02 (College), Male, 20. -7.25, -0.26.

        by koolbens on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:21:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'd still be interested to know... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, Larsstephens

        What percentage of those living in Shiawassee commute to Lansing for work. my guess would be it's still not that large compared to those commuters living in Clinton and Eaton Counties. And as I said in a post above, there used to be more people in the northern part of the county who would commute to Saginaw/Flint to work in the auto plants, but that's mostly stopped when those jobs dried up/became more competitive to get.

        Is neither cool nor named Ben. MI-06 (Home), MI-02 (College), Male, 20. -7.25, -0.26.

        by koolbens on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:33:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Metropolitan Areas (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koolbens, MichaelNY, Larsstephens

          Metropolitan areas are defined by counties, so when I said "Lansing" that includes Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties.  To form a "metropolitan statistical area (MSA)" a county has to send something like 25% of its commuters to the central county(ies).  To form a "combined statistical area" an exurban county has to send something like 15% of its commuters to any or all of the counties of an MSA.  So, Shiawassee sends at least 15% of its commuters to Lansing's MSA.

          I'd have to do some more researching, but I think Shiawassee County was added to Lansing's combined statistical area for the 2000 Census, and certainly no earlier than the 1990 Census.

  •  For some reason, I was compelled to (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bfen, Inoljt, Larsstephens, skibum59

    analyze this like a radio "heatseakers" chart. Here are the states that moved 10 or more positions on the chart in a few different time periods.
    #1 on the chart= most Dem, #51 = least Dem, so moving "up" means becoming comparatively more Dem in the time period.
    I am not a numbers guy, so excuse me if this is not the best way to present this.

    State, positions moved (position in X year, position in 2008)

    Moved up 10 or more positions from 2004 to 2008
    IN, 11 (39, 28)
    ND, 11 (46,35)
    MT, 11 (40, 31)

    Moved down 10 or more positions from 2004 to 2008
    AR, 16 (29, 45)
    LA, 10 (34, 44)

    Moved up 10 or more positions from 2000 to 2008
    IN, 11 (39, 28)
    MT, 14 (45, 31)
    SD, 11 (44, 33)

    Moved down 10 or more positions from 2000 to 2008
    AL, 10 (36, 46)
    AR, 17 (28, 45)
    LA, 13 (31, 44)
    TN, 14 (27, 42)

    Moved up 10 or more positions from 1996 to 2008
    CO, 10 (34, 24)
    IN, 13 (41, 28)
    NV, 12 (31, 19)
    OR, 10 (24, 14)
    VA, 10 (35, 25)

    Moved down 10 or more positions from 1996 to 2008
    AR, 33 (12, 45)
    KY, 11 (32, 43)
    LA, 25 (19, 44)
    TN, 13 (29, 42)
    WV, 24 (15, 39)

    Moved up 10 or more positions from 1992 to 2008
    CT, 10 (21, 11)
    HI, 11 (13, 2)
    IN, 15 (43, 28)
    NE, 10 (50, 40)
    NH, 10 (32, 22)
    NJ, 14 (30, 16)
    VA, 14 (39, 25)

    Moved down 10 or more positions from 1992 to 2008
    AR, 30 (15, 45)
    KY, 16 (27, 43)
    LA, 19 (25, 44)
    MN, 10 (11, 21)
    MO, 15 (15, 30)
    TN, 16 (26, 42)
    WV, 29 (10, 39)
    WY, 10 (41, 51)

    Moved up 10 or more positions from 1988 to 2008
    DE, 18 (27, 9)
    FL, 18 (45, 27)
    IN, 16 (38, 28)
    ME, 13 (25, 12)
    NH, 27 (49, 22)
    NJ, 16 (32, 16)
    NV, 25 (44, 19)
    VA, 15 (40, 25)
    VT, 12 (15, 3)

    Moved down 10 or more positions from 1988 to 2008
    AR, 12 (33, 45)
    IA, 20 (3, 23)
    KS, 10 (31, 41)
    KY, 16 (27, 43)
    OK, 14 (36, 50)
    LA , 20 (24, 44)
    MN, 15 (6, 21)
    MO, 13 (17, 30)
    MT, 11 (21, 31)
    WV, 31 (8, 39)

  •  Minnesota (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, Larsstephens

    Unfortunately it's shifting downwards towards becoming a swing state.  Not counting DC, in 84 it was the most Democratic state, in 88 it was the fifth most Democratic state, but in 08 we've dropped all the way to being the 20th most Democratic.  If you just look at raw vote totals it's difficult to see the pattern, but looking at the first chart makes the pattern much clearer.

    Kind of depressing to be honest.

    •  I Wouldn't Read A Lot Into the Decline..... (8+ / 0-)

      When Minnesota's blue streak began in Presidential elections, it was the first of three cycles where favorite son Walter Mondale was on the ticket, raising his numbers above the traditional baseline.  And in 1988, the farm crisis which also inflated Dukakis margins in Iowa had a similar affect on Minnesota's extensive farm region at a time when a far higher percentage of Minnesota's population lived in rural counties than do today.

      During the Clinton years, Perot was an easy vote sponge for center-right voters and suppressed the Republican margin in the two-party vote arguably more than in most other states.  It's no accident that a number of counties in the exurban Twin Cities went from double-digit Clinton wins in 1992 and 1996 to double-digit Bush wins in 2000 and 2004.  These areas didn't turn Republican that was just already-conservative Perot voters consolidating into the GOP camp and turning 44% Clinton counties into 54% Dubya counties.

      Now there was an undeniable turn towards Republicans in the early 2000s in the suburbs, and the 2000-2004 era was clearly one of robust population growth in the outer metro and a Republican insurgency, but most indicators suggest that insurgency has slowed to a crawl, and I think the 2010 election is a good indication of that....

      Here's my take.  Minnesota has become less Democratic in the last 25 years, but at the same time it has become harder for a Republican to win here.  At the time when Minnesota was among the top-five Democratic states at the Presidential level, we had two Republican Senators.  Today, it seems the Republican statewide victories in Minnesota have become as hard to pull off as a Democratic statewide victory in Indiana, as evidenced by recent elections of Al Franken, Mark Dayton, and every statewide office in the very heavily Republican 2010 midterms which Democrats nonetheless managed to sweep.  

      There's no way Mark Ritchie or Rebecca Otto would have won in a year like 1978 or even 2002, both Republican years but not as Republican as 2010.  The Democratic baseline has hardened that much...and it's either a majority or so close to it that Republicans are finding it harder to compete even though they've raised their own baseline vote.  I'm not worried about Minnesota, at least in the near future.

      •  Thanks (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, SoCalGal23, Larsstephens

        I'm just glad the GOP nominated Emmer and not someone more appealing to more Minnesotans.  If Marty Seifert was nominated instead of a hard right exurbanite, they would have the trifecta right now.  Many voters were sick of the DFL but could not stomach voting for Emmer.

        •  Agreed....Pretty Much Any Republican Except Emmer. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SoCalGal23, Larsstephens, LordMike

          ....would have likely won in Minnesota last year.  But I think part of the reason why so many Minnesotans voted Republican in the legislative races was because they thought Dayton was be Governor.  So my hunch is that if Emmer looked like he was gonna win the gubernatorial race before the election, more voters would have stuck with the DFL in the legislative races.  Just a theory, but I don't sense Minnesotans went into the 2010 election wishing to install Republicans in control of every level of state government.

          •  Voters like gridlock for some reason. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            It's the only explanation I can come up with for why my Senate district has two Democratic representatives and a Republican senator (Benjamin Kruse).

            (in Minnesota, a Senate district is evenly split into two House districts)

  •  Caught Me On a Busy Night With This....... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalGal23, Larsstephens

    ....but I still squeezed out nearly an hour studying the data.  Fascinating.  I smiled when I saw those grids with election results going back to 1988 as I recognized the exact same numbers in the exact same order as I compiled bluest-to-reddest state lists using the same two-party numbers way back in junior high (and for a graybeard like me, junior high take me back to 1992).  

    Thanks a lot for your hard work.

  •  I'm not sure I like adding the absolute deviations (5+ / 0-)

    It means that a state that goes from D+5 to R+5 is considered no swingier than a state that is R+5 in two elections. Now, maybe that's true if the former represented a R trend that was likely to continue, but maybe there were special circumstances in either or both of the elections or the state might just fluctuate a lot.

    It'd be neat if one of the stats guys (plf515?) could try to develop a model (or models) for how trends continue, based on historical relationships. For example, is a state that trends to one party five times in a row more likely to trend that way again, or "regress to the mean" by trending to the other party? Maybe even Nate Silver could be interested in this.

  •  One possible thesis-level work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'd like to see the effect of the changes in

    1) Immigration (or possibly minority populations)
    2) Education

    on each state, specifically the correlation of the change in D vote in each state relative to these two variables.

    If these two variables have the impact on D vote totals that conventional wisdom suggests, the correlation should be strong.

    "I hope; therefore, I can live."
    For SSP users, see my Tips for Swingnuts diary

    by tietack on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 08:45:38 AM PST

  •  It's still the economy (0+ / 0-)

    that will determine the outcome of 2012.  All the number crunching and micro-targeting in the world won't get Dems elected in 2012 unless there is significant improvement in the economy over the next year.

    "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one."

    by Betty Pinson on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 07:19:31 PM PST

    •  Obama's student loan (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      bill is going into effect in 2012.

      The war spending cuts (pentagon cuts) are going through. (obama is vetoing any circuventing of those and he is staying strong there).  

      Black Friday shopping sales shattered a record in terms of profit and consumer spending.

      Jobless claims are down from their elevations earlier in the year.

      There is some progressive happening :)

      •  good thing I'm starting school again next year! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate, perhaps that's what no one wants to see. -6.38, -4.15

        by James Allen on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 08:27:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  US voters are the final arbiters (0+ / 0-)

        They'll know how much their own lives have improved, vis a vis the economy, since 2009.

        Yes, there have been some improvements, but have they been enough to make a real difference?  

        Obama still has many options available through the power of executive orders.  There's still a great deal he can do to boost employment by bringing jobs back to the US.  Let's hope he decides to use them in time for voters to see a real benefit.

        "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one."

        by Betty Pinson on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 07:21:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  will you be refining it according to electoral (0+ / 0-)

    college voting weights?

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) refusing to have a battle of wits with unarmed people since 1980

    by annieli on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 07:23:12 PM PST

  •  I own NH... lol (0+ / 0-)

    Nice... Since I moved to New Hampster, I guess my voting habits are having the desired affect on the state.

    "It's my island." - crazy Irishman from Braveheart


    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 07:31:39 PM PST

  •  One thing I'd like to also see quantified (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is how much a state was pushed one way or another from where it should have been by devoting resources to GingOTV. I live in a swing state that was red up until there was a large amount of paid staffers sent here, and funny thing, they stayed to win the senate election we were supposed to lose in 2010.

    I wonder how much a determined canvasing/phone banking effort can affect things. A point? Two?

    "Slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

    by ban nock on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 07:39:53 PM PST

  •  Obama can win florida (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in rasmussen, it is a dead heat. You would think Obama would be losing badly here with this economy. But he is competitive and full campaign season has not started yet. Obama is competitive to leading the GOP in all the other swing states. He is competitive in Arizona.

    Latinos are voting for Obama in landslide numbers in polls. Obama will fight hard in the campaign and has been outraising republicans consistently.

    Cap it off the with incumbency advantage. I say Obama decisive win 2012!!

  •  The last time a Republican won without Ohio (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sreeizzle2012, wishingwell

    was never.

  •  Interesting that only Kerry (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    overperformed in Ohio compared to his national average.  Whatever the reasons for his overall performance, it at least shows he ran a much better focused campaign than Gore.

  •  Eliminate swing states... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sreeizzle2012, wishingwell

    Pass the National Popular Vote Bill. This should be a tactical goal of OWS. New York state has yet to pass this among many others. It would make it a lot more difficult for the Rethugnicons to steal an election as in 2000, 2004.

  •  A good way to judge racist proto-teabaggery (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is to look at the difference in performance in an area between Kerry and Obama.  I think everyone can agree that Obama was a MUCH better candidate than Kerry and McCain was a MUCH weaker candidate than Bush.  However, Obama performed WORSE in parts of Appalachia, the Deep South and certain counties out west than Kerry did.  I would not be surprised that these 5 - 10% of people from these places are the secretly race-motivated teabaggers that the press never talks about.  I would also argue that Obama's under-performance in these areas UNDERSTATES the level of race-motivated teabaggery because of all the new voters and enthusiasm he brought to the election.

  •  colo and NM got progressive radio after 2004 and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    it made a big difference- and that was just one station for each state, compared to many RW stations.

    for dems to continue to ignore this factor is idiotic.

    i don't know about some of the other recent red to blues.

    Progressives will lose all major messaging battles until they picket the limbaugh/hannity megastations and boycott those stations' local sponsors.

    by certainot on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 11:01:30 PM PST

  •  PA is second only to Florida in Seniors plus the (0+ / 0-)

    the majority of seniors, I believe I read this in a local paper, that the average age of seniors in PA is older.

    There are nursing homes with very elderly patients in even small towns where there is one stop light, a post office and a convenience store and a bar and 2 churches..very small towns...lo and behold, there is a nursing home or assisted living center.

    There is a town about 15 miles from where I live that literally about all that is in that very, very small rural town is a post office and a senior center.

    I will have to research this but I do believe PA not only has the second largest number of seniors but I believe could have the most seniors who are older than 70.
    But I am not sure.

    Plus the problem in PA for the past 2 decades has been that while we have a very large number of colleges here and a state university with branch campuses with a total enrollment of over 100k, many PA students leave this state following graduation for jobs.

    So many of my friends from college and grad school live in TX, NC, FL, GA, CA.

    PA is losing its younger voters after college and our population is shrinking, thus the lost of one electoral vote.

    But Obama won PA by double digits.  That was due to the large turnout of young voters, women voters, and minority voters. 3 Central PA counties in the T which were red , turned blue.

    I am concerned about the Voter ID law affecting out of state students attending college in PA, the poor ,minorties, urban residents and others.

  •  Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job (0+ / 0-)
    As we approach an election year, it is important to acknowledge the larger context: Obama has done better than many critics on the left or the right give him credit for.

    He took office in the worst recession in more than half a century, amid fears of a complete economic implosion. As The Onion, the satirical news organization, described his election at the time: “Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job.”

    The administration helped tug us back from the brink of economic ruin. Obama oversaw an economic stimulus that, while too small, was far larger than the one House Democrats had proposed. He rescued the auto industry and achieved health care reform that presidents have been seeking since the time of Theodore Roosevelt.

    Despite virulent opposition that has paralyzed the government, Obama bolstered regulation of the tobacco industry, signed a fair pay act and tightened control of the credit card industry. He has been superb on education, weaning the Democratic Party from blind support for teachers’ unions while still trying to strengthen public schools.

    In foreign policy, Obama has taken a couple of huge risks. He approved the assault on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, and despite much criticism he led the international effort to overthrow Muammar el-Qaddafi. So far, both bets are paying off.

    I’m hoping the European elections will help shock Democrats out of their orneriness so that they accept the reality that we’ll be facing not a referendum, but a choice. For a couple of years, the left has joined the right in making Obama a piñata. That’s fair: it lets off steam, and it’s how we keep politicians in line.

    But think back to 2000. Many Democrats and journalists alike, feeling grouchy, were dismissive of Al Gore and magnified his shortcomings. We forgot the context, prided ourselves on our disdainful superiority — and won eight years of George W. Bush.

    This time, let’s do a better job of retaining perspective. If we turn Obama out of office a year from now, let’s make sure it is because the Republican nominee is preferable, not just out of grumpiness toward the incumbent during a difficult time.

    President as Piñata
    November 26, 2011

    If GOP lawmakers vote "no" your taxes go up. "Yes", you get a tax cut. Which way do you think Congress should vote?

    by anyname on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 02:28:07 AM PST

    •  url (0+ / 0-)

      Nov 5, 2008

      Barack Obama, 47, was given the least-desirable job in the entire country Tuesday when he was elected president of the United States of America.

      In his new high-stress, low-reward position, Obama will be charged with such tasks as completely overhauling the nation's broken-down economy, repairing the crumbling infrastructure, and generally having to please more than 300 million Americans and cater to their every whim on a daily basis.

      As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind.

      If GOP lawmakers vote "no" your taxes go up. "Yes", you get a tax cut. Which way do you think Congress should vote?

      by anyname on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 02:31:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The seven deadly sins or why people vote GOP (0+ / 0-)

    Funny juxtaposition of the Google Swinging Christian singles ad with the "swingingest state" diary.

    Always a puzzle why people vote GOP, its such a disaster for the nation in wars, injustice, inequality, dysfunction.  Christian ad provides an answer, the GOP appeals to the worst instincts in people, lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, apathy, hatred, envy, pride, boastfulness.

    They define just about every GOP policy.

    And the voters love it as we see from the makeup of elected leaders with the GOP in the majority in most of the nation and many of Democrats (current administration included) no better with policies that do no good for the nation but either appeal to the base instincts of voters to gain votes or simply benefit special interest over national interest seen in the insurance company health care to oil wars to attacks on public education noted in the "$1 per kid" science teacher diary.

  •  swing states (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the data.
    Excellent job.
    Time to check it against Cook.

  •  Sorry, I expected a different kind of... (0+ / 0-)

    "swingiest" surveys....


    "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Candide08 on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 05:54:06 AM PST

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