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. j

    GOOD! This country will go farther and do better domestically and globally with progressives than with "NO WE CAN"T" conservatives.

    January 28, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. Mountain Jeep

    Look how the"other" majorities became minorities throughout history. The "wild west" disappeared once. Maybe it's happening again?The coasts always are "in-the-know". The inlands need time to catch up. I grew up in WV and it IS different once you travel to more intell. areas...

    January 28, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  3. Marc

    First of all, stop with this 'Blue State/ Red State' nonsense. The name of the country is UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, no Red or Blue in it.
    True, there is a strong tendency for some of the states to vote 'Red' and others to vote 'Blue', and there are those that you can never tell for sure which 'color' they will prefer on the election. But stop acting like there are states that are 'Americanly Different' of others due to the political leaning of the majority of its population.
    This country is big enough to have all sorts of differences between its states and counties, let's not make it a big deal.
    This said, isn't it a bit too early to start the stories about the 2010 election?

    January 28, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  4. Doc John

    Tennessee voted for McCain with about 57% of the vote. The Republicans won majorities in BOTH houses of the state legislature. Both of our senators are Republicans. How on earth is that leaning Democratic? Great study, and more wonderful liberal journalism by CNN to report on it.

    January 28, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  5. Pam for America & Obama

    Well said Gavin
    The only things that the Dems have to fear are Pelosi and Reid. Neither party can stick its head in the sand and not cooperate with the other.
    Don't get too cocky Dems.
    We won the election. That was the easy part. Now we need to govern with a little humility and a lot of wisdom. Don't get smug now. We need every American to want a better America and it will take all of us to get us out of this mess.

    January 28, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  6. Larry from RI

    Thanks Dubya, Cheney, Rummy, Gonxo, Rove, Rush, Hannity etc etc etc
    You have done the US a huge favor. The likes of boner and the rest of the GOP dinosaurs who still don't get it are driving the final nail themselves!
    And Mr. Obama's term is only 1-week into what appears to be a looooooong 8-years for the so called "values" party, I guess their values aren't shared by the majority of Americans.

    January 28, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  7. EJD

    The Republicans are going to free-market and corporate-tax-break themselves into obscurity. So be it.

    January 28, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  8. tanner, ca

    It won't last long. And if you think this is the way the country will always be, you're surley mistaken.

    Don't get your feelings hurts when the walls come crashing down on your "majority" after the country gets sick of your Socialist agenda.

    Mark my words.

    January 28, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  9. Putin still invading Alaskan airspace between Palin's ears

    As long as the Rethuglicans think Palin is "mainstream" and "from the real America" the wilderness will theirs to keep.

    January 28, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  10. Jeff from PDX

    I'm curious what the great conservative minds of our time, Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber, think about this.

    January 28, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  11. alvino

    As people learn more about republican leadership (an oxymoron), the more blue the states will become.

    January 28, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  12. Heraclitus

    Come 2012, when nothing's gotten better and people are looking for a new soul to demonize for their own stupidity, this map will be looking even more different. Stay Gray, Texas.

    January 28, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  13. Lisa in Az

    I am THRILLED to see this. Maybe more Americans are waking up. We need badly to improve our education system. And maybe we need more parties. I think the right wing nuts need to form their own party "the conservatives" or whatever. Many moderates do not relate to them and if you are a minority or gay Republican you feel as if you are not welcome.

    January 28, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  14. budburgoonclark

    Unless and until the Republicans detach themselves from Drug-Flush Dimbulbous (sic) & Co, and the homophobia, racism, misogyny, greed, warmongering, environmental rape, Ludditism, creationism, konservative kristianist kultist extremism, and bald-faced LIES they represent, they will continue to decline. The American electorate sent them a VERY clear message in 2008 ... one which they have yet to heed. If Gov. Palin runs in 2012, she will seal the doom of the GOP.


    January 28, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  15. Ned

    The RepliCANTS still don't get it. The party for the fundamentalist white geriatric set is shrinking.

    January 28, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  16. Daniel, Atlanta, GA

    Sadly, as a former Reagan young republican, I've seen the GOP kill itself. How did they do that?
    1. They became the party of old stale Caucasian men.
    2. They refused to update the party with the changing demographics of the US population.
    3. They married the ugly, mean-spirited bride: evangelicals.
    4. They let American jobs be sent overseas to India.
    5. They partied with the Wall St. fat cats and set them free from any oversight and accountability, because they liked the lobbists' money.
    6. They made enemies of all moderates in the world.
    7. They refused to appeal to young creative minds.
    8. They let a dictator ruin this country for 8 years.
    9. They let radio comedians Rush L. control them.
    10. They get excited over Palin!
    Need I go on? I am disappointed that the GOP has lost its way, and now, they want blame their problems on the Dems. No wonder I left the GOP. The ship is sinking!

    January 28, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  17. ken

    In 2012 and 2016, there will be a growing Republican trend. Both parties screw up when they get power, this is nothing new. They never seem to learn from their mistakes.

    January 28, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  18. Blue

    How can Oklahoma be dark blue?

    McCain won all of OK's counties in the 2008 election.

    Something doesn't add up.

    January 28, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  19. David

    As long as prominent Republican politicians, operatives, and windbags continue to pander to the white racist Republican "core base", the Republican Party will remain a damaged, bankrupt brand with an ever shrinking constituency - a constituency that is literally dying off.

    January 28, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  20. chuck


    January 28, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  21. Kathleen Thomas

    The main reason people are turning away from the GOP is that republicans currently stand for intolerance, bigotry and hatered. Putting out "Barack the Magic Negro" to all high ranking members of the GOP is a symptom of how full of hate these people truly are. The GOP has been given everything that it deserves.

    January 28, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  22. jeb

    boehener of ohio; and the republican party. you have for the last 8 yrs looted and robbed the treasury and the american people. now tell me will somebody. who has profitted in this economic abyss this freefall ,but the grand party who have been in power. who else has the nerve to demand to tax cuts when the united states is in freefall? how could you request tax breaks? where did you people get your profit when wallstreet [wink-wink] is tanking............ ya right and everything else is tanking where did the grand ol party get its earnings in this finanical disaster? where they can have the nerve to ask for tax breaks.

    January 28, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  23. barbara campbell

    Over the past eight years the Republican party has moved to the extreme right, with an agenda devoted totally to enriching the already wealthy, while keeping average Americans "in their place". The gap between the rich and the rest of us has widened greatly.

    These neocons hoped that they could use their wealth to brainwash the American people but they didn't count on the internet, which has permitted all sorts of information to travel around the globe in seconds. Fact Checks dogged every neocon lie. YouTube showed us everything the Republican-owned cable stations omitted.

    We're armed with information and we're paying attention. Unless the neocons stop representing the rich and powerful and START representing the American people, their days are numbered.

    WE'LL DO IT AGAIN IN 2010!!!!

    January 28, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  24. Keith Johnson

    What is even more amusing is that you'll still hear them say that we are a "center right" nation. Just because you say it, doesn't mean it is true.

    January 28, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  25. One vote

    Oh no!!!!! Please, no more election maps for a while PLEASE

    January 28, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
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