Thursday, February 28, 2008
More on this race to come, but when researching this CD, the Almanac of American Politics' noted that this Pennsylvania Coal Region's "honest jobs with long hours, modest pay, poor working conditions and high death rates" are "facts of life that made the violently pro-union Molly Maguires popular here." Wikipedia's (albeit never quite authoritative) entry on the "Mollies" includes a map (above) of Coal Region counties, noting their influence here.
PA11 doesn't quite overlap with these five counties - Lackawanna, Luzerne, Columbia, Schuylkill, Carbon, and Northumberland - but it takes in parts or all of three of these counties (Shuylkill falls in PA11 and Northumberland in PA17).
Curiously, for a region with a tradition of sometimes violent labor unrest, none of these counties have returned a notable left wing vote. Only in Northumberland did Eugene Debs' crack double digits and push incumbent Republican president Wm. Howard Taft into fourth place in 1912, his Socialist Party's banner year. And that year, Teddy Roosevelt failed to carry the whole region even as when he captured the Keystone State's electoral votes. Only in Luzerne did LaFollette outperform his statewide average in '24. Luzerne and Luckawanna were two rare mid-Penn. counties to go vote Dem in 2004, and generally have Democratic traditions, but the other three have voted GOP for the most part, excepting '64 and FDR's reign, though Columbia voted Dem during around the turn of the century.
For a socially conservative, labor-heavy white working class region, George Wallace's populist appeal fell flat in Coal Region in '68, with just around 5% in this area, unlike the Philly and Pittsburgh areas where he racked up more impressive numbers in similar prectincts.
More evidence of the region's social conservatism and the apparent ability of the coal companies to suppress labor's electoral success here: the Prohibition Party outvoted the various Socialist and labor parties in Coal Region during their 1890's and 1900's heyday.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
UPDATE on our "West Texas (No data*)" post.
Here's an indication of just how close the battle for every available delegate has become in the Dem presidential nomination contest:
Even though the WaPo/ABC News polls couldn't rustle up enough respondents for its "West Texas" region to make up a statistically significant sample size, that state's byzantine delegate allocation - by state Senate district and Dem performance - apportions a few, valuable delegates up for grabs there. Bill Clinton ventured up to Amarillo to woo the few Dems there.
Texas's few historically Republican counties won't be found here. (They're the German settled cluster in Hill Country, near Austin.) And the region has a history of Democratic congressmen, up to the 1990's, so we'll see if some folks who still consider themselves "Yellow Dog" Democrats - though have rarely voted that way for years - will still turn out for HRC.
Update: How Huckabee Happened in the 'Hood.
WaPo profiles Huckabee's secret weapon in the DC primary: Brian Summers, a dogged campaign worker from Ward 5 who took Huckabee's message of social conservatism and economic populism to churches and bible study groups, targeting Wards 7 & 8, "in Southeast Washington, where he hoped to strike a chord with black Republicans who are Christians and who he thought could identify with Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister."
Updated results, counting absentees and special voters, continue to prove that Summers' shoe leather campaign bore fruit. Huckabee's margin over McCain slipped by one to 35-37 in Ward 8, but he picked up two in Ward 7, spreading his margin out to 61-58.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
There's a gaping blank hole in WaPo's graphic mapping out the regional breakdown of the Obama vs. HRC Lone Star rumble. Data is from it's latest WaPo/ABC News poll.
That "windswept" region that reaches from the Panhandle down into hardscrabble Texas oil country is almost as sparsely populated as it is heavily Republican. (Note how the counties that tend to be lighter orange - tiny populations - are also the deepest shades of blue - going for Bush in 2004 upwards of 90%+.)
The graphic's "West Texas" limns the borders of Texas' CDs 11, 13, 19 and 21, home to four GOP incumbents who often fail to draw strong Dem opposition, if any at all.
WaPo's "West Texas" is not all ghost towns and ranching crossroads, however. Sizable small cities like San Anglo, Odessa, Midland, Lubbock and Amarillo anchor the region that promises to shore up the GOP's base as Dems become increasingly competitive statewide based on growth in the Austin, Houston and DFW metro areas and among an ever growing Hispanic electorate.
I should note that I had to do a bit of number massaging to allow me to plot Democratic performance. In the 2002 Wisconsin governor's race, independent Ed Thompson (brother of former governor Tommy Thompson) ran as an independent and performed quite well, largely along Libertarian lines. I decided to divide up his vote between the Democratic candidate (Attorney General Jim Doyle) and the Republican (Governor Scott McCallum) to allow for some comparison between the two major candidates aside from a calculation of the two party vote that would have excluded Thompson. Given Thompson's lineage and platform I decided to award McCallum 2/3 of the Thompson vote and Doyle the remaining 1/3. I had a similar dilemma for the 2000 presidential race and the Nader vote. Here I awarded Gore the entire Nader vote on the assumption that he would have received these votes without Nader in the race.
What we see is that over the 2000-2006 timeframe Democrats have indeed improved their performance with the exception of a downtick with Kerry in 2004. This is especially notable in Outagamie County but is seen clearly across the entirety of the 8th district. This would seem to bode extremely well as Congressman Kagen seeks to be the first Democrat re-elected in this district in thirty years. The data from the 2008 Wisconsin presidential primary would seem to add more creedence to this tentative conclusion. While we obviously can't directly compare the Democratic and Republican primaries given how relatively settled the Republican race is, the turnout disparities between the parties is nonetheless worth paying attention to. Turnout in the Democratic race was over two times the Repubican (133,940 vs. 57,303). On the Democratic side Obama beat Clinton 56%-44% which was slightly below his statewide total of 58%. On the Republican side, McCain beat Huckabee 56%-44% which essentially mirrored his statwide total of 55%.
Friday, February 22, 2008
In 2006, to my surprise, neither Cook, CQ nor National Journal would rate this CD any more competitive than “Likely Republican,” and only in the last weeks, despite a very narrow Cook Partisan Voting Index of a mere R+2, demographic shifts and voting trends that pointed to increased Democratic competitiveness, not to mention the first reports of scandal dogging the incumbent.
Part of the assumption of Renzi’s invulnerability rested on his assiduous work on behalf American Indian issues in a CD that is 22% Indian and his history of over performing in heavily Democratic and Indian Navajo and Apache counties. But, significant increases in turnout in those two counties from 2000 to 2004 signaled that many newer Democratic voters might not be familiar enough with Renzi to cross party lines.
Perhaps the most telling indicator was how preposterous it was for Renzi to bill himself as “a hometown, Flagstaff boy” - based on his captaining Northern Arizona University’s football team years before he returned to run for Congress - in a city that grows farther away from Renzi’s social conservatism, the more it grows in population. Coconino County’s new residents turn it redder every cycle.
Also growing is the more reliably Republican Yavapai County, where Renzi racked up his largest vote totals. The Almanac of American Politics notes “Barry Goldwater always began his Arizona campaigns” in historic downtown Prescott - Yavapai’s county seat - and it still retains a Republican base, but one that is eroding slightly as its streets start to resemble those of Flagstaff, whose once seedy "Whiskey Row" is now dotted with art galleries and B&B's.
Throw in a growing Hispanic population and Sedona - Arizona’s “little Sante Fe” - and the AZ01’s Republican base of the Phoenix most remote exurbs, ranching crossroads and dying mining towns - the latter, hotbeds for Eugene Debs a century ago, but heavily Republican in last half century - is diminishing. Take away Renzi’s strength among Indian Democrats, and you have 2008's "tossup."
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Given that history, it’s curious that last Sunday’s Washington Post chose Lima to feature as reporter Ricky Carioti investigated whether Hillary Clinton can hold onto her waning majorities among white working class voters as the primary season progresses, and if Obama can excite a previously politically sedate Afro-Am minority. (The Post noted that Democratic Governor Ted Strickland did carry Lima in ’06 and Kerry picked up very slightly in Allen County over Gore’s performance four years earlier.)
Pundits are poring over Wisconsin’s primary results for clues as to how Ohio might vote on March 4. Lima’s demographics and electoral history resemble that of Appleton, Wisconsin. Indeed, the cities of both Lima and Appleton split nearly evenly between Bush and Kerry, while the surrounding counties of Allen and Outagamie, Wisconsin returned healthier Bush margins. In Appleton, Obama replicated his statewide margin, but Huckabee nips at McCain’s heels in many wards.
Stay tuned to this post for an update after Ohio votes to see if Lima shows evidence of further Obama gains among white working class voters and if Huckabee can post a respectable conservative base protest vote again here.
More evidence of strong Huckabee performance among black Republican primary voters can be found on a map of the Republican primary in Milwaukee city. Prof. Murray breaks down Milwaukee ward demographics at this post.
This trend is further confirmed in heavily black precincts in majority African-American Prince George's County, Maryland, where Huckabee captured District Heights and Bladensburg and nearly tied McCain in Oxon Hill. Also of note: Alan Keyes, a two time GOP Senate nominee in the Free State, waging a half-hearted campaign this cycle, made it a three way race in Seat Pleasant and Capitol Heights.
Here is a map of the University of Wisconsin system. Its is made up of 13 four year universities and 13 two year campuses. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a story today about the extremely high college turnout in Tuesday's primary and the gigantic victory that Obama got among these voters. The story is based on a study done by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. Of the 26 schools in the system, Obama won in all of their home counties except two (Douglas--UW Superior, and Marinette--UW Marinette). While Obama's attractiveness to college students has been written about extensively, its nice to finally be able to put some flesh on this assertion. It should also be noted that this rise in turnout can also have repurcussions beyond the presidential race. As I wrote about in one of the first posts on this blog back in 2006, increased turnout on UW campuses as a result of Wisconsin's gay marriage proposal was credited, in part, with switching control of the Wisconsin state Senate to the Democrats. The change in party control was brought about by winning two seats in the western part of the state.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Here we see the county by county results for Virginia's Democratic primary. Obama counties are in green, Clinton in red. To get a better sense of the magnitude of Obama's victory, though, this map (courtesy of Larry Sabato) is perhaps more useful, scaled by population.
Fairfax county is the epicenter of northern Virginia's growth over the past few decades and the driver of Virginia's increasing tilt towards the Democrats. It is also here that Obama gathered the largest part of his statewide total.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Update: Here's a precinct by precinct map (via Google Earth) of the Democratic race in DC. Obama won every precinct, and most by a huge margin.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
With evidence pointing to a Clinton focus on Texas and Ohio (to the detriment of Wisconsin), Obama looks poised to pick up my home state.