January 28th, 2009
02:53 PM ET
8 years ago

New analysis suggests growing Democratic edge

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/28/art.map.cnn.jpg caption="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. BB


    Look at their heroes – Rush and Rove

    All we have to do is sit back and listen to them both hang themselves.

    But then, the uneducated republicans will follow anyone. The educated republicans will join Ron Paul or the Dems.

    Game over

    January 28, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  2. Dale

    Give it four years. I remember the Carter years; these will be worse. When the bill for all the stimulus pork comes due, and the country is bankrupt like a lot of those big blue socialist states (California for example) there will be change you can believe in.

    January 28, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  3. Cynthia - Arkansas

    Arkansas is pretty blue. The Governor is a Democrat, both Senators are Democrats, my Congressman is a Democrat

    When Huckabee couldn't run again(lucky for him), the Democrats took every seat that was open. He was VERY unpopular by that time. We couldn't wait to get him out of office!

    That was two years ago and the state has run pretty well ever since!

    January 28, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  4. Va 4 Obama

    Great news! The Republicans really need to find a middle ground and stop shoving their right-wing, religious agenda's down our throats!! Wake up.......the majority of Americans are middle of the road....not far right!!

    January 28, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  5. wildflower

    If Republicans keep doing stupid things like they did today, it's likely to be all blue pretty soon.

    January 28, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  6. Peter (CA)

    As much as I am pleased to see this trend, I hope the Democrats work their a@#^& off to earn that honor.
    The Republicans will not go away. They should have after Watergate but they came back big 6 years later. They should have after the Clinton years but they came back again.
    If the Democrats get fat and lazy, we will lose again.
    Pelosi and Reid--I have not been big supporters of either of you. Here is your chance to prove me wrong.

    January 28, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  7. R in Maine

    So just refuse to cooperate this year. Then leave for the next 20 years.

    January 28, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  8. Jonathan

    Funny thing is the majority of people on this blog probably don't even know the fundamental differences between Republicans and Democrats. They bash Bush but don't really know why...they praise Obama but don't really know why.

    January 28, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  9. TSRVT

    I for one think this is fantastic. I can't wait for the day when there are NO read states. The country will be considerably better off with the conservatives marginalized.

    January 28, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |


    January 28, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  11. w.l. jones

    Aren^t we American a wonderful group of people? I never seen the good mood swing we all displaying in many years it must be some in the air. May I say good thing is coming to America.

    January 28, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  12. TSRVT

    * correcting typo * I for one think this is fantastic. I can't wait for the day when there are NO red states. The country will be considerably better off with the conservatives marginalized.

    January 28, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  13. Outspoken

    This isn't news. I have realized for some time that we are becoming a nation of parasites. Let's face it: the only reaons people vote for the democratic party is because they want the government to give them something for free. Over time, as the democratic party becomes stronger and stronger, America will become weaker and weaker. Thanks to the democrats, we have become a nation of dead-beats and free-loaders.

    January 28, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  14. CC

    Go Utah! I guess Utah's one of the only places that actually votes on principle rather than rhetoric. We vote for the guys with the (R) next to their names because they are good leaders (Orrin Hatch, Bob Bennett, Jon Huntsman).

    Republicans should follow the Utah model: get qualified, reasonable, principled leaders who will never throw mud on the "other guys" and rant and rave in a scary, uncontrolled way. Plus leaders like Hatch and Bennett don't eat their young like some Republicans do when the issue of religion is brought up.

    I regret we are in the same party as Sarah Palin, George W. Bush and Mike Huckabee. Yuck. The party needed a good cleansing.

    January 28, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  15. Jan Illinois

    And they owe it all to W.

    January 28, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  16. Lori


    A few years ago when they were talking about the Democratic demise, it was based on fear- a war on terror, Bush's then popularity, etc.

    The reason why the Republican party is on its way down is because the party is seen as racist (so there will never be a majority of Latinos, blacks, Asians, and gays and lesbians voting Republican for a long time or ever) and intelligent white people don't care to vote for a racist, fear-mongering divisive party. This is not out of fear but out of the respect and inclusiveness that most Americans feel the Democratic party advocates for and the Republicans for so long have been against. Big difference.

    January 28, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  17. EVOLVE



    GO DEM'S!!!

    January 28, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  18. Sandra Dee

    I noticed that the Republicans are trying to avoid going after Obama and are going after Pelosi and Reid now. Interesting strategy. Unfortunately, though, when the Republicans continue to support toxic personalities like Rush Limbaugh, it shows that they still are intent on retaining their bigoted footing.

    January 28, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  19. Perusing-Through

    When the going gets tough, PRAGMATISM eventually trumps POLITICAL IDEOLOGY.

    The new Obama-Biden cabinet is leading with pragmatic solutions, while the Rush Limbaugh Republican Ditto-heads (in Congress) are still playing the same old failed and tired childish political ideology. They lost in 2006, they lost in 2008, they will loose in 2010 and 2012.

    January 28, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
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