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Minnesota Becomes 1st State Outside South to Vote Democratic in 10 Straight Presidential Elections

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Minnesota joins Virginia as the only states with 10+ consecutive cycle stretches backing Democratic and Republican presidential nominees in state history

minnesotaseal10.jpgWhen will Republicans give up on Minnesota?

Despite chatter late in the presidential campaign that the Gopher State was in play for the Mitt Romney campaign - as perhaps part of an alternate path to 270 electoral votes - Barack Obama ended up carrying the state for the Democratic Party once again by a 7.7-point margin.

That marked the tenth consecutive cycle the GOP has lost Minnesota - the party's longest drought in any state across the nation.

However, so long as its presidential races continue to be decided by single digits, the Gopher State will likely always remain on the radar of the GOP.

Even if the state remains the party's fool's gold of the north.

A Smart Politics analysis finds that Minnesota - at 10 cycles - now has the longest consecutive Democratic winning streak in presidential elections outside of the south since the founding of the modern Democratic Party in 1828.

Prior to the state voting for Barack Obama in 2012, Minnesota was tied at nine straight cycles with Missouri, which voted Democratic from 1828 through 1860 (twice for Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, as well as James Polk, Lewis Cass, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Stephen Douglas).

Minnesota has now voted Democratic in 13 of the last 14 presidential elections dating back to 1960 and 18 of 21 since 1932.

Republicans have generally managed to be competitive during the state's current 10-cycle streak, with the average Democratic victory margin at 7.6 points and six contests decided by less than eight points:

· Jimmy Carter defeated Ronald Reagan by 3.9 points in 1980.
· Native son Walter Mondale defeated Reagan by 0.2 points in 1984.
· Michael Dukakis defeated George H.W. Bush by 7.0 points in 1988.
· Al Gore defeated George W. Bush by 2.4 points in 2000.
· John Kerry defeated Bush by 3.5 points in 2004.
· Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney by 7.7 points in 2012.

The Top 11 all-time longest periods of consecutive Democratic victories in presidential elections stretch across the nation's southern region, with Georgia notching the longest period of 24 cycles from 1868 to 1960, followed by Arkansas at 23 (1876-1964), Alabama and Mississippi at 18 (1876-1944), Louisiana and South Carolina at 17 (1880-1944), and Texas at 13 (1872-1924).

A total of 16 states are currently in the midst of their longest ever period of voting for Democratic presidential candidates.

Minnesota leads the way at 10 straight cycles (1976-2012), followed by Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin with seven (1988-2012), and California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Vermont with six (1992-2012).

Minnesota also now holds the distinction of being just one of two states, along with Virginia, that has both compiled 10+ consecutive cycles backing both Democratic and Republican presidential nominees.

From statehood until 1908, the Gopher State voted Republican 13 cycles in a row, with Progressive nominee Teddy Roosevelt ending the streak in 1912. (Minnesota would go on to back the GOP nominee for the next four cycles through 1928).

Virginia is tied for the eighth longest Democratic streak at 12 cycles (1876-1924) and recorded a string of 10 cycles voting for the GOP nominee (1960-2004).

Minnesota's 13-cycle GOP streak is tied with Pennsylvania for #9 all-time behind Vermont at 27 (1856-1960), and Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Rhode Island at 14 (all 1856-1908).

Nine states have rattled off 12 consecutive cycles voting for the Republican nominee - all beginning with Richard Nixon in 1968: Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

Longest Democratic Party Winning Streak in Presidential Elections by State

State
Region
Period
Cycles
Georgia
South
1868-1960
24
Arkansas
South
1876-1964
23
Alabama
South
1876-1944
18
Mississippi
South
1876-1944
18
Louisiana
South
1880-1944
17
South Carolina
South
1880-1944
17
Texas
South
1872-1924
13
North Carolina
South
1876-1924
12
Virginia
South
1876-1924
12
Tennessee
South
1872-1916
12
Florida
South
1880-1924
11
Minnesota
Midwest
1976-2012
10
Missouri
Midwest
1828-1860
9
Kentucky
South
1864-1892
8
Illinois
Midwest
1828-1856
8
Hawaii
West
1988-2012
7
Massachusetts
Northeast
1988-2012
7
New York
Northeast
1988-2012
7
Oregon
West
1988-2012
7
Rhode Island
Northeast
1988-2012
7
Washington
West
1988-2012
7
Wisconsin
Midwest
1988-2012
7
Maryland
South
1868-1892
7
California
West
1992-2012
6
Connecticut
Northeast
1992-2012
6
Delaware
South
1992-2012
6
Maine
Northeast
1992-2012
6
Michigan
Midwest
1992-2012
6
New Jersey
Northeast
1992-2012
6
Pennsylvania
Northeast
1992-2012
6
Vermont
Northeast
1992-2012
6
West Virginia
South
1932-1952
6
New Hampshire
Northeast
1832-1852
6
Arizona
West
1932-1948
5
Idaho
West
1932-1948
5
Montana
West
1932-1948
5
Nevada
West
1932-1948
5
New Mexico
West
1932-1948
5
Oklahoma
South
1932-1948
5
Utah
West
1932-1948
5
Iowa
Midwest
1988-2000
4
Indiana
Midwest
1844-1856
4
Ohio
Midwest
1932-1940
3
Wyoming
West
1932-1940
3
Colorado
West
1908-1916
3
Nebraska
Midwest
1908-1916
3
South Dakota
Midwest
1932-1936
2
Kansas
Midwest
1912-1916; 1932-1936
2
North Dakota
Midwest
1912-1916; 1932-1936
2
Alaska
West
1964
1
Regional designations as per the U.S. Census. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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3 Comments


  • Although technically not a state, DC has trended Dem for longer, since the 23rd amendment in '61 (so since the '64 election)

  • Illinois also has six consecutive victories for Democrats (1992-2012).

  • Correct - but Illinois is not in the midst of its longest ever Democratic winning streak (the context of the statement above). Illinois had an 8-cycle streak from 1828 to 1856.

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

    Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

    Political Crumbs

    Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

    Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


    An Idaho Six Pack

    Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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