Monthly Archives: October 2007

Is Colorado the New Delaware? The New Missouri?

They used to say that so goes Delaware goes the nation. Well, I’ve never heard that exact saying, but the First State voted for the winning presidential candidate from 1952 to 1996.

It was always a swing state because Delaware, despite what Wayne and Garth said, had a little something of everything — a Northeastern-style city (Wilmington), middle-class suburbs and “southern-accented farmers,” according to the Almanac of American Politics. A little bit of Mason, a little bit of Dixon.

When Delaware broke its streak in 2000 when it voted for the Democratic candidate who would go on to loose the Electoral College, Missouri stood alone as the nation’s premier bellwether. The Show-Me State, another border territory, has voted for the winning presidential candidate in every election since 1900 besides 1956.

But in 2008, I’m looking at Colorado. Why? Because what other state is home to a town like Boulder and one like Colorado Springs? Boulder is a outdoor enthusiast haven, a town for college students and organic food. Meanwhile, Colorado Springs is home to Focus on the Family and the Air Force Academy.

In between Boulder and Colorado Springs is Douglas County, which is directly south of Denver. It’s an interesting county because it held the honors of being both the most affluent and the fastest growing county in America in the last decade. It’s also part of Colorado’s Sixth District, which is being vacated by Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo next year.

It’s a very Republican district, and I’m too far removed from The Hotline these days to handicap who has a good shot at winning. But I’m gonna keep an eye on it, if only for the fact that I’m interested in seeing if Colorado will be the next Delaware… or Missouri.

Correction: The original post stated that Columbine High School is in Douglas County.  It is in Jefferson County.

Colorado’s Sixth District


Mapping U.S. Demographics

I came across a great mapping device today called “US Demographics Visualizer” that’s produced by a company called idvsolutions.  What they do is take Microsoft Virtual Earth software and then layer five measures of demographics over it: population, age, ethnicity, political and income.  So, to give you an example, I took a screen shot of voting returns and ethnicity in Southern states.

With these two maps we can correlate voting habits with race, and check for evidence that the so-called “Black Belt” in the South votes Democratic.  Here’s a map of ethnicity in Southern states where the darker shade purple represent the higher proportion African-American:

Southern Race

And here’s one of voting returns in the 2004 presidential election

Southern Voting Returns in 2004

It looks like there is a high correlation between African-American population and Democratic performance.  Of course, this is well-documented, but I’m making a point that this tool can visually confirm some interesting notions.  Try it on some other demographics.

Let’s look at average income in the Notheast in 2000:

Northeast Income

Which Candidates Have Visited the Wildfire Zone?

Politicos Jonathan Martin raises a great question: “Are east-coast pols not getting how bad the fires are? Any candidates in SoCal this week?”

On one hand, this is a major disaster and the most dominant story in this news cycle. On the other hand, it could be seen as opportunistic and getting in the way. John Kerry faced this same dilemma in 2004 when four hurricanes slammed Florida.

Here’s a great NASA satellite image of the fire, hat tip to Caffeinated Politics.

11 02 SoCal Wildfires

Using Slate‘s “Map the Candidates” feature, we can see which candidates have visited SoCal since Monday, October 22nd. Bill Richardson, marked by the light-blue star, rolled his Hispanic policy today in L.A. Mike Huckabee (the icon that says Huckabee with stripes) attended a fundraiser in Huntington Beach on Monday, the 22nd. And Dennis Kucinich (the American flag with a peace sign) led a rally and fundraiser in Madre on Sunday, the 21st.

11 02 SoCal Presidential

Red Sox Nation To Put Politics On Hold

NBC/National Journal‘s Mike Memoli makes a great point about the Red Sox effect in New Hampshire: It’ll almost be pointless for the presidential candidates to campaign in the state while the Sox are in the World Series. News cycles for a couple of weeks will be dominated by the Sox, and politics will likely take a back seat.

Memoli (a diehard Yankees fan and an ex-Hotliner) and NBC’s Mark Murray point out:

“When Huckabee filed for the New Hampshire primary last week, a supporter noted that if the Red Sox won that night, he would be bumped off the front page. They did, and he was (assuming his filing would have been front-page news). And today, New Hampshire’s front pages have banner Red Sox headlines.

“The moral of the story? New Hampshire is deep in Red Sox nation, and another week of wall-to-wall baseball coverage means one less week of prominent political reporting. Boston NBC affiliate WHDH has said it’s holding off on serious primary reporting until the Red Sox run ends. That’s likely the case with the rest of Boston television, which is watched by many in the southern part of the state.”

New Hampshire is of course in the heart of Red Sox Nation. A group called Common Census has a feature where people can enter their zip codes and their favorite sports team. Armed with that data, Common Census maps out areas of fandom. As you can see, New Hampshire is securely within Red Sox Nation:

11 02 Baseball Nations

On the other side of Red Sox Nation is Connecticut. It’s the Iraq of baseball loyalty — it’s split between three groups: Red Sox fans in the East and Yankees fans in the West and South, and a Mets minority mixed in throughout the South. The New York Times ran a good map a while back drawing the border between these fierce rivals:

Red Sox Connecticut

Slate’s New “Map the Candidates” Feature

Slate has a new feature called “Map the Candidates.” It looks like they just track where the candidates are going, and then plug the towns into Google Maps. You can also select which candidates are on the map, and you can adjust the time parameters.

It’s an interesting, useful feature, but it looks a little cluttered. Here’s the link, and here’s a screen shot of all of the candidates nationwide in the last week, and one of John Edwards in Iowa. Click on the maps for a full-size, less-blurry image.

11 02 Map the Candidates 1

11 02 Edwards in Iowa

What Bobby Jindal’s Win Means

Put a fork in the Louisiana Democratic coalition. Rep. Bobby Jindal’s (R) historic 54 percent victory on Saturday might seem like the triumph of a gifted legislator, or a repudiation of Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s (D) tenure, but the truth is that his accession marks the end of an era. The fragile Democratic coalition of urban blacks, poor Protestant whites and Catholic Cajuns that ruled Louisiana for most of the 20th century has probably collapsed for good.

Rural whites were the first to go, abandoning Democrats across the South in the 1990s. That shift was evident by 2000, when George W. Bush won Louisiana despite Bill Clinton carrying it twice. In 2004, Bush routed John Kerry by 15 points, but more importantly, Louisiana elected its first Republican to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction. Sen. David Vitter only took 50 plus one, but it was a landmark victory.

Cajuns have remained somewhat loyal, having sent fellow Acadian Blanco to the governor’s mansion in 2003. But as the go-to Almanac of American Politics notes, “Cajuns tend to mull it over.” In other words, they’ll support a son of the bayou like Rep. Charlie Melancon (D), but they also voted for Bush. (Melancon is also a natural for his district and has one of the best and brightest staffs on Capitol Hill).

In 2005, the statewide Democratic coalition was dealt its final blow. Katrina wiped out nearly half the Crescent City and dispersed hundreds of thousands of reliably Democratic votes. The New Orleans Times-Picayune noted in its analysis today that the number of votes cast in the city dropped off nearly 40 percent from 2003 to 2007.

It’s clear that Katrina broke backbone of the Democratic coalition and tipped the scales indefinitely to the Republicans’ favor. It’s unclear if the scales will tip back anytime soon. Jindal will oversee the redistricting process in 2011. Democrats still control a solid majority of the state House and state Senate, so they can insulate themselves.

But Louisiana is sure to lose one seat in 2012 — the only non-Rust Belt state to do so. Michael Barone noted in a recent National Journal article, “The Voting Rights Act compels the Legislature to create at least one majority-black district,” and that’s going to be a corridor connecting New Orleans to Baton Rouge. He adds, “Cajun country Democrat Charlie Melancon will probably find a way to hold on.”

So, the Democrats will probably retain their two seats in Louisiana’s seven-seat (soon to be six) congressional delegation. But the days of the Huey Long Democratic machine are over. The Almanac notes, “Louisiana, having outgrown the Longs and Edwin Edwards, is embarked on a politics of uncertain direction.” That direction is unlikely to include the Democratic machine of old.

Now, on to the maps. Here’s a 2003 Louisiana election results map, the year Blanco won in a run-off against Jindal. Note how she cleaned up in most of the state (even the conservative, white North):

Blanco’s win in 2003


  • Patrick Ruffini, on Jindal’s election: “Epic… historic… ginormous are the words that come easiest to mind tonight.”
  • Erick at Red State notes that its “a staunchly southern state electing a guy who is a minority to the Governor’s Mansion as a Republican.”


UPDATE: Here’s a 2007 Louisiana election results map, compliments of GCR & Associates via Patterico’s Pontifications. Jindal won every single parish minus four. We apologize for the blurriness. Click on the map for a clearer image: 11 02 Louisiana 2007

More Ron Paul Maps

Ron Paul Graphs Blog has a follow-up on Patrick Ruffini’s post about the geography of Ron Paul donors. They have two great maps: one showing donations per capita in the last 24 hours and one showing donations per capita in Q4. However, Ron Paul Graphs blog notes:

“These numbers ARE NOT comprehensive (not even close). I think the sample is “random” and large enough now that it’s interesting… but be aware that on extremely heavy donation times there will be more missed donors than not.”

11 02 Ron Paul Maps

Looks like Ron Paul is still getting the most support in Western states and in “Live Free or Die” New Hampshire.