Tag Archives: South

Could Obama Really Win a State in the South?

If Barack Obama wins any of the states in the former Confederacy, it’ll probably be Virginia or North Carolina. But a few analysts have suggested that he could boost African-African turnout across the rest of the south — the Deep South, mind you — to make some really red states competitive. Chuck Todd and Marc Ambinder, who were both my bosses at The Hotline and who are two brightest political minds I know, have hinted that Obama could make Georgia and Mississippi interesting.

Chuck wrote in March that “Mississippi is one of those rare Southern states that might be in play in the general election if Obama becomes the nominee. One Dem statistician tells First Read that there are three red states that could swing if African-American turnout was ever maximized (both in registration and in actual turnout): Georgia, Louisiana and, yes, Mississippi. So don’t assume this is just one of those untouchable red states.”

Marc took it a step further in May and broke down the actual numbers, asking, “Did you know that a half a million African Americans in Georgia are eligible to vote but haven’t registered? The Obama campaign knows this. And they plan to register these voters by November, campaign folks say.” The Southern Political Report noted on Tuesday that the DCCC and DSCC have already registered 70,000 new voters in some Louisiana parishes.

Stateline also took a look at it on Tuesday and noted that “Some Democrats hold out hope that Obama could actually win one of the six Southern states that he won so convincingly during the primary season — Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina — all of which have voted strongly Republican in recent presidential elections.” But the key phrase from that observation might have been that Dems are “holding out hope,” because after all, it’ll be a long shot.

Tom Schaller, another superb political handicapper, actually crunched the numbers (something that no one else has done), and found that Obama is facing steep odds. In a conversation about white voters posted on Salon, Schaller presented his data:

“I did a correlation between the black share of statewide population in the 11 Confederate states and the share of Bush‘s support among white voters, and it correlates at .76 with all 11 confederate states and if you take Texas out, which Bush obviously did well in, though it has a relatively low black population, with a data set of just 10 data points, it correlates at .9. Human height and weight doesn’t correlate at .9. With 10 data points, it’s ridiculous. I don’t even think this is an empirical matter of dispute.”

Schaller has a point and his numbers are tough to argue with.  But if Obama’s campaign is really about redrawing the electoral map and scrapping the old Clinton-Bush model, then he needs to leave no stone unturned and leave no county uncontested.


Pundits Whistlin’ Dixie

The Southern Political Report released its report of “Dixie’s Competitive Congressional Districts” on Monday, and according to SPR’s Hastings Wyman, “This year some 21 of the South’s 162 congressional seats are more or less ‘in play,’ 12 of them currently held by Republicans, 9 by Democrats. Due to such factors as a strong tide against the party in power and the ability of probable Democratic nominee Barack Obama to bring out an unusually large turn-out among African Americans and young voters, Democrats stand the better chance of making gains this fall.”

Here’s a map of SPR’s competitive districts in Dixie followed by statsfrom SPR, Cook and CQ.

Southern Political Report: “Dixie’s Competitive Congressional Districts”

Dixie\'s Competitive Congressional Districts

12 Republican Seats in Play

Alabama-02 (Dothan) – OPEN — Rep. Terry Everett (R) retiring

  • Cook Rating: “Lean Republican”
  • CQ Politics: “Leans Republican”
  • Cook PVI: R +13
  • 2004: Bush with 67%

Florida-13 (Sarasota) – Rep. Vern Buchanan

  • Cook Rating: “Likely Republican”
  • CQ Politics: “Leans Republican”
  • Cook PVI: R +4
  • 2004: Bush 56%

Florida-21 (Miami-Dade) – Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart

  • Cook Rating: “Likely Republican”
  • CQ Politics: “Republican Favored”
  • Cook PVI: R +6
  • 2004: Bush 57%

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Is it Time to Declare a Democratic Resurgency in the South?

Two special elections looses in the South have some Republicans worrying that their electoral stranglehold on the region may be loosening.  Case in point: The Washington Times’ David Lambro, who’s about as right-of-center as any prominent Beltway correspondent, co-authored an article today under the headline, “Democrats again whistling Dixie.”

And J-Mart points to a quote from Clark Reed, who the Wall Street Journal refers to as “one of the great architects of resurgent Republicanism in the South,” lamenting that the times are a-changin’ down Dixie way.  “Is the Republican solid South over?” asked the Journal.  “‘Yeah. Oh year,’ [Reed] said. ‘I eat lunch every day at Buck’s Cafe.  Obama‘s picture is all over the wall.'”

Obama Could Galvanize Huge Turnout in the South

The New York Times‘ Southern correspondent Adam Nossiter has an interesting article today about how Barack Obama could galvanize hundreds of thousands of African-American votes in the South. He notes that black turnout in the South Carolina primary more than doubled from 2004, to 295,0000, and increased in Georgia from 289,000 four years ago to 536,000.

“Southern states with large black populations, like Alabama, Mississippi and Virginia, an energized black electorate could create a countervailing force,” writes Nossiter. “Already, turnout in Democratic primaries this year has substantially exceeded Republican turnout in states like Arkansas, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.”

This is very true, but the problem for Democrats is that all things will likely not remain equal. What I mean is that if black turnout is way up in the South fueled by enthusiasm for a black candidate, it’s likely that many conservative Democrats and yellow-dog Dixiecrats will choose the opposite candidate. The South does have some white liberals bastions in places like New Orleans and Nashville, but white, rural voters aren’t likely to support the Democratic nominee if he is being seen as carrying the banner for an African-American movement.

Of course, this because it’s a well-document phenomenon, but I think the West Virginia results (and Obama’s performance in Appalachian and Southern states throughout the primary process) has really reinforced it. Any boosted turnout in the African-American community is likely to be blunted by a loss of votes with rural whites. But at least the turnout will be high enough to make things interesting.

Buzz Jacobs, what’s your take? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this?.

Race in the South — The more purple means the more African-American.

Black Belt

Obama vs. Clinton Electoral Map — Obama is blue; Clinton is red.

Obama vs. Clinton Electoral Map

Broder Sounds the Alarm for the GOP in the South

… And gives McCain a lot of credit for picking up on early warnings.  Broder writes, “McCain for one seems to have grasped that warning. Over the past week, as he toured the South from Selma to Little Rock, he clearly was signaling a shift from the traditional GOP way of courting Dixie voters.”

The Electoral Map Daily Compass: Who Won Texas?

The two major discussions in the electoral-map-osphere over the weekend were the debate over SurveyUSA’s 50 state polls that show both Obama and Clinton building winning geographic coalitions over McCain, and Jonathan Martin‘s observation that Hillary is running strong in Scots-Irish Appalachia.

If you’re interested in SurveyUSA’s polls check out my post from Friday, complete with the best maps and links to further analysis.

If you want to read about the Scots-Irish, J-Mart wrote a follow-up to his post about Appalachian demographics last week.  Josh Patashnik at TNR.com takes it a step further and explains why highland voters are buying Clinton’s message.

In other electoral map news:

  • A Democrat wins in Reagan Country. [John Fund]
  • A throwback article from 1999: America’s Dovish North and Hawkish South. [Foreign Affairs]
  • (It’s non-political, but) really cool map renditions of pre-colonial Manhattan. [Manhatta Project]

Lastly, Ben Smith catches the Obama camp suggesting that Texas turned out differently than it actually did.  The map below is one that Smith sniped from the Obama web site.

Obama Electoral Map

SurveyUSA Releases Polls in 50 States

SurveyUSA released a series of polls in all 50 states on Thursday that measure both John McCain against Hillary Clinton and McCain against Barack Obama. The results should be taken with a grain of salt considering SurveyUSA uses robocalls instead of live people, but the results are still fascinating.

The key takeaway is that either Dem would beat McCain. But the results also show that the electoral map is going to be scrambled this year, with McCain making potential inroads into traditionally blue states in the Northeast, and either Obama turning the Mountain West into the massive battleground or Hillary picking off a couple of the key states that slayed Al Gore and John Kerry.

If Obama is the Democratic nominee, the SurveyUSA polls suggest that he’d put into play states that Dem strategists have lustily watched turn purple. The polls show Virginia and North Carolina within reach, and Obama winning Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico. (The polls also have him competing in Texas and Florida, which I’m going to dismiss as aberrations for now.)

But Obama would have to watch his back in the Northeast. The polls suggest that New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Michigan would be ripe targets from McCain. The Arizona senator would have rock solid support in SEC Country, which could free him from having to worry about a least one faction of the GOP coalition eroding.

If Hillary is the Democratic nominee, the polls indicate that she would probably win Arkansas and Florida, both states where the Clinton brand remains popular. But Clinton would loose several key states, including Iowa, and she would be decimated in the West. The SurveryUSA polls have her loosing every Mountain West state as well as Washington and Oregon.

Ezra sums up it very well:

“Obama’s electoral coalition is Western, while Clinton relies more on the Midwest. He’s Sun Belt, she’s Rust Belt. Moreover, many states have them performing wildly different from one another.”

Nicholas Beaudrot, at the go-to Cogitmausblog, takes is a step further and produced a map detailing the states where Obama and Clinton perform well relative to each other (Map 5). He found that Obama would do much better than HRC in Vermont, Nebraska and Utah, while Hillary would have a better showing than Obama in Arkansas and West Virginia.

Beaudrot also makes a great point about the coattail effect:

“In the states with the ten most competitive Senate races, Obama does better than Clinton in eight of them; only Kentucky and Louisiana are better for Clinton (and, seriously, if Mary Landrieu can’t win 25% of the white vote in Louisiana, she’s got bigger problems). There’s also the third tier of Senate races, in places like North Carolina, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota (that’s a defense), Texas, and Idaho, where Obama does better in four of five and ties Clinton in the fifth. Should Rick Noriega or Scott Kleeb catch lightning in a bottle, it would be better to have Obama at the top of the ticket. Put Tom Daschle or Ed Rendell as VP and he’ll be unstoppable.”

And Kos sums up those sentiments this way (which I agree with):

“It’s clear that in those states (and many others like it), Obama will be a dramatic help at the top of the ticket versus Clinton, who will play the traditional role of top-of-the-ticket albatross.”

(Map 1) SurveyUSA: John McCain vs. Hillary Clinton

John McCain vs. Hillary Clinton

(Map 2) SurveyUSA: John McCain vs. Barack Obama

John McCain vs. Barack Obama

(Map 3) CogitamusBlog: John McCain vs. Hillary Clinton

John McCain vs. Hillary Clinton

(Map 4) CogitamusBlog: John McCain vs. Barack Obama

John McCain vs. Barack Obama

(Map 5) CogitamusBlog: Clinton Vs. Obama Realtive Strength

Clinton Vs. Obama Realtive Strength