Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Levittown Wipeout

We're starting to get some detailed numbers in, although Philadelphia city breakdowns remain elusive. A few posts ago I pointed to Bucks County as a possible area of strength for Obama. Looking at the results we see how poorly he did there, despite some demographics I thought could work in his favor. The final Bucks County totals show a 63-37% Clinton win.

One part of the county we might focus on to view as a microcosm of Obama's suburban underperformance is Levittown. Built after its New York counterpart, the planned suburban community offered an oasis to post-war city dwellers seeking greener pastures. These originals settlers were heavily Catholic and Jewish. The racial breakdown of Levittown is currently 94% white with the remainder evenly divided between African Americans and Latinos. While suburban, it is more middle than high income.

Levittown is not incorporated as its own township but is instead made up of Bristol Township, Falls Township, Middletown Township, and Tullytown. Combining the vote totals for these four townships, I was able to get the vote totals for Clinton and Obama. What we see is that not only did Clinton get a higher percentage than her statewide showing, but Levittown gave her a higher percentage than her overall total in Bucks County. The final margin was 67-33%.

So, as we start to look for reasons why Obama was unable to hold Clinton to single digits, its places like Levittown that may give us some answers. While we thought the Philly suburban ring might be the key to an Obama surprise, it seems now that despite what we saw in some earlier states, we were perhaps being too optimistic.
***Update: A reader pointed me to this long article on Levittown from a recent New York Times Magazine.

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