January 28th, 2009
02:53 PM ET
6 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. Shucks

    And if the republicans keep playing games and trying to divide the nation the whole country will be blue. So come on folks, keep acting the fools. Keep the racism rampant, and keep listening to Limbaugh, Hannity and Coulter. They love the ratings. All the democrats want is a victory in 2010 that will leave the republican party in shambles for 30 years. All you do is preach morals anyway, while showing a complete lack. Who cares what you and your churches and religions think. Only you the dividers of America.

    January 28, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. AA Michael

    I always found it odd that the GOP coor is red – as in Red China and the former Soviet Union. I suspect it has to do with their "America -love it or leave it" attitude. Sorry Republicans, Big Blue is staying and it looks like you're the ones that will be packing your bags.

    January 28, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Just watching CNN – The Republicans want to "go back to basics" -
    betting that means slavery, no votes for women, child labor and all the rest of the things from "the good old days."

    January 28, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. Dont blame me

    Give it 18 months of Obama CHANGE and it will change back to normal.

    January 28, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. In Houston, TX

    And they said the American public was stupid...
    And even after all of the significant losses the GOP has sustained they still can't figure out why this is happening. They just don't get it. And they don't know what to do

    Here is a tip.

    Tax cuts don't create jobs, they never have, they never will. When you cut taxes you just put more money in the pocket of a taxpayer and the way our system is setup, that only benefits the rich.
    We had 8 years of deep tax cuts and record job losses. At this point, common sense would tell you tax cuts don't work.

    The GOP opposition to Obama's stimulus plan is SO working against them.

    January 28, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. listen

    republicans are on their way out.

    January 28, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. Independent Paul from Phoenix

    Fine journalism. I mean really well done. Lets see, after an incredibly unpopular President, more people seem to be moving to the opposite party.

    Holy Obvious Batman!

    Let's see what shifts occur if Obama and the Dems screw it up. Don't forget, in 2002, Bush became the first President ever to gain seats in the mid-term elections of his first administration.

    2 years is a long, long way away, but it will be here before we finish blinking.

    January 28, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. Mark

    I was just wondering why the unemployment and government debt is higher in blue states and less in red states. Michigan & California vs. the Dakotas for example. Could it be that we should be more fiscally conservative? It is very interesting to compare the different states based on the last election results and how they are doing now in this economic hardship.

    January 28, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. GuyInVA

    I was raised in North Carolina and currently reside in Virginia. Each of these states "turned blue" in the 2008 election. I'm sure a lackluster Republican candidate had a little to do with it, but I believe that the constant relocation of people from northeastern states contributed greatly to NC and VA's shift. I realize that neither are among the fastest growing states right now, but there has been an amazing (alarming?) influx of people from the northeast. Having lived in New Jersey and worked in New York City for 5 years, I heard every insult, slight, and stereotype about the south. Then those same people retired and fled the northeast for the south. I don't blame them for leaving, but I sure wish they would have stayed home. For that matter, try going to Atlanta and finding someone with a southern accent. Just a thought.

    Keep your eye on Alabama. The 4th fastest growing state in the nation. From where, I wonder, are all the new people are moving.

    January 28, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. Tesa P; Savannah, GA

    The main reason... REPUBS are inclusive....... no minorities, no educated women... no one speaks out of line... sort of like a fraternity.........or cult...........This election has not shown them anything.....

    January 28, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. J.P.

    Wow, all this prognosticating based off of polling data...

    The only poll that matters is the one held in election booths in 50 states all across this great nation.

    History has proven that the president's party ALWAYS loses seats in the midterm (with only a handful of exceptions). 2010 will be 1994. Count on it.

    January 28, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. John

    Good to see Democrats have know their grammar.

    Republicans the party of bankrupting the treasury? How ironic you say that, as the Democrats and Obama prepare to increase our national debt by $1 trillion dollars with their very first bill.

    January 28, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. uncle jimbo - Chicago

    Yomas – You said it best – I can hardley think of anything to add.

    January 28th, 2009 4:14 pm ET
    "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?"

    God has Blessed America with a new beginning.
    Now get ready for the Republicants to try and thwart any possitive actions.

    January 28, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  14. Hauk

    I'm a solid Dem, and I don't buy this. Kansas as competitive? I've lived there, and it's not close to competitive. Oklahoma as leaning Democratic? Sorry, no way. Something's wrong with these results.

    January 28, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  15. Mari

    I am not surprised, since the Republican party has been kidnapped by the likes of Hannity-the-hater and Limbaugh-the-comedian!

    As long as the Republicans continue to spew hate.... lies...... fear and divsion..... America WILL continue to reject their VILE politics!

    It is SO amusing to watch Republicans bow down at the "altar of Limbaugh"! They pay him homage........ a man, whom has said, that he
    hope the president fails!

    GOP=HYPOCRITES

    January 28, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. Mike, Syracuse NY

    This too shall shift. Once a party has the power, they get lazy, lose touch, and get thrown out. The Dems were given up for dead under Reagan. Clinton won the election only to have Congress flip 2 years later. Hey, nothing is permanent. The Dems will screw up, like they always screw up, and it will be our turn again.

    January 28, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  17. Irma in North Carolina

    Just wait till 2012 when Sarah runs for president there will be a lot fewer red states. If the republicans conduct them selves like they did in 2008 they wont stand a chance in 2012.

    January 28, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  18. JAF

    You know you can ignore this study simply based on this:

    "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."

    I'm from Oklahoma, the state that gave the largest victory to McCain. Not one of our 77 counties supported Obama. We haven't voted Democrat nationally since the 60's and that's not going to change any time soon. The fact that Oklahoma was left of this list as solidly GOP (or even leaning GOP) shows the absurdity of such studies. It's true that Democrats hold a party affiliation edge here (by quite a large margin), but that means nothing if they vote for Republicans.

    January 28, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. Greed is not good

    How can ANY one of the 50 states possibly still vote Red?

    The few that are left have TINY populations making them even more obscure.

    January 28, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. Putin still invading Alaskan airspace between Palin's ears

    The more the Rethuglican party sees candidates like Palin as "mainstream or the real America", the bluer the country becomes.

    January 28, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  21. Rico

    Rush Limbaugh hopes this map fails...

    January 28, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. Jackson, Seattle

    John January 28th, 2009 4:13 pm ET

    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!
    ___________

    And what better example of socialism than red state Alaska itself, which takes money from the oil industry and redistributes it to the populace of Alaska once a year. Funny how in all the talks of socialism, no one ever wants to mention that little tidbit.

    It was no different than when Dole condemned violent Hollywood movies made by Segall and Stallone, but never once mentioned Schwarzeneggar by name, since he was, at the time, a big Republican fundraiser.

    Hypocrisy rules in the Republican Party.

    January 28, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. pjartco

    Apparently, there is a RUSH of people leaving the Republican party.

    January 28, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. Billy

    If there were to poll again after this week of republican political grandstanding, I'd expect to see even more states turn blue. Way to go Party of No – you're whining your way into obscurity.

    January 28, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. yellowdoggie

    Please, please, please. Some fellow Democrats need to join me in Oklahoma. We have pretty good weather most of the time when we're not dodging tornadoes. We have a pretty strong economy, our cost of living is WAY low, and we have good school systems if you look hard. Please please please. I'm so sick of living in a blood-red state. Please! I need some help here!

    January 28, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9