Monthly Archives: January 2008

Electoral Map Daily Compass: Data Dump Edition

I’m trying the Deadspin style of daily updates today.


Florida Electoral Map: McCain Swamps Romney in Miami; Hillary Wins Beauty Contest

John McCain beat Mitt Romney by eight points in Pinellas County and six points in Pasco County on his way to a statewide victory Tuesday. McCain’s wins in those two counties, which many analysts suggested would be a barometer of his overall success, pretty much mirrored his 36-31% win over Romney statewide (Map 2).

McCain won 45 of Florida’s 67 counties, which is a well-balanced rout. But more importantly, he posted victories in three crucial areas: He did well in the military-laden Panhandle, where he tied Mike Huckabee for Evangelicals. He also won most of the I-4 Corridor, including big victories in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.

But McCain dominated in Southeast Florida. He won Palm Beach County by 9,000 votes, Broward County by nearly 17,000 and Miami-Dade by a whoppin’ 35,000 (Map 3). According to CBS News exit polls reported by Politicos Jonathan Martin, McCain was buoyed by strong support in the Latino community, which cast half of its votes for him (Map 4).

Romney ran poorly with Latinos, although he did win 40 percent of conservatives and over a third of Evangelicals, which was the most of any candidate for both demographic groups. Romney also ran well in the retirement communities along the Gulf Coast, including Lee and Collier Counties. He swamped McCain by 12,000 votes in Duval County (Jacksonville), which I have to admit I don’t really understand (Map 5).

Rudy Giuliani won over a quarter of the vote and finished second in New York’s southern outpost of Miami-Dade, but it was not enough to push him above 15 percent statewide (Map 6). Interestingly, Mike Huckabee won four counties – Holmes, Washington, Gilchrest and Suwanee – but they were small, rural counties in the North, and the former Arkansas governor came in fourth (Map 7).

Map 1 – Florida Population Density

Florida Population Density

Map 2 – Florida Republican Electoral Map (Washington Post)

Florida Republican Electoral Map

Map 3 – John McCain in Florida (Washington Post)

John McCain in Florida

Map 4 – Latinos in Florida — The more purple counties have higher percentages of Latinos.

Latinos in Florida

Map 5 – Mitt Romney in Florida (Washington Post)

Mitt Romney in Florida

Map 6 – Rudy Giuliani in Florida (Washington Post)

Rudy Giuliani in Florida

Map 7 – Mike Huckabee in Florida (Washington Post)

Mike Huckabee in Florida

Map 8 – Republican Margins of Victory in Florida (New York Times) — Note that the colors are different.

Republican Margins of Victory in Florida

On the Democratic side, the Billary machine celebrated a 50-33% win over Barack Obama even though the delegates will likely not be seated at the DNC convention. Clinton took 48 of Florida’s 67 counties, including every one south of Gainesville. Obama racked up big margins in heavily African-American counties like Duval and Leon, the home to FAMU (Maps 9-11).

John Edwards won a respectable 11 counties and placed second in 15. But as a testament to how rural those counties are, he ended up only taking 14 percent statewide, and was prompted to drop of the race Wednesday morning (Map12).

My theory on Edwards is that his departure helps Obama in states like California, where voters on tuned in the race and understand Edwards “progressive” ideas. But it hurts Obama in rural states like Georgia and Missouri, where white many voters still see Edwards as the down-home Southern candidate, and are not likely to support Obama.

Map 9 – Florida Democratic Electoral Map (Washington Post)

Florida Democratic Electoral Map

Map 10 – Hillary Clinton in Florida (Washington Post)

Hillary Clinton in Florida

Map 11 – Barack Obama in Florida (Washington Post)

Barack Obama in Florida

Map 12 – John Edwards in Florida (Washington Post)

John Edwards in Florida

Map 13 – Democratic Margins of Victory in Florida (New York Times)

Democratic Margins of Victory in Florida


Florida Primer: Who Will the Sun Shine on Today?

When I flew down to Jacksonville in late October, 2007 for the Florida-Georgia game (affectionately known as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party), I observed a not only a great football game, but many of the different demographic groups that make up Florida at work.

Jacksonville is the Deep South, and so is the panhandle to the west. Orlando and the I-4 Corridor are what National Geographic described in its March, 2007 issue as the “Theme-Parking, Megachurching, Franchising, Exurban, McMansioning of America” (Map 7).

Orlando is also where a few of my politically astute friends noted that the Florida Democrats were meeting for a conference that weekend. Many of those Dems are from Southeast Florida, which is pretty much a reflection of the Northeast United States.

Of course, these are crude definitions for a complex state. But one of the reasons Florida is so difficult to handicap is because it is constantly growing and evolving. The Sunshine State had five congressional districts 60 years ago, but after the 2010 reapportionment it will have 27, the same amount as the once-mighty Empire State. Joel Kotkin’s “Boomtown” feature in Inc. magazine named six of the nation’s top 20 boomtowns in the Sunshine State.

Many demographers have tried to figure Florida out, some condensing the state into two distinctive regions and others carving it up in dozens of fiefdoms. Most recently, the Washington Post in its Political Geography feature identified the Panhandle, the I-4 Corridor and the South Florida as the key targeted regions for the Republican candidates (Maps 1-3).

The Panhandle, the Post said, is full of Evangelicals suited for Mike Huckabee, and military retirees who John McCain could appeal to. The I-4 Corridor “from Daytona to Tampa” is “rich with Republican voters and remains a tossup.” South Florida, with its many New York castoffs, should be Rudy territory.

Some demographers have been blunter in describing Florida. Joel Garreau, in his landmark 1981 book “The Nine Nations of North America” divided Florida into “Dixie” and “The Islands.” Dixie is under Atlanta’s influence; and the Islands region extends across the Caribbean but is anchored in Miami (Map 4).

Another attempt was printed in the Boston Globe in 2004 and divided the state into three regions: “Southern Comfort,” which hugs the Gulf Coast and extends into Texas; “Southern Lowlands,” which touches the Atlantic Coast and reaches up past the Carolina low country; and “El Norte,” which is an extension of Latin America (Map 5).

Other political analysts have dismissed those previous models because they don’t take into account the millions of Northern transplants. NBC Political Director Chuck Todd wrote in June, 2007 that when you factor in Northern expats, Florida is a “perfect microcosm of the United States.”

“Think about it: the Southeast of the state mirrors the Northeast of the country; the Southwest of the state has a solid Midwestern feel; the Central part of the state is akin to the exurbs and Southwestern growth parts of the country; of course the Panhandle is the Deep South; and Key West is like San Francisco. A perfect microcosm.”

The New York Times took it a step further and divided Florida into a checkerboard of the “United States of Florida.” Every state, the Times joked, has an outpost in Florida (Map 6).


Map 1 — The Panhandle (Washington Post)

The Panhandle

Map 2 — I-4 Corridor (Washington Post)

I-4 Corridor

Map 3 — South Florida (Washington Post)

South Florida

Map 4 — Joel Garreau’s Nine Nations of North America

Joel Garreau’s Nine Nations of North America

Map 5 — Ten Regions of American Politics

Ten Regions of American Politics

Map 6 — United States of Florida (New York Times)

United States of Florida

Map 7 — The Boomtown of Orlando (National Geographic)

The Boomtown of Orlando

Jake Tapper’s Electoral Map

Even on the beach, ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper can’t get his mind off electoral maps. ExMo has this great item on “Tapper’s Line in the Sand.”

Jake Tapper’s Electoral Map

Per the Extremeness:

“That’s Deerfield Beach, Florida, near Boca Raton … and Jake’s inside an electoral map of the presidential campaign.

“So, did rules dictate that a union guy had to draw the map for Tapper? Nope. Jake tells Extreme Mortman: ‘I drew it. History major, art minor.’
Jake also informs us: ‘We used seashells for Sacramento, Albany and Tallahassee.’

“Which makes us hope that, for Super Tuesday coverage, ABC News doesn’t send Jake to cover New Jersey from the Jersey shore. Not much you can make out of washed-up syringes.”

South Carolina Democratic Electoral Map

The AP and the New York Times call it a “rout,” and the Washington Post and Politico describe it as “an overwhelming victory.” Barack Obama won 55 percent in the South Carolina Democratic primary today, taking 44 of 46 counties and receiving more votes than every candidate combined in the 2004 primary.

Obama did it pulling together a historic coalition of black and white voters. According to exits polls, he won nearly a quarter of white voters and took a whoppin’ 80 percent of black votes.

His biggest margin of victory was in Richland County, home to the state capital of Columbia, where he won by nearly 25,000 votes. But he also won over 70 percent in five counties: Jasper, Williamsburg, Marion, Lee and Sumter (It’s interesting that the names of two of those counties – Lee and Sumter – pay homage to the Civil War, which I might note was sparked in Charleston Harbor).

In its Political Geography feature, the Post called “The Midlands” a key battleground because it “has the highest percentage of Democrats in the state.” Loosely defined, it’s a band whose northern border stretches from around Rock Hill near the North Carolina border down to McCormick on the Georgia border.

The southern border of the Midlands arcs from around Allendale County on the Savannah River, which Ambinder once noted is the poorest county in this poor state, to Dillon County on the North Carolina border. As the Times’ map shows, Obama did great in the Midlands.

Hillary Clinton and John Edwards ended up winning one county each. Hillary won Horry County, the home of Myrtle Beach, and Edwards took Seneca County, where he was born. Hillary couldn’t wait to get out the state and by 7:30 p.m. was “wheels up” (in advance staffer lingo) to Nashville, Tenn., which is a good 400 miles from Columbia.

TIME’s Halperin notes that she’ll stay in the Volunteer State and do an event in Memphis tomorrow, while Obama will shoot down to Macon, Ga. and Birmingham Ala. and Edwards will make an appearance in Dublin, Ga.

On a side note, I always have considered South Carolina barbecue to be mustard-based. North Carolina (East Carolina really) is vinegar-based and Memphis is tomato-based. But the map I have below of South Carolina que styles shows that Memphis and North Carolina have a strong influence on the Palmetto State. Looks like Edwards did well in the Memphis region while Clinton (whose style is all vinegar) won a county in the North Carolina area.

South Carolina Barbecue

South Carolina Barbecue

South Carolina’s Midlands (Washington Post)

South Carolina’s Midlands

Electoral Map of Barack Obama in South Carolina (Washington Post)

Electoral Map of Barack Obama in South Carolina

Electoral Map of Hillary Clinton in South Carolina (Washington Post)

Electoral Map of Hillary Clinton in South Carolina

Electoral Map of John Edwards in South Carolina (Washington Post)

Electoral Map of John Edwards in South Carolina

Barack’s Obama Margin of Victory in South Carolina (New York Times)

Barack’s Obama Margin of Victory in South Carolina

Race in South Carolina

Darker purple means more African-American.

Race in South Carolina

South Carolina Electoral Map, 2004

South Carolina Electoral Map, 2004


Electoral Map Daily Compass: Rudy in Florida Edition

Readers — My apologies for not posting more often this week. I’m going to have an item up each [week]day from here on out. To gets things started off on the right foot, here’s the Electoral Map’s Daily Compass for today.

The big questions this week: Will the sun shine on Rudy Giuliani next Tuesday? And has Barack Obama built a winning coalition in South Carolina?

  • Carl Leubsdorf analyzes Rudy’s big gamble: “The former mayor’s support has begun to drop in his supposed coastal strongholds.”
  • And Campaigns & Elections asks, “Can Giuliani Re-Draw the Map?”
  • Mort Kondracke examines the GOP Suburban Caucus, reppin’ “from San Diego to Connecticut.”
  • Kurtz anticipates the Super Tuesday battle for “New York and California and all the super duper states in between.”
  • Ex-Hotliners Reid Wilson and Kyle Trygstad interview John Ensign about the Senate electoral map.
  • E.J. Kalafarski and Chadwick Matlin at Map the Candidates have Dems hitting the Palmetto State and GOPers soaking up the Sunshine State.
  • Ambinder looks at Obama’s demograhpics: “Obama’s South Carolina coalition bodes well for him in other Southern states, such as Alabama and Georgia, where wave after wave of white working-class voters have deserted the Democratic Party. But in the largest states voting on Tsunami Tuesday, February 5, (California, New Jersey, and New York) and in later-voting large states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas), the party’s changing demographics work against Obama.” (subscription required)
  • Jonathan Martin reports that Huck wants to “build a massive highway from Bangor, Maine, to Miami.”
  • Condé Nast Portfolio presents the map of union membership in the United States. Notice how it mirrors the traditional electoral map. What came first the chicken or the egg?

Union Membership by State, 2007
Union Membership in the United States

The Presidential Electoral Map, 2004
2004 Electoral Map

Testing Patrick Ruffini’s Model in Grand Rapids

Patrick Ruffini sees the leading GOP candidates carrying the banner for three distinct camps in the Republican Party.

“Despite the different actors and alliances in different states, we are beginning to see the real dividing lines of this campaign. It’s the battle of the moderates (McCain), metro conservatives (Romney), and rural conservatives (Huckabee). Stripped of all other hangers-on (Fred, and increasingly, Rudy), nationwide this divide seems to work out to about 40-40-20, or 35-40-25. Conservatives ought to be winning this battle, but Huckabee’s lock on the rural vote (just 16% of the vote in Charleston County, btw) will prevent any kind of clear two-man race before February 5th. Every day that Huckabee’s nice guy act is allowed to continue is a gift to John McCain — and he knows it.

“Mitt Romney is fast becoming the candidate of conservatives in the suburbs and the exurbs. In Michigan, he dominated Oakland and Macomb counties with 46% of the vote in a multi-candidate field. In Nevada, he won most convincingly in Clark County. In Iowa, he did better in Des Moines than elsewhere in the state.

“The Romney and McCain coalitions also overlap. They represent two different sides of the establishment coin, with McCain representing an older, mainline establishment — the Republican Party of Gerry Ford, Howard Baker, and Bob Dole — and Romney representing the brasher, post-Reagan establishment that was built on the tax issue and whose alliance with modern-day Huckabee voters allowed them to take control of the party in 1994.”

I agree with Ruffini’s analysis of Romney — Most of the Republicans I know from Montgomery County, Md. or Fairfield County, Ct. are supporting him. I also think he hits the nail on the head for Huckabee — He clearly is a favorite among rural, religious voters. But McCain is a more difficult candidate to figure out. He’s done well in the suburban counties like Charleston, S.C. but also in areas where the religious Right has a strong presence like western Michigan.

The most interesting county nationwide may have been Kent County, Mich., home of Grand Rapids. As Gerald Ford’s hometown, it’s where his presidential library and Gerald Ford International Airport are located. Ford’s legacy is still strong in Grand Rapids, so by Ruffini’s analysis, McCain should have had an upper hand there. But Grand Rapids is also a very religious and culturally conservative county and has a very strong Dutch Reformed Church presence. Many pundits thought this fact would play well for Huckabee.

But it was Romney, and not McCain or Huckabee, who won Grand Rapids. Romney took 38% to McCain’s 31%. It’s a suburban county, so Ruffini’s analysis works, but the county has enough demographics cutting different ways to make it interesting.

Republican Primary in Grand Rapids