Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Iceberg: Split-Ticket Voting Leaves GOPers Cold in Two Northern US Senate Races

Bookmark and Share

North Dakota's Rick Berg and Montana's Denny Rehberg were the latest Republican victims of a rich history of split-ticket voting in their respective states

jontester10.jpgMany political observers did not think Democratic Montana U.S. Senator Jon Tester would survive in his reelection bid earlier this month with Mitt Romney poised to win the state by a comfortable margin at the top of the ticket and opponent Denny Rehberg given a slight advantage in the Real Clear Politics polling average.

Smart Politics explained back in 2011 how Tester could survive despite the state voting Republican for president and, unlike Larry Sabato and Nate Silver, projected his victory due to a strong Libertarian candidacy by Dan Cox and another historical advantage in the Democrat's corner.

That advantage also benefited Democrat Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota against another berg from the U.S. House - one term GOPer Rick Berg.

A Smart Politics analysis of 862 U.S. Senate contests during presidential election cycles over the last century finds that only two states - Montana and North Dakota - have voted to split their presidential/U.S. Senate ballots more than half of the time.

Montana has done so in 10 of 18 cycles, or 55.6 percent of the time, with all 10 of these finding the state - as it did in 2012 - voting for the Republican presidential nominee and a Democratic Senator.

The state has now done so in eight of the last 11 cycles in which both federal offices have been on the ballot: 1952 (Mike Mansfield), 1960 (Lee Metcalf), 1972 (Metcalf), 1976 (John Melcher), 1984 (Max Baucus), 1996 (Baucus), 2008 (Baucus), and 2012 (Tester).

Montana voters also split their ticket in this fashion in 1924 (Thomas Walsh) and 1928 (Burton Wheeler).

In North Dakota, Heitkamp's victory two weeks ago means its electorate has split its ticket for president and U.S. Senator in 9 of 17 cycles, or 52.9 percent of the time.

That includes seven occasions in which North Dakotans have voted for a Republican presidential nominee and a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate: 1944 (John Moses), 1976 (Quentin Burdick), 1988 (Burdick), 1992 (Byron Dorgan), 2000 (Kent Conrad), 2004 (Dorgan), and 2012 (Heitkamp).

Rounding out the Top 10 states most likely to split their tickets are Oregon at #3 (47.4 percent), Rhode Island at #4 (47.1 percent), Louisiana and Missouri at #5 (44.4 percent), Arkansas and New Hampshire at #7 (43.8 percent), Minnesota at #9 (42.1 percent), and Delaware and Pennsylvania at #10 (41.2 percent).

Overall, the rate of split-ticket voting in presidential and U.S. Senate races is 29.1 percent, with 251 instances out of 862 contests since the first popular vote elections for the nation's upper legislative chamber a century ago.

Missouri - the #5 "split-ticket" state mentioned above - did so again in 2012.

Although due in part to unusual circumstances with controversial statements made by GOP nominee Todd Akin, the Show Me State reelected one-term Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill by 15.5 points with Romney taking the state by 9.6 points.

Missouri has split its ticket for these two offices in eight out of 18 cycles (44.4 percent), including five times with a GOP presidential nominee and Democratic U.S. Senator (1952, 1968, 1980, 2000, 2012).

After Montana (10), North Dakota (7), and Nevada (6), Missouri is tied for fourth with Arkansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia with five split-tickets in this GOP-DEM manner at the top of the ticket.

Only one state, Kansas, has never simultaneously voted for a Republican president and a Democratic U.S. Senator across the 50 states.

By contrast, 18 states have never split their tickets by voting for a Democratic presidential nominee and a GOP U.S. Senator: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Nevada did so for the first time in 2012 voting for Obama and Republican U.S. Senator Dean Heller.

The five lowest ranking states on the split-ticket voting scale are Wisconsin at #46 (11.8 percent, 2 of 17 cycles), North Carolina at #47 (6.3 percent, 1 of 16), Utah at #48 (5.9 percent, 1 of 17), and Kansas and Wyoming tied for #49 (5.6 percent, 1 of 18 each).

In 2012, Wisconsin voted Democratic for both of these offices while Utah and Wyoming voted Republican.

After seeing Richard Mourdock's candidacy implode in the final few weeks of the campaign, Indiana (#45, 15.8 percent), split its ticket for just the third time in history, voting in Democrat Joe Donnelly for U.S. Senate and supporting Romney for president.

Split-Ticket Voting in Presidential and U.S. Senate Races by State, 1908-2012

Rank
State
Split
Total
% Split
1
Montana
10
18
55.6
2
North Dakota
9
17
52.9
3
Oregon
9
19
47.4
4
Rhode Island
8
17
47.1
5
Missouri
8
18
44.4
5
Louisiana
8
18
44.4
7
New Hampshire
7
16
43.8
7
Arkansas
7
16
43.8
9
Minnesota
8
19
42.1
10
Pennsylvania
7
17
41.2
10
Delaware
7
17
41.2
12
Massachusetts
7
18
38.9
12
Maine
7
18
38.9
12
Georgia
7
18
38.9
15
South Dakota
6
16
37.5
16
New Jersey
7
19
36.8
16
Nevada
7
19
36.8
18
Washington
6
17
35.3
19
Tennessee
6
18
33.3
19
Alaska
3
9
33.3
21
Alabama
5
16
31.3
22
New York
5
17
29.4
22
Nebraska
5
17
29.4
22
Virginia
5
17
29.4
25
California
5
18
27.8
25
Colorado
5
18
27.8
25
West Virginia
5
18
27.8
28
Kentucky
5
19
26.3
29
Iowa
4
16
25.0
30
Maryland
4
17
23.5
30
Ohio
4
17
23.5
30
South Carolina
4
17
23.5
33
Idaho
4
18
22.2
33
Vermont
4
18
22.2
33
New Mexico
4
18
22.2
33
Hawaii
2
9
22.2
33
Arizona
4
18
22.2
33
Mississippi
4
18
22.2
39
Florida
4
19
21.1
40
Oklahoma
4
19
21.1
41
Connecticut
3
17
17.6
41
Michigan
3
17
17.6
41
Texas
3
17
17.6
44
Illinois
3
18
16.7
45
Indiana
3
19
15.8
46
Wisconsin
2
17
11.8
47
North Carolina
1
16
6.3
48
Utah
1
17
5.9
49
Kansas
1
18
5.6
49
Wyoming
1
18
5.6
Data compiled by Smart Politics.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: House Democrats Inch Closer to Becoming a Two-State Caucus
Next post: Ohio: Gerrymandering 1, Obama Coattails 0

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Slam Dunk: Will 36 Record Presidential Winning Streaks Continue in 2016?

Three-dozen states are currently in the midst of their longest Democratic or Republican presidential winning streaks.

Political Crumbs

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.


Two Dakotas, One Voice?

For each of the last 24 presidential elections since 1920, North and South Dakota have voted in unison - casting their ballots for the same nominee. For 21 of these cycles (including each of the last 12 since 1968) Republicans carried the Dakotas with just three cycles going to the Democrats (1932, 1936, and 1964). This streak stands in contrast to the first few decades after statehood when North and South Dakota supported different nominees in four of the first seven cycles. North Dakota narrowly backed Populist James Weaver in 1892 while South Dakota voted for incumbent Republican Benjamin Harrison. In 1896, it was North Dakota backing GOPer William McKinley while South Dakota supported Democrat William Jennings Bryan by less than 200 votes. North Dakota voted Democratic in 1912 and 1916 supporting Woodrow Wilson while South Dakota cast its Electoral College votes for Progressive Teddy Roosevelt and Republican Charles Hughes respectively.


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