Does Hillary’s Blue-Collar Success Suggest Red State Appeal?

A MyDD blogger named “silverspring” has a diary up with some of the best maps and electoral map analysis that I’ve seen so far in this election cycle.

In a post titled “Political Geography: Advantage Hillary” from January 12, silverspring presents five electoral maps from New Hampshire and six from Iowa to back up his hypothesis that Hillary Clinton’s success with blue-collar voters in those two states (or with “beer track” voters as the pundits are fond of saying) signals that she can win in red states.

Silverspring argues that in both Iowa and New Hampshire, “’red state’ areas had a relatively high correlation with voting for Hillary Clinton.” In his Granite State analysis, silverspring writes:

“You can see that ‘red’ areas of New Hampshire (those that voted from George Bush in the 2004 general election) tended to go for Hillary in the primary last Tuesday. Out of the 4 counties that voted for Bush in the general, 3 voted for Hillary in the primary. Likewise, the 1st Congressional District voted for Bush in the general and Hillary in the primary; the 2nd Congressional District voted for Kerry in the general and Obama in the primary.”

New Hampshire 2004 General and 2008 PrimaryNew Hampshire 2004 General and 2008 Primary

Silverspring also deduces which towns voted for both Bush and Clinton, and which ones chose Kerry and Obama. He writes:

“Perhaps the most important (politically speaking in terms of our general election prospects) are the towns colored in red. These towns are ones which Bush won in 2004, but which Hillary won in the 2008 primary. These towns comprise approximately 43% of the population of New Hampshire. They include Manchester and its suburbs and most towns in the Merrimack Valley (Londonderry, Derry, Hudson, Salem, etc… as well as Laconia further north in the state). Many towns are historical mill towns; blue coller area where ‘Reagan Democrats’ and ‘Reagan independents’ predominate to this day.”

New Hampshire 2004 General and 2004 Primary by Town
New Hampshire 2004 General and 2008 Primary by Town

Pivoting back to Iowa, silverspring notes that Hillary “actually won rural voters in the state.” He adds, “Unlike New Hampshire, whose ‘rural’ voters are kind of a political anomaly (much like rural voters in neighboring Vermont), rural voters in Iowa are more typical of the country, and in particular of ‘red state’ areas.”

Comparing the 2004 electoral map to the 2008 Democratic primary map, silverspring notices that Obama won the heavily Democratic regions in the East. He adds, “on the other hand, areas in the western, and parts of the northern and southern Iowa, were more evenly split, with a clear advantage for Hillary in some areas, and an advantage for Edwards in others.”

Iowa 2004 General and 2008 Caucuses
Iowa 2004 General and 2008 Caucuses

Iowa 2004 General and 2008 Caucuses by Congressional District
Iowa 2004 General and 2008 Caucuses by Congressional District

Iowa’s Two Halves
Iowa’s Two Halves

I love silversprings’ analysis but I don’t entirely agree with it. Just because Democrats in regions that voted for Bush chose Hillary, it doesn’t mean she has cross-over appeal. In fact, it could mean that those regions are more polarized and the voters rejected Obama’s “post-partisanship” message.

I do agree with silverspring that Hillary is winning the blue-collar vote and Obama is winning the Manhattan Democrats.

Either way, these are awesome maps and I hope to see more.


3 responses to “Does Hillary’s Blue-Collar Success Suggest Red State Appeal?

  1. Thanks for your great site, I really thank you for taking time to make those great google maps.

    Its really helping with my project and my essays. Credit will be give where its deserved. I was wondering if you have a Wyoming ’08 GOP Map.

  2. Excellent analysis. Agree with your comment; however, the Dems are not going to win with just the votes of upscale liberals. Silverspring is trying to say that Bush may have carried those areas because blue collar Dems stayed home or voted Republican. Perhaps Clinton could get them to vote Democratic in November.

  3. Mondale and Carter won the same areas in the NH primary in 1980 and 1984 but in the general election, almost all of these blue collar towns voted for Reagan.

    These areas are more practical, less idealistic. It was mostly a practical, it’s the economy stupid vote for Hillary. These voters are more interested in economic recovery than expressing their racial tolerance by voting for Obama.

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