Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Obama's Near Misses Northwest of the Mississippi

Bookmark and Share

Barack Obama's convincing victory on Election Day was noted for several strong performances West of the Mississippi - picking up New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada as well as taking back Iowa, which had flipped to the GOP in 2004.

Obama also turned in particularly impressive performances in Montana and the Dakotas (and John McCain's home state of Arizona), though it remains to be seen whether the president-elect will be able to lead Democrats into serious contention in these states in 2012 and beyond.

History is on the side of the GOP.

South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana have each participated in 30 presidential elections since statehood, beginning in 1892.

On the positive side for the Democrats, Obama's performance in South Dakota (44.8 percent) was the 10th highest ever and the largest since Michael Dukakis in 1988 (46.5 percent). South Dakota turnout for Obama was also 5.1 points higher than its 116-year average (39.1 percent).

In North Dakota, Obama's 44.5 percent was the 9th highest in state history, and the largest since Jimmy Carter in 1976 (45.8 percent). It was also 7.1 points greater than the statewide historical average in presidential elections (37.3 percent).

Montana, the Democratic Party's next best chance to pick up a West of the Mississippi state in 2012, registered 47.2 percent for Obama - good for 11th highest in state history, and the largest since LBJ in 1964 (59.0 percent). But, Montana used to be a Democratic stronghold throughout WWI, the Great Depression, and WWII, with its nominees carrying the state 11 times overall 1896, 1900, 1912, 1916, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, 1948, 1964, and 1992. As such, Obama's 2008 vote tally was just 1.8 points better than the state's historical average for Democrats (45.4 percent).

The Democratic Party has a much steeper hill to climb at the presidential level in the Dakotas: no Democrat has won either state since LBJ in 1964. Democrats have carried South Dakota just four times (1896, 1932, 1936, and 1964) and North Dakota five times (1912, 1916, 1932, 1936, and 1964).

Looking at the three-state region as a whole, Democrats have reached the 50 percent mark in just 3 of 45 presidential contests dating back to 1952 (and all of those in 1964).

Democratic Vote in Presidential Elections, 1892-2008

Year
South Dakota
North Dakota
Montana
2008
44.8
44.5
47.2
2004
38.4
35.5
38.6
2000
37.6
33.1
33.4
1996
43.0
40.1
41.2
1992
37.1
32.2
37.6
1988
46.5
43.0
46.2
1984
36.5
33.8
38.2
1980
31.7
26.3
32.4
1976
48.9
45.8
45.4
1972
45.5
35.8
37.9
1968
42.0
38.2
41.6
1964
55.6
58.0
59.0
1960
41.8
44.5
48.6
1956
41.6
38.1
42.9
1952
30.7
28.4
40.1
1948
47.0
43.4
53.1
1944
41.7
45.5
54.3
1940
42.6
44.2
58.8
1936
54.0
59.6
69.3
1932
63.6
57.4
58.8
1928
39.2
44.5
40.5
1924
13.3
7.0
19.4
1920
19.7
18.2
32.1
1916
45.9
47.8
56.9
1912
42.1
34.1
35.0
1908
35.1
34.8
42.6
1904
21.7
20.4
33.8
1900
41.1
39.6
58.4
1896*
49.7
43.7
79.9
1892
12.7
0.0
39.8

* Democrat William Jennings Bryan ran on the Populist ticket in South Dakota in 1896.



Previous post: Upper Midwestern Reapportionment, Part II: A Historical Overview
Next post: As Coleman Toils, Klobuchar Sails

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting