January 28th, 2009
02:53 PM ET
10 months ago

New analysis suggests growing Democratic edge

A new analysis shows few 'Red States' remain.
A new analysis shows few 'Red States' remain.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The nation was evenly divided during the bitterly fought 2000 campaign, but the election night map was not: Viewers saw a sea of red flooding most of the country, with blue states ringing the coasts.

Two cycles later, an analysis of a year’s worth of polling data released Wednesday suggests a far different electoral landscape, and a shift more dramatic than even the Democrats’ solid 2008 showing might suggest: an ocean of blue surrounding a shrinking red island in the center of the nation.

A string of recent polls have found the GOP’s party ID results have fallen to historic lows, and Republicans facing double-digit deficits on generic congressional ballots.

Gallup interviewed 350,000 Americans over the course of its 2008 daily tracking polls, including more than a thousand adults in every state except a few with relatively low populations: Wyoming, North Dakota and the District of Columbia.

Those interviews were conducted with state residents, not registered voters exclusively. Also included were adults who “leaned” Democratic or Republican, but were not members of either party, and might not be solid supporters.

The results, compiled into an analysis released in part this week, paint a bleak portrait for the GOP: In 35 states, a plurality of adults identified themselves as Democrats, or Democratic-leaning last year. In 10 more states, neither party had a statistically significant edge.

What’s left? Just five states - representing 20 electoral votes – had GOP pluralities in the 2008 cycle, as measured in the year-long surveys: Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Sarah Palin’s home state of Alaska were solidly Republican. And Nebraska, which gave one of its electoral votes to the Democratic presidential ticket, was Republican-leaning.

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia gave Democrats a party ID advantage of 10 points or more last year. That list includes the entire Northeast region, every Great Lakes state but one, and a handful of Southern states like North Carolina and Kentucky. Another half dozen states gave Democrats 5 to 9 point advantages.

The “most balanced” states in Gallup’s analysis – those that gave neither political party an advantage of more than a point or two, or were evenly split between the two – are areas that haven’t been competitive for Democrats on the national level in at least a generation, including South Dakota, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Carolina, Alabama, and Kansas. Also on that list: Arizona and Texas, home states of the GOP’s last two presidential candidates.

Republicans do have reason for hope. The map remains fluid. It’s unclear how many of those Democratic leaners will stick with the party, making the transition into solid supporters. And the fact that the polls included unregistered adults makes them an unreliable indicator of potential Election Day results.

But the potential remains for Democrats to magnify and institutionalize much of these gains with the next election cycle. The stakes are higher next year than in a typical off-year campaign: the state legislatures elected in 2010 will begin the process of translating fresh Census results into new congressional districts. The party that has the edge coming out of the next cycle will have the chance to solidify that advantage for the next decade.


Filed under: 2010 • Democratic Party • Republican Party
soundoff (219 Responses)
  1. Jackie in Colorado

    The voters waking up.....I hope Rush,, Sean Hanity and Newt keep shooting off their mouths, they have helped the red states turn blue!

    January 28, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. Zaley

    The Republicans, with their big mouths and narrow minds have turned red states a true blue. Sling the mud boys, it turns blue real quick!

    January 28, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. garin

    One can only hope that the political map color change in favor of the Dems does not get into their heads. If it does, blindness will take over wisdom and the result could be potentially calamitous. The Dems will highly be vulnarable for, perhaps, brutish blunders.

    January 28, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. Allen, Jacksonville, Florida

    A "shrinking island of red states".

    Try not to sound so gleeful about it, guys.

    January 28, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  5. Shari, NY

    Check out the census a few years down the road! The demographics of the country will be different too.

    January 28, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. Arkansas Undertaker

    Thank Goodness the nation is finally coming to its senses!

    January 28, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  7. John

    The republican party is doomed. They should all quit, federal, state and local should just abandom there office and leave the democrats in charge. Then the american people can see what socialism is all about!

    January 28, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Patrick

    What's ironic is that in the NE lots of liberal people used to be republican and and in the south lots of conservative people used to be democrats. The two parties have swapped who they represent. It has become almost rare to find a true conservative democrat or liberal republican. We need more of them though.

    January 28, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. Angie in Pa

    At the rate the Republicans are going With Limbaugh and the Gop refusing to work with Obama, That whole Map is gonna turn Blue Pay Att Gop Get out of the stoneages think Anew your tired failed Policies are killing you!

    January 28, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. Joanna

    And with the terrible GOP attitude, it will continue to grow. I am glad they aren't that bright, rush and Plain should run for Office in 2012. Go Obama.

    January 28, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This goes along with shifting demographics. We will not always be Republican leaning or Democrat leaning. One thing for sure is that we will all be Americans. Everyone has a different perspective on what is best for the country.

    January 28, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. Yomas

    Let's see...the party of torture, bigotry, fear mongering, illegal wars and subsequent profiteering, treasury bankrupting, gay bashing, immigrant deporting, religion politicizing hypocrites is losing the support of the nation???

    Wow...what a surprise. Way to go American public, you're finally realizing how despicable the Republican Party has become. Congratulations.

    January 28, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  13. Amber

    There are no red states, there are no blue states...

    January 28, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. David

    You would have thought the Republicans would have gotten a clue last November4th....but, instead they continue to buck the system at every turn and shoot their mouths off without even thinking of what they are saying. The states are turning blue across this nation and still, the Republicans keep shooting themselfs in the foot. Come next election day, I will NOT vote for any candidate with a (R) behind their name...not even for dog-catcher!

    January 28, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  15. Amy

    GO BLUE!

    January 28, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. Franky

    "A string of recent polls have found the GOP’s party ID results have fallen to historic lows, and Republicans facing double-digit deficits on generic congressional ballots."

    Jeez, we could've give you that stat many months ago...and by the way, if you should be worried about something is Independents. Independents are rising, we got numbers...and what do Independents believe? Ohh yeah, not what we Conservatives believe...

    January 28, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. Obama Victim

    enjoy this while it lasts dems....in a few years, the Bush years will seem like the good old days...can you say Carter/Reagan?? "The Messiah" won't be around long

    January 28, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. Mike Dallas

    Memo to neo-cons and bible-beaters disregard this poll as it is just another biased poll perputrated by the liberal media to further destroy family values.

    Also, please ignore the satellite picture of millions of American citizens that braved 20 degree weather from 3 A.M. 'til noon and when you feel like being an obstructionist, yell louder about cutting taxes and point out how well that has worked for the past 8 years. but at all costs do not offer any new solution, just scream louder about the old tried and true ones.

    But most of all, hold those bibles closer to the flag on that puffed out patriotic chest and keep recruiting in the deep South to expand the redneck base.

    Do all these things and America will come home to the Republican party in 2010.

    January 28, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. Bob in VA

    "There are no red states, there are no blue states…"

    Well, pretty soon that statement will be half right.

    January 28, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  20. political junkie

    ESPECIALLY – if Sarah Palin is the best that you've got!!!!

    Can you imagine HER putting in her 1 1/2 cents during
    this economic crisis????????????

    But the sad fact is, there were actually some people supporting
    her. That's even scarier.

    January 28, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. Jim

    Go Grey!

    January 28, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. Liz in Seattle

    Tha map shows Missouri as solid democratic. This is clearly flawed as MO has been extremely competitive for both parties for all statewide elections for decades. As a democrat I'd be thrilled if this map were right but there has got to be something wrong with the methods used here.

    January 28, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  23. Rex Moore Houston TX

    Texas will be a "battleground state" in 8 years, believe me....They're coming IN by the hundreds !! ( like every day) But my problem is this :
    when they have a social security number that is SO real looking, you almost have to hire them.........http://www.kickerillo.com/

    January 28, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. Frank

    Nothing like 8 years of Republican rule to remind you why you don't want 8 years of Republican rule.

    Now if we can just improve our long-term memory capacity....

    January 28, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. CSD

    The GOP – Whigs for the 21st Century. When you have a party that fielded multiple presidential candidates who REALLY believe the earth is 6000 years old, it's time to call it a day.....

    January 28, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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