Obama’s battle against electoral history

Can Senator Obama change this?

Author’s note: The following post admittedly uses data from a partisan organization. It’s intent is to highlight historical data to provide context for a current event. Your writer found some of the researchers’ conclusions to be simplistic and narrow, particularly in their lack of accounting for shocks to political culture during and between election years.

Barack Obama’s coalition of young, black and independent-leaning voters might not be enough to significantly change the electoral map as it has stood the last several election cycles, according to a conservative think tank. The American Enterprise Institute’s John Fortier notes that while states have switched which party they give their electoral votes over the long-term, they are less affected by short-term changes and follow the national popular vote plus or minus the “handicap” one party has on another. He argues that if states largely follow the national vote then political differences between states are less of a factor, producing more measured change than commonly believed:

Imagine a state that leans 10 percentage points toward a Republican when the national popular vote is 50-50. If a Democrat wins the national vote by 15 points, he or she will likely win that state by 5 points. If a Republican wins the national vote by 10 points, he or she will win the state by 20 points.

Mr Fortier admits there have been exceptions to America’s relative political stability, including the Republican Presidential blowouts in 1972 and 1984 and the volatility of the south before the 1980s.

Can Obama change U.S. political map? – [Politico editorial]

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6 Responses

  1. “The American Enterprise Institute’s” I tuned out riiiight about there. Basically, neocons are saying that Obama can’t win. Surprising.

  2. Yeah, I figured I’d get that. I posted it despite that the researchers were from the AEI because I thought it would be good to show a different analytical approach to election results. I failed to say that in the post. My title didn’t help either.

  3. Yeah, I mean it’s something worth bringing up…just maybe a different source would have been better haha.

  4. Most definitely.

  5. Being the optimist that I am, I have to believe that Obama will walk away from the south with at least one win in the electorate. Maybe that is me fooling myself.

  6. He’s got Virginia in the bag. And with a Richardson VP nomination I see a lot happening in the mountain west (even with McCain’s home state and moderate immigration record). With that ticket you’re obviously winning New Mexico, but Colorado is also within reach. Despite my post (and I try to reduce my opinion’s influence over what I post in favor of what I think most people would like to know) I think that Obama can get his foot in the door of the deeper south and other mountain west states like Montana and Wyoming.

    So I don’t think you’re fooling yourself–you’re likely right. I wouldn’t underestimate the power–especially with Obama’s grassroots organization–of getting black people, an increasingly potent part of the electorate, out to vote.

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