November 5, 2008

2008: Hope, maybe, but not much Change

Here's Andrew Gelman's graph showing that there wasn't much regional change between 2004 and 2008 at the state level, just a national shift to the left (up in this graph). (I'm not sure what % of precincts reporting he's using, but I doubt if anything will change much).

The states below the 45 degree line swung toward the GOP -- most notably Arkansas and Louisiana. Arkansas is probably still undergoing the process of de-Clintonization and is rejoining the rest of the South. Hurricane Katrina ethnically cleansed some of the poor blacks living below sea level in New Orleans, so the state has moved to the right. I'm not sure what's going on in Oklahoma. The GOP did well in Alaska, presumably due to Sarah Palin. The GOP also did well in Massachusetts due to a favorite son not being the Democratic nominee.

The real outlier for the Democrats is Hawaii, which is, presumably, a favorite son effect for Obama. Vermont is just becoming Vermontier, Delaware is undergoing a long term shift from being a bellwether purple state to a solidly blue one, Nevada was driven left by the Hispanic influx and the highest rate of foreclosures in the country. I don't know why Indiana jumped so much to the left -- perhaps Gary and the rest of Greater Chicago in Indiana was fired up for the local hero. Utah's move from being ultra-Republican in 2004 to just highly Republican might have something to do with growing Hispanic presence, or from Mormons being sore at McCain beating Romney. (Nine months ago, I wondered how Mormons would react to the anti-Mormon animus seen in some of the GOP primaries.)

Anyway, you can see the new best fit line would simply have shifted up (in the Democrats' direction) a few points, with a pretty good fit.

And here's the quivalent graph comparing 2000 to 2004, with the 45 degree line representing how Gore did in 2000. A very, very similar pair of elections, just with Bush running about 3 points better in 2004 than in 2000 almost everywhere in the country.

If you drew up the equivalent graph for the 1952 and 1956, which featured Eisenhower and Stevenson running both times, it would look more like a random scatterplot. On a state-by-state basis, the political environment was a lot more dynamic in the 1950s than today.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

14 comments:

James said...

Because it was one country then. Today we're two countries voting for one leader.

RobertHume said...

Steve,

I haven't seen anyone suggest that the increase in the Democratic vote by Hispanics ... dissing all of McCain's hard work ... might be due to race.

Isn't it plausible that they are voting for the non-white? As white influence declines, theirs may be expected to increase.

I'm trying to think how this might be tested statistically ...

(belongs here rather than in the comments for your following post)

Anonymous said...

Steve,
Check out this map that Razib posted:
http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp/2008/11/where_obama_overperformed_unde.php

It does look like the country jogged to the Left, excepting Appalachia and extending into Oklahoma and Arkansas. On the map, those two states look like part of a pattern, related to Appalachia.

It looks like turnout was only up only very marginally over 2004, btw.

On an unrelated note, the only bit of schadenfreude we get to experience is that gay marriage went down to defeat in California and it was because of blacks and latinos. A gay activist at the Volokh Conspiracy described the surreal spectacle of Whiterpeople simultaneously celebrating the power of blacks that they got one of their own elected president and, yet, very disappointed over their socially liberal amendment that lost. When it became apparent that black power killed it, disappointment turned to bitter anguish.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/11052008/news/nationalnews/california_voters_approve_gay_marriage_b_137139.htm

Steve N said...

If you drew up the equivalent graph for the 1952 and 1956, which featured Eisenhower and Stevenson running both times, it would look more like a random scatterplot. On a state-by-state basis, the political environment was a lot more dynamic in the 1950s than today.

I wonder: Is that unique to the '50s? If not, is the Culture War, defined as divisive questions regarding the common good that have little or no room for compromise, really something unique in (recent) history? And if so, how will it go away?

Anonymous said...

McCain did better in Oklahoma than Obama did in Illinois (and much better than McCain did in Arizona).

Anonymous said...

As a Limey, I enjoy the all-round electoral waywardness of VT. A Socialist in the Senate, big Dem majorities for both House seats, but the governorship was easily held by the fiscally stingy Jim Douglas, and most of the races for state offices have gone to the GOP.

The "looney granola liberal-secesh Canadianesque" image does not adequately sum up VT's vagaries.

ben g said...

on indiana you'll want to look into higher turnout by blacks (esp. in Indianapolis and Northwest suburbs of Chicago/gary) and youth voters (significant university populations). my guess is that the answer lies there.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Vermont is just becoming Vermontier

It's time for conservatives to retake Vermont. Vermont belongs with all the other small states that vote Republican. Let's buy the FLDS community a nice compound in VT and send them there to breed. Vermonters are tolerant - they won't try to do what Texas did. Joe Smith was originally from Vermont, anyway, so it'll be just like returning home.

With the way they breed we could easily retake it by 2016.

Anonymous said...

Whiterpeople simultaneously celebrating the power of blacks that they got one of their own elected president and, yet, very disappointed over their socially liberal amendment that lost. When it became apparent that black power killed it, disappointment turned to bitter anguish.

One would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.

togo said...

Because it was one country then. Today we're two countries voting for one leader.

No, it was two nations then too. Resentment over the Civil War and Reconstruction was still pervasive in the South. And, of course, it had its special rules and customs re blacks.

It seems, in retrospect, that the nation was more unified then because public discourse tended to be a lot more polite and restrained than it is today and there was a culture that strived to ignore or minimize difference. Odd now to think that liberal hero Adlai Stevenson had a segregationist running mate in 1952. But Sen. Sparkman(the running mate)was said to have defended segregation like he didn't really mean it. He did, however, vote against every single civil rights bill.

Formation of public opinion on touchy issues seems to have largely the domain of local newspapers and friendship and kin networks.

Douglas Knight said...

I'd like to see a plot from 1952/1956. Sure, I believe the qualitative claim, but how much less correlation was there?

Roy said...

Being from Oklahoma, I suspect that there are a fair number of rural white democrats who are going to have issues voting for a black man with a Muslim name.

I think partially due to the dust bowl and FDR, Oklahoma still has a significant number of working class whites who vote democratic. Whereas in most other States these types had already switched parties.

Arkansas may be in a similar situation.

Truth said...

Hey; states with lots of white people on both ends of the scale, who would have thought?

AMac said...

David Laser at the Complexity and Social Networks blog has the "Popular Vote by State" graph comparing "Obama 2008" to "Carter 1976". What a difference! r^2 must be about 0.2 for that correlation. Hope, I dunno, but Change: lots of it, 1976 to 2008.