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

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


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