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Statistics of the 108th-112th Congresses – United States Senate

More fun numbers can be found at my website.

Parts of each Congress in the 108th-112th Congresses (01/03/2003 – 01/03/2013)

Congress Start End What Happened (on beginning date)
108 01/03/2003 01/03/2005 New Congress sworn in
109 01/03/2005 01/18/2006 New Congress sworn in
109 01/18/2006 01/03/2007 Jon Corzine (D-NJ) resigns to assume governorship; Bob Menendez (D-NJ appointed)
110 01/03/2007 06/04/2007 New Congress sworn in
110 06/04/2007 06/22/2017 Craig Thomas (R-WY) dies
110 06/22/2017 12/18/2007 John Barrasso (R-WY) appointed
110 12/18/2007 12/31/2007 Trent Lott (R-MS) resigns
110 12/31/2007 11/16/2008 Roger Wicker (R-MS) appointed
110 11/16/2008 01/03/2009 Barack Obama (D-IL) resigns after election to presidency
111 01/03/2009 01/12/2009 New Congress sworn in
111 01/12/2009 01/15/2009 Roland Burris (D-IL) appointed
111 01/16/2009 01/21/2009 Joe Biden (D-DE) resigns to assume Vice Presidency; Ted Kaufman (D-DE) appointed
111 01/21/2009 01/22/2009 Ken Salazar (D-CO) appointed Interior Secretary; Michael Bennet (D-CO) appointed
111 01/22/2009 01/26/2009 Hillary Clinton (D-NY) appointed Secretary of State
111 01/26/2009 07/07/2009 Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) appointed
111 07/07/2009 08/25/2009 Al Franken (D-MN) sworn in.
111 08/25/2009 09/09/2009 Ted Kennedy (D-MA) dies
111 09/10/2009 09/24/2009 Mel Martinez (R-FL) resigns; George LeMieux (R-FL) appointed
111 09/24/2009 02/04/2010 Paul Kirk (D-MA) appointed
111 02/04/2010 06/28/2010 Scott Brown (R-MA) elected
111 06/28/2010 07/16/2010 Robert Byrd (D-WV) dies
111 07/16/2010 11/15/2010 Carte Goodwin (D-WV) appointed
111 11/15/2010 11/29/2010 Chris Coons (D-DE) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) sworn in
111 11/29/2010 01/03/2011 Mark Kirk (R-IL) sworn in
112 01/03/2011 05/03/2011 New Congress sworn in
112 05/03/2011 05/09/2011 John Ensign (R-NV) resigned
112 05/09/2011 12/17/2012 Dean Heller (R-NV) appointed
112 12/17/2012 12/26/2012 Dan Inouye (D-HI) dies
112 12/26/2012 01/01/2013 Brian Schatz (D-HI) appointed
112 01/02/2013 01/03/2013 Jim DeMint (R-SC) resigns; Tim Scott (R-SC) appointed

Age/Birth Date Statistics for Senators in the 108th-112th Congresses (01/03/2003 – 01/03/2013)

Congress Start End Med Age (y) Mean Age (y) Med DoB Mean DoB
108 01/03/2003 01/03/2005 59.35 59.93 August 27, 1943 January 29, 1943
109 01/03/2005 01/18/2006 60.99 60.86 January 6, 1944 February 25, 1944
109 01/18/2006 01/03/2007 62.03 61.79 January 6, 1944 March 21, 1944
110 01/03/2007 06/04/2007 62.76 62.24 March 30, 1944 October 6, 1944
110 06/04/2007 06/22/2007 62.78 62.54 August 24, 1944 November 18, 1944
110 06/22/2007 12/18/2007 62.83 62.51 August 24, 1944 December 16, 1944
110 12/18/2007 12/31/2007 63.02 62.97 December 9, 1944 December 28, 1944
110 12/31/2007 11/16/2008 63.06 62.94 December 9, 1944 January 21, 1945
110 11/16/2008 01/03/2009 63.94 63.99 December 9, 1944 November 21, 1944
111 01/03/2009 01/12/2009 62.02 63.21 December 26, 1946 October 19, 1945
111 01/12/2009 01/15/2009 62.14 63.31 November 23, 1946 September 19, 1945
111 01/16/2009 01/21/2009 62.15 63.36 November 23, 1946 September 5, 1945
111 01/21/2009 01/22/2009 62.16 63.28 November 23, 1946 October 11, 1945
111 01/22/2009 01/26/2009 62.17 63.30 November 23, 1946 October 4, 1945
111 01/26/2009 07/07/2009 62.18 63.10 November 23, 1946 December 21, 1945
111 07/07/2009 08/25/2009 62.62 63.49 November 23, 1946 January 9, 1946
111 08/25/2009 09/09/2009 62.66 63.48 December 26, 1946 March 2, 1946
111 09/10/2009 09/24/2009 62.67 63.30 January 10, 1947 May 24, 1946
111 09/24/2009 02/04/2010 62.75 63.42 December 26, 1946 April 23, 1946
111 02/04/2010 06/28/2010 63.07 63.57 January 10, 1947 July 12, 1946
111 06/28/2010 07/16/2010 63.42 63.67 January 25, 1947 October 25, 1946
111 07/16/2010 11/15/2010 63.47 63.45 January 25, 1947 February 2, 1947
111 11/15/2010 11/29/2010 63.77 63.80 February 5, 1947 January 26, 1947
111 11/29/2010 01/03/2011 63.74 63.58 February 17, 1947 April 16, 1947
112 01/03/2011 05/03/2011 61.41 62.23 August 7, 1949 October 9, 1948
112 05/03/2011 05/09/2011 61.47 62.66 November 12, 1949 September 4, 1948
112 05/09/2011 12/17/2012 61.75 62.56 August 7, 1949 October 17, 1948
112 12/17/2012 12/26/2012 62.93 63.92 January 10, 1950 January 14, 1949
112 12/26/2012 01/01/2013 63.04 63.71 December 11, 1949 April 11, 1949
112 01/02/2013 01/03/2013 63.06 63.59 December 11, 1949 June 1, 1949

Term Statistics for Senators in the 108th-112th Congresses (01/03/2003 – 01/03/2013)

Congress Start End Med Years Med Terms Mean Years Mean Terms
108 01/03/2003 01/03/2005 8.00 1.33 11.44 1.91
109 01/03/2005 01/18/2006 8.08 1.35 12.79 2.13
109 01/18/2006 01/03/2007 9.12 1.52 12.94 2.16
110 01/03/2007 06/04/2007 10.00 1.67 12.79 2.13
110 06/04/2007 06/22/2007 10.41 1.74 13.21 2.20
110 06/22/2007 12/18/2007 10.46 1.74 13.13 2.19
110 12/18/2007 12/31/2007 10.95 1.83 13.56 2.26
110 12/31/2007 11/16/2008 10.99 1.83 13.46 2.24
110 11/16/2008 01/03/2009 11.87 1.98 14.45 2.41
111 01/03/2009 01/12/2009 10.00 1.67 12.97 2.16
111 01/12/2009 01/15/2009 10.03 1.67 12.87 2.14
111 01/16/2009 01/21/2009 10.04 1.67 12.51 2.09
111 01/21/2009 01/22/2009 10.05 1.68 12.49 2.08
111 01/22/2009 01/26/2009 10.05 1.68 12.53 2.09
111 01/26/2009 07/07/2009 10.06 1.68 12.42 2.07
111 07/07/2009 08/25/2009 10.51 1.75 12.73 2.14
111 08/25/2009 09/09/2009 10.64 1.77 12.53 2.09
111 09/10/2009 09/24/2009 10.69 1.78 12.52 2.09
111 09/24/2009 02/04/2010 10.72 1.79 12.43 2.07
111 02/04/2010 06/28/2010 11.09 1.85 12.80 2.13
111 06/28/2010 07/16/2010 11.48 1.91 12.80 2.13
111 07/16/2010 11/15/2010 11.53 1.92 12.72 2.12
111 11/15/2010 11/29/2010 11.87 1.98 13.04 2.17
111 11/29/2010 01/03/2011 11.87 1.98 13.02 2.17
112 01/03/2011 05/03/2011 8.00 1.33 10.88 1.81
112 05/03/2011 05/09/2011 8.78 1.46 11.21 1.85
112 05/09/2011 12/17/2012 7.34 1.22 11.12 1.85
112 12/17/2012 12/26/2012 7.95 1.33 12.35 2.06
112 12/26/2012 01/01/2013 8.98 1.50 12.25 2.04
112 01/02/2013 01/03/2013 8.00 1.33 12.19 2.03

Arkansas Presidential PVIs, 1920-2016

Before I get to the presidential analysis, I just wanted to give this little historical tidbit: Arkansas didn’t vote to secede at first in early 1861; it did so after Lincoln ordered their troops to Fort Sumter to stop the rebellion.

Here are the county PVIs going back to 1920, and images of the state PVIs.

Being a Southern state, Arkansas naturally remained solidly in Democratic hands in the first half of the 20th century. The northwest, a Union-supporting region, had been the center of Republican strength in the state. The poor-quality soil of western Arkansas and resultant small numbers of slaves made this part of the state pro-Union/Republican. Soil in the east of the state, in the Arkansas Delta is rich and fertile thanks to sediment deposits from the Mississippi River. This soil was suited for growing cotton and later rice.

Arkansas PVIs, 1920-1948

Later Republicans expanded their strength to the southwest (Texarkana), in the 50s and the northeast (Jonesboro) and Little Rock after the Civil Rights Act passed. This point in history also saw the elections of John Paul Hammerschmidt, the first post-Reconstruction Republican congressman, and Winthrop Rockefeller to the governorship. Rockefeller managed to win with a coalition of “progressive Democrats and newly enfranchised black voters”, though he lost in 1970 to progressive Democratic challenger Dale Bumpers. Rockefeller expected to face the infamous Orval Faubus.

Arkansas PVIs 1952-1972

Rockefeller’s coalition probably explains why Arkansas held out for Democrats as long as it did. The Arkansas Republican Party was weakened by Rockefeller’s death in 1973, and the state went heavily for Jimmy Carter. It did go for Reagan in 1980, but barely. And of course when Bill Clinton ran for President, Arkansas went strongly for him, being the only state to give a majority of its votes to a presidential candidate in 1992.

Arkansas PVIs 1976-1996

The Republican trend picked up after the Clinton years, solidifying the northwest as a Republican stronghold, and also turning north central Arkansas, in the Ozarks, red as well. Southern and eastern Arkansas remained Democratic then, with the bottom falling out in the late 2000s. The Obama years and after saw Republicans solidify their grip on most of the state. Northern Arkansas, in and around Mountain Home, and western Arkansas around Fort Smith are the most Republican parts of the state, giving Republicans 70%+ of the vote. The Democratic areas are in Little Rock, the Mississippi Delta, and Jefferson County (Pine Bluff).

Arkansas PVIs 2000-2016

UK Target Seats, Part 8: Scotland

I suspect that this is the installment for which many of you have been waiting. Sorry I did it last, but it required some extra research. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a breakdown of Independence Referendum results by parliamentary constituency. There a few useful exceptions on wikipedia, but the list is far from complete. However, there shouldn’t be large variations among parts of council areas (especially with the seats we’re dealing with), so I’ll give council area numbers for most seats. At first, it looked like the Tories were headed for as high as 15 gains north of the border, but Labour has rallied as of late. It now looks like the range is 3-10. The current party totals stand at Scottish National Party 56/59, Scottish Conservative and Unionist 1/59, Labour 1/59, and Liberal Democrats 1/59.

Here is where the parties stood after the 2015 election:


#1 Berwickshire, Roxburgh, and Selkirk – 0.3% swing from Scottish National Party required, 43.3% Leave, 66.6% No (Scottish Borders)

This is pretty much a guaranteed pickup for the Tories. It’s basically the old constituency of longtime Liberal leader David Steel. The southern reaches of Scotland are significantly to the right of the rest of the country. This was an SNP gain fro the LibDems in 2015. Only a very split Unionist vote handed it to the Nationalists. Given the recent gains in polling that the Tories have made in Scotland, I don’t see how this doesn’t fall.

#2 Dumfries and Galloway – 5.8% swing from Scottish National Party required, 45.1% Leave, 65.7% No (Dumfries and Galloway)

Though the swing needed is obviously larger than the previous seat’s, the game is still the same. the unionist vote is very strong, and the Tories have done well here lately in local and Holyrood elections. Team Blue held on here a lot longer than in other Scottish seats, losing it to Labour in 2005 after the redraw. Come what may outside of Caledonia, I’d be shocked if all three border seats weren’t painted blue after June 8th.

#3 West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine – 6.4% swing from Scottish National Party required, 39.2% Leave, 60.4% No (Aberdeenshire)

Believe it or not, the Tories are so strong here (relative to their status in the rest of Scotland), that they actually hold the Scottish parliamentary constituency that covers most of this seat. That’s not strange near the border, but it is up in Northeast Scotland. What’s more, they captured that seat last year. They’ve done even better in polling since then.

#4 Moray – 9.2% swing from Scottish National Party required, 49.9% Leave, 57.6% No (Moray)

Here is where we move from the insta-pickups into the zone of uncertainty.This is one of the few seats where the Brexit number actually makes a huge difference. It being so close to 50% (likely due to the local fishing industry) makes things a lot easier for the Tories in getting crossover votes. Angus robertson, the SNP’s leader in the House of Commons, is the current MP here. Taking him down would be a big massive scalp on the Scottish Tories’ belt.

#5 Perth and North Perthshire – 8.9% swing from Scottish National Party required, 39.9% Leave, 60.2% No (Perth and Kinross)

Up until 1997 this was still a Tory area, so it survived the erosion in the ’80s. Still, the SNP did (barely) top 50% in 2015, so there’s a tough hill to climb. There has been talk (somewhat backed up by local election results) that one of the areas disproportionately affected by the Tory surge is North East Scotland (along with Southern Scotland and Edinburgh). This is one place where a recovery by Labour or the LibDems would probably be of more help than harm.

#6 Aberdeen South – 9.4% swing from Scottish National Party required, 32.1% Leave, 58.6% No (Aberdeen)

This seat befuddles me somewhat. On the one hand, it’s pretty pro-Remain. On the other, the referendum number is decent, and that’s what will probably matter more. Funnily enough, the city’s other seat is significantly more pro-Leave, but that may be because it’s the poorer side of town.

#7 East Renfrewshire – 12% swing from Scottish National Party required, 25.7% Leave, 63.2% No (East Renfrewshire)

This is the wealthiest part of Scotland, serving as it does as Glasgow’s chief ritzy suburb. In the local elections, Team Blue did very well, taking 7/18 seats and becoming the largest party on the council. The Brexitiness of Theresa May’s government may turn off some voters here, but a lot of them also despise Nicola Sturgeon.

#8 East Lothian – 11.5% from Scottish National Party required, 35.4% Leave, 61.7% No (East Lothian)

Like East Renfrewshire, East Lothian is coextensive with the local council area of the same name. That means that the referendum number is definitely accurate. This area is a tad odd. Most of it isn’t actually that connected to Edinburgh, but it votes like it is, being (these days) a three-way fight due to residual Labour strength and a strong Unionist streak. Taking it would be a real sign of the times, as the Tories haven’t done so since 1974.

#9 Edinburgh South West – 11.4% swing from Scottish National Party required, 26.4% Leave, 61.6% No (constituency only)

The City of Edinburgh was kind enough to provide ward-by-ward results for the referendum, so we actually know for sure how this seat voted. As with East Lothian, this is a three-way fight. The Tories were the top vote-getters in most of this constituency’s wards at the local elections, so the odds are decent.

#10 Stirling – 11.3% swing from Scottish National Party required, 32.3% Leave, 59.8% No (Stirling)

This is the last norma seat on the list. I definitely don’t like the Leave number, but the referendum number is solid enough to warrant inclusion. It would likely be even higher if the southern parts of the seat weren’t so close to the Yes-happy Glasgow area.

#11 Banff and Buchan – 15.7% swing from Scottish National Party required, 61.4% Leave, 60.4% No (Aberdeenshire)

This is a huge long shot. There is one reason, and one reason only, that I’m even including it: that monster Leave number. It’s by far the highest of any constituency in Scotland. The culprit is likely the local fishing industry, which, just as in Moray and other North Sea fishing areas in the UK, has been strangled by the EU. Again, this seat probably won’t fall, but that much pro-Brexit sentiment can’t be ignored.


#1 East Dunbartonshire – 2% swing from Scottish National Party required, 26.9% Leave, 61.2% No (East Dunbartonshire)

Unlike in other areas of the country, the LibDems’ prospects in Scotland are pretty decent. They have several seats that were very close last time, and this is one of them. This is suburban Glasgow, and it votes like it. As they are in so many of their other former seats, the Liberals are running their old MP.

#2 Edinburgh West – 2.9% swing from Scottish National Party, 31.4% Leave, 65.5% No (Constituency only)

Edinburgh, connected to the rest of the UK as it is by governmental and financial industry ties, was not a fan of the Independence Referendum. Nowhere is this more evident than this upscale part of Scotland’s capital. The LibDems also did well in the local elections in this part of the city.

#3 Fife North East – 4.8% swing from Scottish National Party required, 36.3% Leave, 55% No (Fife)

Interestingly, though they took horrific losses in voteshare in England, the LibDems weren’t hit quite as hard north of the border (like Labour was). Consequently, a lot of these seats that they’re trying in are eminently winnable. They weren’t able to get their old MP back for this seat, but it’s still within reach.

#4 Caithness, Sutherland, and Easter Ross – 5.6% swing from Scottish National Party required, 51.3% Leave, 52.9% No (Highland)

The LibDems used to be pretty strong in the Highlands and North Easr Scotland. They’d trade seats back and forth with the SNP on a regular basis. They could definitely get this one back (though they didn’t get their old MP to run again), but they might bump heads with the Tories and allow the SNP to keep it due to their strong Remain stance.

#5 Ross, Skye, and Lochaber – 6.1% swing from Scottish National Party required, 43.5% Leave, 52.9% No (Highland)

The story here is similar to the one in caithness, though the Leave number is lower. It looks like the Scottish Liberals weren’t nearly as good as the English ones at getting their old MPs to run again.

Statistics of the 113th-117th Congresses

Since we have had many landslide elections that saw a lot of turnover in the Senate, I became curious to see how factors such as age, date of birth, and length of time served changed over the years. I even broke up parts of a term of Congress so I can show the statistics when a Senator resigns, dies in office, or is defeated in a special election.

This is a “living” diary, which I plan to update for the remaining Congresses under the 2010 Census, so that is why I have the 117th Congress in the title. Eventually, I plan to collect as much data from the previous Congresses as I can to see the trends over longer periods. I also plan to do the same with the House.

I will put the bar graphs on my website.

Parts of each Congress in the 113th-117th Congresses (01/03/2013 – 01/03/2023)
Congress Beginning Date End Date What Happened (on beginning date)
113 01/03/2013 02/01/2013 New Congress sworn in
113 02/01/2013 06/03/2013 John Kerry (D-MA) appointed Secretary of State; Mo Cowan (D-MA) appointed
113 06/03/2013 06/06/2013 Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) died
113 06/06/2013 07/16/2013 Jeffrey Chiesa (R-NJ) appointed
113 07/16/2013 10/31/2013 Ed Markey (D-MA) elected in special
113 10/31/2013 02/06/2014 Cory Booker (D-NJ) elected in special
113 02/06/2014 02/09/2014 Max Baucus (D-MT) appointed Ambassador to China
113 02/09/2014 01/03/2015 John Walsh (D-MT) appointed
114 01/03/2015 01/03/2017 New Congress sworn in
115 01/03/2017 02/09/2017 New Congress sworn in
115 02/09/2017 Present Jeff Sessions (R-AL) appointed AG

Age/Birth Date Statistics for Senators in the 113th-117th Congresses (01/03/2013 – 01/03/2023)

Congress Start End Med Age (y) Mean Age (y) Med DoB Mean DoB
113 01/03/2013 02/01/2013 61.74 61.62 04/10/1951 05/24/1951
113 02/01/2013 06/03/2013 61.44 61.70 05/20/1951 08/24/1951
113 06/03/2013 06/06/2013 61.54 61.98 06/12/1951 11/20/1951
113 06/06/2013 07/16/2013 61.36 61.98 06/12/1951 11/20/1951
113 07/16/2013 10/31/2013 61.71 62.16 05/20/1951 10/31/1951
113 10/31/2013 02/06/2014 61.96 62.45 05/20/1951 11/14/1951
113 02/06/2014 02/09/2014 62.14 62.66 06/12/1951 12/21/1951
113 02/09/2014 01/03/2015 62.05 62.66 06/12/1951 01/22/1952
114 01/03/2015 01/03/2017 61.28 61.12 09/24/1953 11/06/1953
115 01/03/2017 02/09/2017 62.40 62.27 08/11/1954 09/26/1954
115 02/09/2017 Present 62.50 62.31 08/11/1954 10/19/1954

Term Statistics for Senators in the 113th-117th Congresses (01/03/2013 – 01/03/2023)

Congress Start End Med Years Med Terms Mean Years Mean Terms
113 01/03/2013 02/01/2013 6.00 1.00 9.63 1.60
113 02/01/2013 06/03/2013 6.08 1.01 9.42 1.57
113 06/03/2013 06/06/2013 6.41 1.07 9.75 1.63
113 06/06/2013 07/16/2013 6.42 1.07 9.66 1.61
113 07/16/2013 10/31/2013 6.53 1.09 9.77 1.63
113 10/31/2013 02/06/2014 6.83 1.14 10.06 1.68
113 02/06/2014 02/09/2014 7.10 1.18 10.08 1.68
113 02/09/2014 01/03/2015 7.10 1.18 10.08 1.68
114 01/03/2015 01/03/2017 5.97 0.996 9.13 1.52
115 01/03/2017 02/09/2017 4.00 0.67 9.99 1.67
115 02/09/2017 Present 4.10 0.68 9.89 1.65


North Carolina 2020s Senate Redistricting

This is the North Carolina State Senate edition of my “2020s Redistricting” series. Data in DRA has been modified to reflect 2020 population projections. You can see my proposed 2020s congressional map HERE.

Drawing maps for the North Carolina General Assembly is challenging (and also restrictive) due to the Whole Counties provision of the state constitution. Legislators in the past also had to draw districts to conform to the Voting Rights Act. Given recent court decisions, I have decided to draw a map which takes race out of the equation completely. This, of course, might lead to other constitutional challenges (see SD-1 below).

With that in mind, I have also drawn the map the way Republican lawmakers might do so should they be in control of the General Assembly in 2021 (and assuming partisan gerrymandering is still allowed). Despite surging growth in Democratic urban counties and stagnation in Republican rural ones, the result is a map only slightly more favorable to Team Blue. The districts are reviewed below (partisan results once again reflect the two-party vote).

First, the whole map:

1 – Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, Washington
Norm Sanderson, R-Pasquotank
52.0% Romney
57.6% Trump
The 1st loses Beaufort County and adds Pamlico, Washington, Tyrrell, and Bertie counties. This last one is particularly controversial because it has the highest percentage of black residents in the state. Sanderson (should he still be in the State Senate) might be vulnerable in a primary, because almost all of the district except for his home county of Pamlico is new to him. This is an ancestrally very Democratic district but should be likely GOP now.

2 – Beaufort, Carteret, Craven
Bill Cook, R-Beaufort
63.0% Romney
65.4% Trump
The 2nd loses exchanges Pamlico County for Beaufort County. It’s still a safe GOP seat.

3 – Granville, Halifax, Hertford, Northampton, Vance, Warren
Erica Smith-Ingram, D-Northampton
36.6% Romney
39.8% Trump
The 3rd is no longer majority black, but is still safe Democratic and should keep electing a black senator.

4 – Edgecombe, Franklin, Nash
Angela Davis, D-Nash
45.6% Romney
47.8% Trump
Unfortunately, the Whole County Provision pretty much requires drawing something like this that wastes a bunch of GOP votes. The saving grace for Republicans might be the VRA – this district includes majority black Edgecombe County in a district that’s majority white.

5 – Martin, Pitt
Don Davis, D-Pitt
46.6% Romney
46.6% Trump
The Whole County Provision also requires combining light blue Pitt with another county, in this case Martin. Again – a whole lot of wasted GOP votes.

6 – Duplin, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow (part)
Harry Brown, R-Onslow
56.1% Romney
59.4% Trump
The current incumbent (and a good possibility to succeed Phil Berger as Senate pro tem) lives just outside this district, but that can be easily corrected. This is inelastic GOP territory which is practically wave-proof.

7 – Wayne, Wilson
Louis Pate, R-Wayne AND Rick Horner, R-Wilson
50.8% Romney
52.1% Trump
This is a marginally GOP district at the presidential level where unfortunately white flight is a real problem. The competition here will be fierce. Obviously, Democrats will need strong turnout from black voters to win here.

8 – Brunswick (part), New Hanover (part)
Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick
57.0% Romney
56.5% Trump
This is an educated, fairly affluent seat on the coast where Trump 2016 slightly underperformed Romney 2012. Democrats will still need a wave or a scandal to win here.

9 – Onslow (part), New Hanover (part), Pender (part)
Michael Lee, R-New Hanover
54.7% Romney
59.2% Trump
This seat trended rightward last year and should continue to do so in the future as it burgeons with coastal conservative retirees. Not safe GOP territory, but getting there.

10 – Bladen, Cumberland (part), Sampson
Brent Jackson, R-Sampson AND Wesley Meredith, R-Cumberland
55.1% Romney
57.4% Trump
District 10 shifts to the west and becomes a seat based on rural areas near Fayetteville. This is a fairly inelastic GOP seat and the chances of it returning to its historically Democratic roots are very questionable.

11 – Johnston
Open seat
64.0% Romney
65.7% Trump
Another seat where clever GOP gerrymandering is thwarted by the Whole Counties Provision. A lot of GOP votes are wasted in this 65.7% Trump seat, which is unfortunate because the Triangle and Eastern NC could really use some reinforcement from Johnston County. Best case scenario for the GOP? The county grows much faster than expected, forcing it outside of the 5% constitutionally permitted population deviation.

12 – Harnett, Wake (part)
Tamara Barringer, R-Wake AND Ronald Rabin, R-Harnett
58.6% Romney
57.5% Trump
District 12 loses Lee and instead takes in a number of precincts in Southern Wake County. The Wake portion of this district voted for Trump but this is an area that could get bluer with time.

13 – Brunswick (part), Columbus, Robeson (part)
Danny Earl Britt, R-Robeson
54.0% Romney
60.1% Trump
This district zoomed to the right in 2016 and shouldn’t be a difficult hold for Republicans.

14 – Wake (part)
Dan Blue, D-Wake
22.2% Romney
21.4% Trump
This East Raleigh district is plurality black and should continue to elect black Democrats to the upper house.

15 – Wake (part)
Chad Barefoot, R-Wake
57.6% Romney
54.7% Trump
This is about as safe a Trump district one can draw entirely in Wake County, and will probably get less and less safe with time. In this and other educated, suburban districts, the Romney number is probably only attainable in a GOP wave year.

16 – Wake (part)
Jay Chaudhuri, D-Wake
34.3% Romney
28.6% Trump
This vote sink contains Morrisville, Cary, and Raleigh and has many white liberals who work in high tech. Obviously, it’s safe Democratic.

17 – Wake (part)
Open seat
49.0% Romney
41.4% Trump
Mitt Romney was pretty much a perfect fit for this area in 2012, and voters here still rejected him for four more years of Obama. Then, in 2016 the GOP’s numbers further tanked with Trump heading the ticket. Republicans will need a wave, and even that might not be enough.

18 – Wake (part)
John Alexander, R-Wake
48.8% Romney
41.1% Trump
See the description for the previous district.

19 – Hoke, Lee, Moore
Ben Clark, D-Cumberland
57.0% Romney
58.7% Trump
This combination of counties in the central part of the state makes for a safe GOP seat. The incumbent Ben Clark is black and might be the most conservative Democrat in the Senate. This won’t be nearly enough to make him palatable to deep red Moore County, which makes up almost half of the district.

20 – Durham (part)
Floyd McKissick, D-Durham
14.2% Romney
10.3% Trump
A district centered on downtown Durham, it’s only plurality black and the most pro-Clinton seat in the state. Trump almost sunk into single digits here. Obviously, it’s more than safe for any black Democrat.

21 – Cumberland (part)
Open seat
27.6% Romney
28.9% Trump
Another diverse district, this one focused on the Fayetteville and Fort Bragg area. Solidly Democratic, obviously.

22 – Chatham, Durham (part)
Mike Woodard, D-Durham
40.5% Romney
35.7% Trump
This district wraps around the 20th and takes in the remainder of Durham as well as light blue Chatham County. It’s safe Democratic and is trending away from the GOP.

23 – Caswell, Orange, Person
Valerie Foushee, D-Orange
35.7% Romney
33.0% Trump
Despite containing three counties (two of them rural and conservative) this district is absolutely dominated by the politics of ultra-liberal Chapel Hill and should continue to elect a progressive Democrat.

24 – Alamance, Guilford (part)
Rick Gunn, R-Alamance
57.7% Romney
57.1% Trump
This district trades in part of Randolph County for part of Guilford and becomes significantly bluer, but should still be a fairly easy GOP hold. It could still fall in a wave, though.

25 – Anson, Richmond, Robeson (part), Scotland, Union (part)
Tom McInnis, R-Richmond
48.6% Romney
56.5% Trump
An Obama district that Democrats will probably have to take back to win the majority under this map. Given current trends, that might be tough – especially with a GOP incumbent.

26 – Mecklenburg (part)
Open seat
46.3% Romney
39.6% Trump
Phil Berger’s seat in the Triad gets transported to the Charlotte suburbs, and it’s almost certainly a Democratic pickup.

27 – Guilford (part)
Trudy Wade, R-Guilford
59.8% Romney
54.6% Trump
This seat in suburban Guilford used to be safe GOP, but is more competitive in the age of Trump. Still a seat that favors Republicans, but perhaps not wave-proof.

28 – Guilford (part)
Gladys Robinson, D-Guilford
20.1% Romney
19.5% Trump
The (only plurality black) Guilford vote sink, which attempts to pick up as many Democratic precincts in Greensboro as possible. A black Democrat would be strongly favored in a primary here.

29 – Guilford (part), Montgomery, Randolph
Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph
62.8% Romney
67.3% Trump
Despite taking in much of High Point (which could raise potential VRA issues), this district is more than safe for any Republican.

30 – Rockingham, Stokes, Surry
Phil Berger, R-Rockingham
65.7% Romney
71.9% Trump
Phil Berger’s home county of Rockingham loses its portion of Guilford County and trades it for much more Republican Surry and Stokes counties, making it a solid GOP seat.

31 – Forsyth (part), Yadkin
Joyce Krawiec, R-Forsyth
65.6% Romney
64.2% Trump
A seat based in the Winston-Salem suburbs which changes only marginally from its predecessor. It’s safe territory for any Republican.

32 – Forsyth (part)
Paul Lowe, D-Forsyth
28.0% Romney
26.8% Trump
This seat is plurality white now, but it’s still a safe Democratic seat.

33 – Davidson, Davie
Andrew Brock, R-Davie AND Cathy Dunn, R-Davidson
70.9% Romney
74.9% Trump
Combining Davidson and Davie counties creates the most pro-Trump seat in the state. Safe GOP territory, obviously.

34 – Rowan, Stanly
Open seat
65.4% Romney
71.0% Trump
Another safe GOP seat in the Piedmont.

35 – Union (part)
Tommy Tucker, R-Union
63.5% Romney
63.8% Trump
Union County is unlikely to become swing territory any time soon, so this should be another safe GOP seat.

36 – Cabarrus
Paul Newton, R-Cabarrus
60.1% Romney
60.2% Trump
Under current population projections, Cabarrus County falls just within the 5% deviation subjecting it to the Whole County Provision, so it gets its own district here. Safe GOP, but this seat is gradually getting bluer.

37 – Mecklenburg (part)
Open seat
21.5% Romney
21.2% Trump
A black plurality seat in West Charlotte, safe Democratic.

38 – Mecklenburg (part)
Joyce Waddell, D-Mecklenburg
19.1% Romney
18.3% Trump
North Charlotte, plurality black, safe Democratic as well.

39 – Mecklenburg (part)
Dan Bishop, R-Mecklenburg
62.0% Romney
52.9% Trump
Look at those partisan numbers – Trump really tanked here. Unfortunately, this is about as safe a GOP seat as one can draw entirely in Mecklenburg County, and it’s a swing seat.

40 – Mecklenburg (part)
Open seat
23.9% Romney
21.8% Trump
A western Charlotte seat that is the most racially diverse in the entire state. Obviously, the general election winner will be determined in the Democratic primary.

41 – Lincoln, Mecklenburg (part)
David Curtis, R-Lincoln AND Joel Ford, D-Mecklenburg AND Jeff Tarte, R-Mecklenburg
62.7% Romney
61.5% Trump
North Mecklenburg Republicans get some welcome assistance from ultra-conservative rural Lincoln County. For now, it’s safe GOP territory.

42 – Caldwell (part), Catawba
Andy Wells, R-Catawba
66.8% Romney
72.0% Trump
Solid GOP.

43 – Gaston (part)
Kathy Harrington, R-Gaston
61.8% Romney
65.0% Trump
And another one …

44 – Alexander, Iredell
Open seat
66.7% Romney
70.7% Trump
And yet another safe GOP seat. This one is open. In a primary, an Iredell County Republican would be heavily favored.

45 – Alleghany, Ashe, Caldwell (part), Watauga, Wilkes
Deanna Ballard, R-Watauga AND Shirley Randleman, R-Wilkes
62.8% Romney
67.0% Trump
Safe GOP again. (Have you noticed that Republican votes are increasingly packed in this part of the state?)

46 – Burke, Cleveland, Gaston (part)
Warren Daniel, R-Burke
62.2% Romney
68.8% Trump
Again, not much to say here. Safe GOP.

47 – Avery, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Yancey
Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell
65.2% Romney
72.4% Trump
Adds Avery County. Otherwise, no changes. Safe GOP.

48 – Buncombe (part), Henderson, Transylvania
Chuck Edwards, R-Henderson
62.2% Romney
63.8% Trump
Exchanges some bluer precincts in Buncombe County with the most red ones. Other than that, no changes and a fairly safe GOP seat.

49 – Buncombe (part)
Terry Van Duyn, D-Buncombe
38.7% Romney
36.8% Trump
The Buncombe vote sink, and the only Clinton seat west of Charlotte. Sheds most of its northern precincts to District 48.

50 – Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Swain
Jim Davis, R-Cherokee
61.0% Romney
67.6% Trump
Unlike every other district, the 50th doesn’t change at all. At nearly 68% Trump, it’s hard to see any Democrat having a shot here.

The breakdown: 31 Romney seats, 32 Trump seats. Democrats need to hold all the Clinton seats and win 3 Trump seats to roll back the GOP’s supermajorities; they need to hold all the Clinton seats and win 7 Trump seats to break even, win 8 to take a majority.

I would welcome any feedback, especially when it comes to identifying potential VRA issues. Unlike my congressional map, I’m not at all confident that this is the strongest map for Republicans, especially in the eastern part of the state. I’ll draw another map incorporating any recommendations I receive here, so let me know if you have comments or any questions.

56 Years of Michigan Presidential Politics

I had a long series about the Path to Win (or Lose) today’s Michigan. This is more about the past and how it got here. Originally, I was going to write a PVI by county in Michigan like we’ve seen in other states, but I decided to go this route instead. I’m not a huge PVI believer, and I didn’t want to co-opt someone else’s project if it was being planned. My work has always been more about vote spread or percentages. I feel combining both of those gives the best picture of what goes on in a state.

Michigan has fluctuated politically over the years, but has generally been for the most part a competitive state outside of US Senate (for various reasons ranging from timing to a failure to adequately contest the seats). I only concentrated on Presidential results here for time reasons, but the state’s results have been as follows at the top of the ticket.

1960-D, 1962-D (Swainson),1964-D,1966-R (Romney), 1968-D, 1970-RINO (Milliken),1972-R, 1974-RINO, 1976-R, 1978-RINO, 1980-R, 1982-D (Blanchard) ,1984-R, 1986-D, 1988-R, 1990-R (Engler), 1992-D, 1994-R, 1996-D, 1998-R, 2000-D, 2002-D (Granholm), 2004-D, 2006-D, 2008-D, 2010-R (Snyder), 2012-D, 2014-R, 2016-R.

I think the term RINO is overused, but Milliken was (rightfully IMO) kicked out of the Grand Traverse County GOP for his democrat endorsements over the years.

  • US Senate Seat 1 since 1960 – Patrick McNamara (D) elected in 54, died in office 1966, Bob Griffin (R)  (appointed by Romney and won full term in 1966, lost in 1978), Carl Levin (D) won in 78, retired with 2014 elections. Gary Peters (D) won open seat in 2014. Levin and Peters are the only two Senators in my lifetime, and I’m a year and a half away from turning 40.
  • US Senate Seat 2 since 1960 – Phillip Hart (D), elected in 1958 and retired in 1976. Don Riegle (D), elected in 1976, retired in 1994 after scandal. Spence Abraham (R), elected in 1994 wave, defeated in 2000. Debbie Stabenow (D), elected in 2000 and still in office. I’ve only had three Senators in my lifetime from this seat.
  • D’s took the congressional majority in MI from 1974 until 2002. R’s then held it until 2008, then took it back from the D’s in 2010 until today.
  • R’s held the State Senate since the 1984 recalls over the Blanchard tax increase. D’s nearly took it in 2006, but candidate quality saved us.
  • R’s took the State House in 1994, tied in 1996, took it in 1998 until 2006, then took it again in 2010 until today.

While competitive, there was a D leaning in the 1960’s largely due to only a few counties (The UP, Macomb, and a much larger Wayne County). It moved to the right significantly federally (Milliken however was a very liberal [not moderate] “Republican”) throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s with Detroit’s population loss and Macomb/Oakland county’s rightward shift in that period. In the 70’s and 80’s the state level leaned D while the federal level leaned R. After 1988, there was a significant leftward movement federally, although a rightward shift on the state level with the John Engler years.

Population shifts are telling. Detroit had 1.7 Million people in 1960. Wayne County had 2.67 Million people in 1960. Today, Detroit has under 700,000 and Wayne County is down to 1.8 Million. Oakland County had 700,000 in 1960 and has 1.2 Million now. Macomb had 400,000 in 1960 and has 870,000 now. Livingston had 38,000 in 1960 and has 187,000 now. Lapeer had 41,000 in 1960 and has 88,000 now. Washtenaw County has 172,000 then and 365,000 now.

The early 90’s recession and Bush tax increase did a number on this state causing a major move to the left (and Perot) on the federal level. A lot of union retirees/workers upnorth moved a lot of once solid R counties towards the left. Even Wexford County (one of the more GOP Counties in the state) voted for Clinton. In addition, while white flight moved Oakland toward the Republicans in the 80’s, black flight (and Southfield white flight to formerly GOP areas) moved it rapidly towards the democrats. Mike Dukakis won Southfield by 5000 votes. Barack Obama won Southfield by 35,000 votes. That city of less than 100000 votes moved the county 30,000 votes toward the D’s. However term limits and Engler’s reforms (and 2 weak D candidates) helped on the state level during this period.

The bleeding was stopped temporary in the early 2000’s, but there was a D lean then. The state moved more leftward federally again with the Obama years although Granholm’s era heavily damaged democrats quite a bit outstate and overall in state elections. North Michigan started to move back home after 25 years. Ask Trump if that’s a big deal.

There is still some ticket splitting, but less so in my state. Closer to home, my county has voted R more often than not going back to the Civil War D’s however have won in my county downticket in the 70’s, 80’s and even parts of the 90’s. Unadilla (to today), Putnam (up to 2000s), Conway, Green Oak (at least in 70’s), and even Brighton Twp have elected D’s probably in my lifetime.  Frank Kelley won countywide on multiple occasions, even outside of the 1986 Bill Lucas campaign that was a disaster worse than 1996, 2006, and 2008. Today, there’s only one D township official in my county in historically D Unadilla, and it is someone often unopposed who has been there 20 years. The D’s last had a county commissioner seat here in the early 90’s in a then D leaning part of the county.

Today Michigan has the most self-packing since the 1960 election. Gerrymandering gets the blame, but most of the “blame” goes to self-packing into 65%+D areas.


1960:Kennedy – 51%, Nixon 49%, won by 67,000 – JFK won the state despite winning only 13 counties and only winning four counties in lower Michigan. The UP was very D leaning in those days.

The only four counties JFK won in lower Michigan were:

  • Wayne – 66% – won by about 379,000 – Some things never change in Michigan politics, and that starts with the D’s dependency on Wayne County margins to win
  • Macomb – 63% – won by about 43,700 – This is when Macomb started really catching pundit’s attention as most suburbs were Republican in those days.
  • Bay – 52% – won by about 2100
  • Monroe – 51% – won by about 1077 – Monroe votes with Macomb a lot, but never gets the same hype.

Nixon’s best five county by raw vote differential will surprise some

  • Kent – 61% – won by about 34,000 (not a surprise)
  • Oakland – 54% – won by about 26,000 (not a surprise if you know traditional MI migration patterns)
  • Ingham – 63% – won by about 23,000 (surprised me)
  • Ottawa – 75% – won by about 22,000 (not a surprise)
  • Kalamazoo – 64% – won by about 18,500 (somewhat surprising)

By percentage, the counties are less surprising.

  • Missaukee – 80% – Rural Dutch County in North Michigan.
  • Osceola – 76% – Same area as Missaukee County, although not as Dutch
  • Ottawa – 75% – Usually the number 1 GOP county in the state.
  • Sanilac – 73% – The most GOP county in the thumb
  • Gratiot and Oscoda – 72% – Oscoda not a surprise. Gratiot’s always been a tough one for me to read.


In the 1960 census, a lot of today’s base R counties have much smaller populations. Livingston County for example had about 16,000 voters total. Detroit also had 1.6 million people at that time. Republicans had 394,000 votes in Wayne, over twice as many as their 2nd highest (Oakland, with 162,000).  Interestingly, Nixon was able to win areas Republicans never win anymore – Washtenaw, Genesee, and Muskegon Counties. Washtenaw being there surprised me a lot, but that shift to the D’s really started to show in 72, although ex-UM football player Gerald Ford bought some time there. The UP was strong for Kennedy, as it was for most democrats up until the 2000’s. Many of those counties are base counties today, but two of those are base D counties today.


1964 – LBJ – 67%, Goldwater 33%, won by 1.1 Million. – Goldwater only won three counties, Missaukee, Ottawa, and Sanilac – three of the counties you always see go GOP. This is also the last time my county went D for president. Michigan was like most of the rest of the country here. It was a massacre here and not much more needs to be said.


1968 – Humphrey 48%, Nixon 41%, Wallace 10%, won by 220,000

Humphrey only won 18 counties, 6 of which in Lower Michigan, but he won the state by a big margin. I’m not sure who Wallace hurt more with his 3rd party votes. Michigan isn’t a southern state, but there are a more white Southern transplants here (many settled downriver, Monroe County, the City of Detroit, Hazel Park, Burton, and in Ypsilanti) than people think with the auto industry jobs. A lot of Northern anti school busing folks also voted for Wallace.  Humphrey’s best five counties by differential are:

  • Wayne – 63% – won by about 384,000
  • Macomb – 55% – won by about 51,500
  • Genesee – 46% – won by about 11,200 – This was when the Flint area really started to move more D.
  • Monroe – 48% – won by about 3,200
  • Bay – 50% – won by about 2,600
  • The other D lower Michigan county was Lake County


Nixon’s best five by differential are:

  • Kent – 54% – won by about 24,000
  • Ottawa – 68% – won by about 21,000
  • Kalamazoo – 54% – won by about 13,400
  • Berrien – 51% – won by about 11,000
  • Jackson – 54% – won by about 9600


By percentage:

  • Ottawa, Missaukee – 68%
  • Sanilac – 66%
  • Huron – 65% – I’m still shocked Bill Clinton won Huron County
  • Osceola – 64%

Interestingly, Oakland County was about 45/45 at that time, barely won by Nixon.

1972 – Nixon 56%, McGovern 42%, won by about 500,000

Nixon won all but four counties. Wayne (Detroit), Washtenaw (Ann Arbor), Lake (Baldwin), and Delta (Escanaba area). Delta County until the 2000s had a very strong democrat tradition. Lake County has a strong D tradition as well, although Trump won it. Wayne County is Wayne County and always has been. This is where Washtenaw (and other college towns) really started making their left wing turns. Ford’s football ties help hold it off some with Washtenaw for awhile, but it voted for McGovern. McGovern’s four are:

  • Wayne – 53% – won by about 79,000 – If Wayne doesn’t go 275k+ for D’s it’s over before it is started.
  • Washtenaw – 52%, won by about 4800 – Washtenaw’s D shift begins
  • Delta – 50%, won by 356 – Yellow dog UP county until 2000
  • Lake – 49%, won by 16 – Poorest county in the state

Nixon’s best 5 areas by vote differential:

  • Oakland – 64% – won by 118,000 – Oakland starts being the SE Michigan R base from around 72-88. Migration is the biggest support factor – which also leads to its R downfall later.
  • Macomb – 63% – won by 65,000 – This is really the first signal with Reagan Democrats after being a D stronghold in the 60’s.
  • Kent – 59% – won by 36,000
  • Ottawa – 72% – won by 27,000
  • Berrien – 68% – won by 25,000 – Berrien has a lot of moderate R’s. The margin of winning there is usually dependent on how many Benton Harbor residents vote.

Livingston County is 16th in vote differential (9200). It’s up to slightly under 25,000 total votes in 1972. It is starting to become more of a base county.


Nixon’s best 5 by percentage

  • Sanilac – 73%
  • Ottawa – 72%
  • Missaukee – 72%
  • Osceola – 70%
  • Eaton and Allegan – 69% – Eaton surprised me a little because I’m quite familiar with today’s Eaton County, but the Lansing area didn’t move far to the left until the Clinton era.


1976 – Ford 52%, Carter 46%, won by about 200,000

Home state was a big deal here. Ohio went for Carter, in a rare case of Michigan going more R than Ohio. Carter won seven counties in lower Michigan and 8 counties in the UP. Carter’s best five were:

  • Wayne – 60%, won by 200,000
  • Genesee – 52%, won by 8900
  • Bay – 52%, won by 2800
  • Monroe – 52%, won by 2600
  • Gogebic – 61%, won by 2400 – Most D county in the UP give or take Marquette

The other lower Michigan Carter Counties were Ogemaw, Arenac, and Lake. Unions (Corrections, UAW commuters, and retirees) caused the rise of the D’s in NE Lower Michigan, especially Arenac and Gladwin Counties. This shows up more in the 90’s.

Ford’s best 5:

  • Oakland – 59%, won by 80,000
  • Kent – 67%, won by 68,000 – Native son
  • Ottawa – 74%, won by 33000 – Almost a native son as Ottawa is split between GR and Holland metros
  • Ingham – 56%, won by 19000
  • Kalamazoo – 59%, won by 18000

Ford’s best 5 by%

  • Ottawa – 74%
  • Mecosta – 69% – Somewhat surprising to me. Ford must have special appeal to Big Rapids or Ferris St. It’s an R county today outside of the college town, but not by this margin.
  • Kent – 67%
  • Allegan – 66%
  • Eaton and Grand Traverse – 64%

Livingston moved up to 13th in vote differential (about 7000) with slightly under 32,000 total votes. People are starting to move out that way. My parents did in 78.


1980 – Reagan 49%, Carter 43%, won by 250,000

Reagan was the perfect Republican match for this state generally acceptable to all factions except the most liberal R’s (Milliken and Anderson types). In 1980, he took all but 9 counties, losing 4 in lower Michigan. Carter’s 5 best were.

  • Wayne – 59%, won by 206,000
  • Genesee – 49% – won by 12,000
  • Washtenaw – 44%, won by 2300 – Without Ford on the ticket, this wasn’t going R anymore. John Anderson also took a lot of votes there.
  • Gogebic – 51%, won by 870 – Yellow Dog
  • Delta – 48%, won by 330 – Yellow Dog until 2000s

The other lower Michigan Carter county was not surprisingly Lake County.

Reagan’s best 5 were:

  • Oakland – 55% – won by 88000 – The 80’s was where Oakland really got its former reputation.
  • Kent – 55% – won by 40,000
  • Macomb – 52% – won by 34,000
  • Ottawa – 68% – won by 33,000
  • Berrien – 61% – won by 19,000

My county broke into the top 10 in vote margins with 12,400 vote margin and 60%. While Macomb County has the Reagan Democrat reputation, it’s not just there. Monroe, Bay, Genesee, Saginaw, Muskegon, Arenac, and Ogemaw had a lot of them as well.

Reagan’s best 5 by percentage:

  • Ottawa – 68%
  • Sanilac – 67%
  • Hillsdale – 66%
  • Huron – 65%
  • Missaukee – 64%

No surprises there.

1984 – Reagan 59%, Mondale 40%, won by 730,000

Mondale only won four counties.

  • Wayne – 57%, won by 129,000
  • Gogebic – 58%, won by 1550
  • Iron – 50%, won by 91
  • Keewenaw – 51%, won by 29

Reagan’s 5 best :

  • Oakland – 67%, won by 156,000 – 60%+ in Oakland is impressive, even then.
  • Macomb – 66%, won by 96,000 – 60%+ in Macomb is impressive. Getting 60%+ in Macomb AND Oakland with different political cultures, then and now? Only Reagan or a horrible D candidate does that.
  • Kent – 67%, won by 71,000
  • Ottawa – 80%, won by 45,000 – Even in Ottawa County that’s impressive.
  • Kalamazoo – 64%, won by 26,000

My county was 9th with a 21,000 vote spread – and 74% for Reagan. The 31,000 votes overall these days in my county is about what D’s get however in a bad year now.


Reagan’s 5 best percentages.

  • Ottawa – 80%
  • Hillsdale – 77%
  • Missaukee – 76%
  • Sanilac – 75%
  • Livingston, Allegan, Branch – 74% – That’s the first time my county was on a top list. Branch County is next to Hillsdale in the middle of Free Soil Country and was/is a base county.


1988 – Bush 54%, Dukakis 46%, won by 290,000

Dukakis took 16 counties, 7 of which in lower Michigan. His best 5 are:

  • Wayne – 60%, won by 158,000
  • Genesee – 59%, won by 34,000
  • Bay – 57%, won by 7500
  • Washtenaw – 52%, won by 6800
  • Marquette – 57%, won by 3700

The other lower Michigan Dukakis counties are Lake, Arenac, and Saginaw.

Bush’s best 5:

  • Oakland – 61%, won by 109,000 – This was probably where Oakland was at Peak R in relation to the state (solid 8pt win, but not the blowout overall 1984 was). In 1990, Southfield was about 1/3 black. Dukakis won it by about 5000 votes (instead of the +30KD spread there now). Farmington Hills just west of Southfield was probably still a base R, at worst lean R city at that time. Troy (wasn’t trouble until 2008) was probably in the 60%+ range, and I’m sure Novi (wasn’t trouble until 2008) was as well. Royal Oak wasn’t yuppieville then either, but a more blue collar moderate suburb. While there’s less outer Oakland County R votes in areas like Lyon Township then compared to today, I think much of the outer Oakland vote today is cannibalized from folks in inner-Oakland back then who moved out. Inner Oakland R’s then were largely replaced by Detroiters today. There’s also a growing Asian population in places like Troy and Novi today.
  • Macomb – 60%, won by 63,000 – Reagan D’s stayed with R’s here. Dukakis in a tank at the Warren plant was a disaster move still talked about today. That was his attempt at getting the Macomb vote. It backfired in a bad way and sunk Dukakis’s chances here.
  • Kent – 64%, won by 58,000 – I think this may be the last year the City of Grand Rapids went R. It started to go dem again like it was in the 70’s.
  • Ottawa – 76%, won by 43,000
  • Livingston – 69%, won by 17,600 – My county first makes a top 5 for vote spread. This vote spread is about 1/2 of what the vote spread is today.

Best 5 by percentage:

  • Ottawa – 76%
  • Livingston – 69%
  • Hillsdale – 68%
  • Missaukee – 68%
  • Allegan – 67%

These are looking like what top 5% map is today outside of the Trump election.

1992 – Clinton 44%, Bush 37%, Perot 19%, won by 320,000

Bush I’s tax increase and the Perot populist movement did a ton of long term damage to Republicans in Michigan. Between the trade agreement proposal that became NAFTA that was a big issue, the tax increase, and overall economic uncertainty, we took a beating. Bill Clinton also had an absolute gift of communication and later was given short term credit for the SUV boom during the late 90’s period (and long term blame for NAFTA). Clinton’s best 5 Counties were as follows.


  • Wayne – 60%, won by 280,000 – R’s always lose Wayne County big, but that’s the first 275K level loss since the 1960’s when Wayne County had many more people.
  • Genesee – 53%, won by 57,000 – Perot took a ton of votes here.
  • Washtenaw – 53%, won by 32,000 – Clinton accelerated the trend that Reagan and Ford slowed down.
  • Ingham – 46%, won by 17,700 – Ingham was open to some Republicans until around 1990. Bush barely won it against Dukakis. Reagan did well. East Lansing (and later Meridian Twp) stampeded left. Ingham is now one of the D’s 4 best counties every election.
  • Saginaw – 45%, won by 11,800 – Bay usually was in this spot, but Saginaw slipped ahead of it. They vote very similar overall although slightly different coalitions (Saginaw has more base R votes, but more minorities cancelling them out).


Clinton’s best 5 by percentage:

  • Wayne – 60%
  • Washtenaw/Genesee – 53%
  • Ontonagon/Gogebic/Iron/Schoolcraft/Lake – 52%

The real story however was how many previously R leaning counties turned into D leaning counties, particularly in North Michigan.  Clare. Gladwin. Alpena. Roscommon, Etc. I think a lot of this was due to union retirees moving Up North. Even Wexford, Osceola, Kalkaska, and Huron Counties went for Clinton. Seniors in Michigan were Clinton’s biggest base, and North Michigan (and the Thumb) had and still has a lot of retirees. Bill Clinton won 49 counties out of 83. The college areas are now gone for good as well. Ingham, Washtenaw, Kalamazoo, and Isabella. Marquette always was D, but it didn’t flip when the rest of the UP did.


Bush’s best 5 were:

  • Ottawa – 59%, won by 35,000 – Perot did a number here, although it was short term.
  • Kent – 48%, won by 33,000 – Perot again did a number. Bush recovered numbers here, but R numbers dropped later
  • Oakland – 44%, won by 27,000 – The vote spread was cut by 3/4 over 1988. This was also the last time R’s won an Oakland presidential election. Bush II nearly did it in 2004 fighting to a near draw, but Oakland was no longer a base county here and no longer an R county in 1996.
  • Macomb – 42%, won by 17,000 – Clinton didn’t sell here in 92, but it flips back to the D’s in 96 with the SUV boom.
  • Livingston – 45%, won by 9700 – By my standards after 1988, that’s a loss more than a win. Terrible showing for my county. D’s actually made some big inroads here in the 90’s until we moved back to the right in the 2000s. The fact that a 4 digit spread was the 5th best for Bush shows what a bad year it was for us.


Bush’s best 5 percentages:

  • Ottawa – 59%
  • Kent – 48%
  • Allegan/Missaukee – 47%
  • Livingston – 45%

Perot’s showing showed how unpopular the R’s were here at that time. It gets worse

1996 – Clinton 52%, Dole 38%, Perot 8%, won by 500,000

This was the year where we lost a lot of the suburbs. Suburbs aren’t monolithic, but all types of suburbs moved left here – the upper middle class and affluent suburbs that aren’t social conservative like Farmington Hills that the pundits proclaim as the typical suburb moved left. The working and middle class populist suburbs like Fraser and St Clair Shores that don’t get the hype also moved left. The rural areas were even rougher for us, but those were trouble in 92 as well. In shore, Clinton kicked our arse up and down the state winning 61 counties. This was arguably worse than 2008 here as the damage was more widespread geographically and less concentrated, and on par with 2006’s bloodbath (the worst where I was personally involved). Arguably only 1986 was worse in my lifetime. My congressional seat flipped that year too to Stabenow to add insult to injury.

Clinton best 5:

  • Wayne – 69%, won by 329,000 – Wayne County’s keeps losing population, but gets worse spreads for us. The percentages from here on out are closer to 70% than 60%.
  • Genesee – 61%, won by 57,000 – If nothing else, Genesee County is usually very consistent (Trump exception)
  • Washtenaw – 59%, won by 33,000 – Ann Arbor goes deep blue now, and it’s burbs now also go blue.
  • Macomb – 50%, won by 31,000 – The Reagan Democrats go back to the D’s. That 50% was with Perot on the ticket.
  • Oakland – 48%, won by 22,000 – Clinton flips Oakland and keeps it flipped to this day.

To give an idea how bad it was, Ingham didn’t make the list and was a 20,500 D spread as well.

Clinton’s best 5 by Percentage

  • Wayne – 69%
  • Genesee – 61%
  • Washtenaw/Lake – 59%
  • Marquette/Schoolcraft – 57%

Dole’s best 5:

  • Kent – 54%, won by 35,000
  • Ottawa – 64% won by 34,000
  • Livingston – 51%, won by 8000 – D’s gained ground in vote spread and it’s Dole’s 3rd best? That tells you how bad this election really was. Dole even visited Livingston County right before the election. It wasn’t enough to save Dick Chrysler, the first Livingston County Congressman we had in a long time (since Winans?).
  • Allegan – 54%, won by 6500
  • Berrien – 48%, won by 3600


Dole’s best 5 by percentage:

  • Ottawa – 64%:
  • Kent/Allegan – 54%
  • Livingston – 51%
  • Leelanau/Missaukee – 50%


2000 – Gore 51%, Bush 46%, won by 217,000

I always thought Bush was a bad fit for Michigan and bombed here in 2000 to someone that should not have won the state, but after the damage of 92 and 96, I think Michigan was more D than its reputation was then (albeit less D than its reputation was a month before Trump’s election). In retrospect, while Bush was a bad fit for East Michigan, he was a good fit for West Michigan. The UP starts to go our way a bit, and even longtime D areas like Delta County finally flip. Most of the UP counties flipped for good with the exception of 2008 when McCain publicly quit the state. Oakland narrowly went D, as did Macomb that year.


Gore’s best 5:

  • Wayne – 69%, won by 307,000 – The machine.
  • Genesee – 63%, won by 53,000 – Also the machine.
  • Washtenaw – 60%, won by 34,000 – College towns really start to move left.
  • Ingham – 57%, won by 22,000 – Same story as Washtenaw
  • Saginaw – 54%, won by 9700 – The machine again.


Gore’s best 5%

  • Wayne – 69%
  • Genesee – 63%
  • Washtenaw – 60%
  • Ingham – 57%
  • Muskegon – 55%

All university or UAW machine areas.


Bush’s best 5

  • Kent – 59%, won by 53,000 – Bush really did well in Kent County’s suburbs. I saw some diminishing returns out of here post 2004, but I’m wondering now if Kent County just had a lot of “Bush Independents.” Bush was a great fit for Kent (and Ottawa) County.
  • Ottawa – 71%, won by 49,000
  • Livingston – 59%, won by 16,000 – A lot of the old 1980’s Oakland GOP vote is now here. Outside of the 08 McCain quitting disaster, this was also the last time R’s were under 60% here for presidential elections. Bush had 44,000 votes here. Reagan in 84 had about 32,000.
  • Allegan – 63%, won by 13,000 – Fast growing area in Dutch country increasing the spread there.
  • Grand Traverse – 59%, won by 8000 – Fast growing area as well and the suburbs of Traverse City are strongly R (City is D).


Bush best 5 by%

  • Ottawa – 71%
  • Missaukee – 66% (Dutch rural county up north)
  • Allegan – 63%
  • Barry/Hillsdale/Ontonagon – 60% – Interesting to see a UP county on this list, especially one on Clinton’s list.


2004 – Kerry 51%, Bush 47%, won by 165,000

Bush made a fairly strong play to win Michigan, and I think there was some shenanigans going on in Detroit and a couple of other places that may have caused Kerry’s win. Kerry only won 15 counties, so most of the rural areas that voted for Clinton went back home. Macomb County flipped to Bush and Oakland was fought to a near draw narrowly going for Kerry.


Kerry’s top 5:

  • Wayne – 69%, won by 342,000 – The machine.
  • Washtenaw – 64%, won by 48,500 – The college towns were lost in 92, but stampeded left starting in 04.
  • Genesee – 60%, won by 44,500 – Bush made some inroads here.
  • Ingham – 58%, won by 22,100 – Bush did better in Lansing, but worse in East Lansing and Meridian Twp.
  • Muskegon – 55%, won by 9000 – The machine again.


Kerry’s top 5%

  • Wayne – 69%
  • Washtenaw – 64%
  • Genesee – 60%
  • Ingham – 58%
  • Muskegon – 55%


Bush’s top 5

  • Ottawa – 72%, won by 56,500 – Dutch county (Ottawa/Kent/Allegan) was Bush’s best area.
  • Kent – 59%, won by 54,300
  • Livingston – 63%, won by 25,000 – 9000 vote spread improvement over 2000. Population growth helped us. Bush was the first R to get 50,000 votes here. Romney got 60,000 8 years later, and Trump got 65,000 after that.
  • Allegan – 63%, won by 15,000
  • Grand Traverse – 59%, won by 9200


Bush top 5%

  • Ottawa – 72%
  • Missaukee – 68%
  • Livingston/Allegan/Hillsdale – 63%


2008 – Obama 57%, McCain 41%, won by 840,000

This should have been about a 8-10% loss, not a 16% loss. That doesn’t sound like it matters much in the grand scheme of things, but it does matter downticket and is a reason I support a 50 state strategy. That probably would have saved Walberg’s district that year. While there’s argument on worse overall results (1986, 1996 or 2006 for example) McCain ran the worst campaign I’ve even seen. His people announced publicly that he quit my state. Romney did the same thing in 2012 privately (which did hurt us some), but he never publicly quit. Karl Rove’s mouth running hurt us in 2012 more than Romney, and took a probable 6pt loss into a 9pt loss. That was Rove though, not Romney. Michigan will tighten up late if there’s a serious contest. It doesn’t always result in a win (2002 went from double digits in polls to 4% loss – saving the state house/senate), but sometimes it causes upsets to happen, as John Engler in 1990 and Donald Trump in 2016 both found out.

Obama took 46 counties, which was the most since Clinton’s rampage in 96.


Obama’s best 5:

  • Wayne – 74%, won by 440,000 – Even in Wayne County, that’s unreal.
  • Oakland – 56%, won by 96,000 – That’s the D’s standard in Oakaland
  • Washtenaw – 70%, won by 76,600 – D’s actually exceeded this spread in Washtenaw in 2018
  • Genesee – 65%, won by 71,500 – Obama got the white working class votes here, but that doesn’t fit the media narrative
  • Ingham – 66%, won by 48,000 – This was enough for Obama to win my congressional district. Luckily Mike Rogers was a strong incumbent.

Obama did well across Michigan in 08, but he especially did well in places with a lot of minorities and in college areas. At least four of those five fit the mold for minority or college populations, and you can make the argument for Oakland there as well although it’s minority percentage is lower than Wayne or Genesee Counties.

Obama’s best 5%

  • Wayne – 74%
  • Washtenaw – 70%
  • Ingham – 66%
  • Genesee – 65%
  • Muskegon  64%

McCain’s best 5

  • Ottawa – 61%, won by 32,500
  • Livingston – 56%, won by 13,000 – Our worst showing since Dole. The housing market crash killed us along M-59. While we “won” that area, it wasn’t by enough.
  • Allegan – 54%, won by 6000 – South Allegan moved hard against us. North Allegan was still solid.
  • Barry – 54%, won by 3000 – Barry County has 70,000 total.
  • Hillsdale – 55%, won by 2500 – When a rough year in Hillsdale makes the spread list, that says it all. Hillsdale County has 46,000 total people.

McCain’s best 5%

  • Ottawa – 61%
  • Missaukee – 60%
  • Livingston – 56%
  • Hillsdale – 55%
  • Allegan/Barry/Antrim/Osceola/Luce/Keweenaw – 54%


2012 – Obama 54, Romney 45, won by 450,000

“Let Detroit go Bankrupt” was never forgiven. Beyond that, I’ve said a lot about this race over the years and my thoughts about Romney as a candidate in the Path to Win (or lose) Michigan. I don’t need to rehash it again. Union members and supporters widely disliked Romney with a passion.

Obama’s best 5:

  • Wayne – 73%, won by 382,000
  • Washtenaw – 67%, won by 64,500 – I did think Romney would have done less worse in Washtenaw, but that area is so reflexively partisan these days. Snyder did well there, but he’s from there.
  • Genesee – 63%, won by 57,000
  • Oakland – 53%, won by 52,500 – Romney was supposed to make a play for Oakland. He’s from there. His results weren’t much better than Trump’s although he cut McCain’s deficit by almost 1/2.
  • Ingham – 63%, won by 35,500


Obama’s best 5%

  • Wayne – 73%
  • Washtenaw 67%
  • Genesee/Ingham – 63%
  • Muskegon – 58%


Romney’s best 5:

  • Ottawa – 66% – won by 45,400
  • Livingston – 61% – won by 22,800 – Bleeding stopped from 08, The vote spread was not quite as good as Bush04’s spread, but the 60,000 votes set a record.
  • Kent – 53%, won by 22,500 – Obama won it in 08 as Grand Rapids stampeded left after 2004.
  • Allegan – 59%, won by 10,300
  • Midland – 57%, won by 6,500 – Romney was a good fit for Midland. R’s do well there, but he did better than most.


Romney’s best 5%

  • Ottawa/Missaukee – 66%
  • Livingston/Hillsdale/Luce – 61%


2016 – Trump 47%, Clinton 47%, won by 10,700

This changed the map. I did go back and updated the Path to Win (or Lose) Michigan to add the Trump numbers as a comparison.

Clinton’s best 5:

  • Wayne – 66%, won by 290,000 – This was the worst since 1992 for D’s in the county. Unlike Bill, Hillary didn’t have any rural appeal whatsoever. She also didn’t do as well in many of the suburbs, despite pundit narrative. Underperformance of turnout combined with “big league” struggling in Livonia, the Downriver suburbs, and the airport suburbs meant trouble. Her overperformance in Grosse Pointe and the far western suburbs doesn’t make up for that. Keeping the margin under 300K is a “loss” for Hillary. Most D’s can win with 275K-300K margins in Wayne. She couldn’t.
  • Washtenaw – 68%, won by 78,000 – Ann Arbor and its suburbs almost saved the day for Hillary by its overperformance, even by D standards. This is SJW and feminist D central. It wasn’t enough, but Washtenaw did its job and more for Hillary.
  • Oakland – 51%, won by 54,000 – As rough as Trump did in PARTS of Oakland, overall it’s only slightly worse than Romney in a county where he’s a terrible cultural fit. Hillary overperformed and underperformed both in Oakland depending on the area. Novi was big for her. Waterford was the opposite.
  • Ingham – 60%, won by 35,000 – Clinton overperformed in East Lansing and Meridian Twp, but not Lansing. In the end, it evened out for Hillary by vote spread.
  • Genesee – 52%, won by 18,600 – It may be among the best 5 counties in terms of vote spread, but by D standards, that’s terrible. It’s like the 1996 numbers for R’s in Livingston County. This is a “loss” for D’s, much as Kent County this year was a “loss” for R’s even through Trump won it. Most of the Flint suburbs flipped to Trump, even normally 60%D Burton.


Clinton’s best 5%

  • Washtenaw – 68% – This is the first time since I don’t know when that Wayne County wasn’t number one for the D’s.
  • Wayne – 66%
  • Ingham – 60%
  • Kalamazoo – 53%
  • Genesee – 52%


Trump’s best 5

  • Macomb – 54%, won by 48,300 – This was an Obama county twice. The Reagan D’s came back home in a big way.
  • Ottawa – 62%, won by 43,500 – Not great for Ottawa, but he did what he needed.
  • Livingston – 62%, won by 31,300 – While our % isn’t as impressive as other counties this year, the vote spread was a record, as was the 65000+ votes for Trump. Western Livingston loved Trump. Eastern Livingston tolerated him. All of that 31K was needed as well.
  • St Clair – 63%, won by 24,500 – normally a light red county although one that Bill Clinton and Obama 08 won, its views are in line with Macomb on a lot of things, but is more conservative.
  • Lapeer – 67%, won by 17,000 – This is a county to watch and it’s becoming a base county, but it’s not usually by this margin. I always thought Lapeer had the potential to be the next Livingston County. I saw some of that in 2004, but the housing market hit hard there.


Trump’s best 5%

  • Missaukee – 74% – Trump did great up north.
  • Hillsdale – 71% – I was a little surprised at Hillsdale and expected a higher 3rd party vote, but the area away from the college is very populist. Trump won the city 2-1, but got 75%+ numbers outside of it.
  • Sanilac/Montmorency/Oscoda – 70%. – NE Michigan Counties are now on that list.

Much of Michigan’s recent history I covered in “The Path to win or lose Michigan” so I won’t rehash it.

What’s interesting is how full circle back to the Free Soil roots the rural areas have gone after Clinton’s monster gains there. If those votes stay with Trump – and many of them have trended that way, this is a great sign for the R’s. If Bay and Saginaw Counties flip, even better, although I’m not counting on that just yet. Macomb is never safe and one of the most of the most ornery counties in the country. Monroe usually votes with Macomb as well. Shiawassee County may be back home as well if the Genesee County burbs are at worst even up. The good news for R’s in Macomb is the growth in Northern Macomb. Macomb Twp and Shelby Twp are highly populated base R suburbs. Clinton Twp flipped, is fast growing, and now has 100,000 people. I don’t expect to outright win it every time with the growing black population, but there’s some base R neighborhoods there too. Sterling Heights is winnable. R’s need to make some serious outreach to Chaldeans there (and in West Bloomfield to reduce our losses there). They don’t always vote and don’t trust politicians in general. They liked Trump and tend to be conservative on 2nd Amendment, life issues, and small business issues.

Don’t count on Downriver just yet, but that’s an area that needs to be contested further. They like Trump, but they aren’t R voters yet. There’s a long tradition there, and we still lost the 23rd state house district despite Trump (although we flipped the 17th which was more D).  Wayne County’s depopulation helps the R’s, but there’s a price to be paid for it, especially in Oakland County. The movement in Southfield, Farmington Hills, and West Bloomfield are because of migration. That’s a problem for R’s. It’s now affecting Novi as well, along with the Asian population moving there. While winning big in outer Oakland County (and Waterford) helps, Lyon Township and White Lake aren’t going to cancel out Southfield, Pontiac, West Bloomfield, Royal Oak, and the SE Oakland Corridor without at a minimum holding serve in Novi and Troy (preferably 55% or better like Bush got) and improving margins in the Bloomfield Twp, Bloomfield Hills, and Rochester.

Some of Oakland’s loss is Livingston and Lapeer’s gain, at least for now. A lot of residents here and southern Lapeer moved from Oakland county.

Eastern Washtenaw County,  parts of Kalamazoo County, and NW Ingham County are problems and they are only going to get bigger.

The bleeding needs to stop in Kent County. I don’t know how much of it is Trump being a bad fit there and how much of it is Grand Rapids, Kentwood, and Wyoming.

The best thing about 2016 here in Michigan is that it proved that this is a state that needs to be fought. I’ve been battling for state respect here for a long time, but that’s not meant to be at the expense of other states. I support a 50 state strategy and thought that Howard Dean had the right idea in 2006. I’d like to see R’s make a push, especially downticket in every state in the union, even Massachusetts and California. Now I understand that some of those R’s may drive me nuts on issues like gun control in those states, but as I said about Mike Castle. “It’s Delaware.” If we can stop bleeding in some of those congressional districts, it’ll help secure the house and get the committee votes. Those state house/senate seats are a redistricting factor as well.



Arizona Presidential PVIs, 1920-2016

Copper mining and cotton farming, and later tourism, dominated Arizona’s economy in the 1920s and 30s, which made the state more Democratic relative to the country. Democrats here had historically been known as “Goldwater Democrats” or “Pinto Democrats”, socially liberal and fiscally libertarian. Arizona began trending Republican after World War II with the migration of snowbirds from the Midwest and to a lesser extent the Northeast, with the Republicanism peaking in the Goldwater and Reagan years. Afterwards, the trend has been slightly Democratic.

With only 15 counties (14 until 1983), it is easier for me to analyze Arizona by county. Here are their PVIs and their maps. (* La Paz County was created in 1983 and thus didn’t have a PVI in 1984.)

Apache County trended the same way as the state before breaking away from that pattern in the 1970s as the local Native Americans, mostly Navajo, began voting Democratic in large numbers. Apache did vote for Reagan in 1980 due to Carter’s perceived weaknesses on issues specific to the West, especially water. Now Apache is a strongly Democratic county. It was the most Democratic county until Santa Cruz took over in 2012.

Cochise County was a few points less Republican than Arizona and largely followed the state until the 1990s, when it trended more Republican. Democrats have strongholds in liberal Bisbee and Hispanic-heavy Douglas, but they are outweighed by the conservative/military vote of Sierra Vista and Fort Huachuca.

Coconino County, home to the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell, was a Republican stronghold from the 1950s to the 1980s. It has trended more Democratic of late due to a large college student/employee population in Flagstaff and many federal employees at the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Graham County was a strongly Democratic county early on, having voted for Cox in 1920 and Davis in 1924, before swinging right in the 1950s. Now, with a significant Mormon population (it was Romney’s best county in the 2008 primary), it battles with Mohave for most Republican county in the state.

Greenlee County was the most Democratic county in Arizona until 1996, voting for McGovern and Mondale, due to unionized miners from the Morenci copper mine. The breakup of the unions in the 1983 Great Arizona Copper Strike, and the diminishing way of life in a copper mining town led to Greenlee trending more Republican, having voted that way in every presidential election since 2000.

Gila County has also historically been Democratic, only going for the Republican in landslides such as 1956 and 1984, until 2000. Its trends have paralleled Greenlee, including a rightward turn in 2000.

La Paz County has been a consistently Republican-voting county since it was carved out of Yuma County in 1983.

Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, and many other cities, voted strongly Republican from the 1960s to the 1980s because of the migration of many Midwestern snowbirds who were very receptive to Goldwater, Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. The East Valley is home to white-collar tech workers, as well as heavily Mormon Mesa. North Phoenix has a considerable evangelical population, and the West Valley has a lot of blue-collar workers and retirement communities in places like Sun City. Democratic strongholds are in heavily Hispanic South Phoenix, downtown with African Americans, and college town Tempe. The growing minority population, as well as possible moderation among suburbanites in the East Valley, are contributing to Maricopa’s slow leftward trend since the 1990s, notwithstanding the McCain bump in 2008.

Mohave County, home to Lake Havasu and part of Grand Canyon National Park, saw a slight moderation from its usual strongly Republican voting patterns in the 1990s, due to the Grand Staircase National Monument resonating positively with local voters. Later, however, the county rapidly became more Republican and has remained conservative, being the only county to vote against Prop 100 in 2010.

Navajo County has leaned Republican because conservative white voters, a lot of them Mormon, turn out in greater numbers than the Native American voters.

Pima County, home to Tucson, has historically been a swing county, though of late has leaned more Democratic. The college vote from the University of Arizona is balanced out by the military vote from employees of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Pima was the only county to vote against the 2008 gay marriage ban.

Pinal County, between Maricopa and Pima, has been a bellwether county in Presidential races, voting for the winner from 1912 to 2004 except 1968 when it voted for Humphrey. Some suburbanization from Maricopa County has produced a Republican trend.

Santa Cruz County was a swing county for much of the post-war period until the 1990s. Now, the significant Hispanic population and concerns over immigration make Santa Cruz the most Democratic county in the state, having surpassed Apache in 2012.

Yavapai County, home to Prescott and most of Democratic-leaning Sedona, has remained a strongly Republican county due to a large evangelical population in Prescott and strong concern for the Second Amendment. Yavapai has voted Republican in every election since it was created, except for FDR’s 4 wins and Truman.

Yuma County voted more Democratic than the country from 1948 to 1960, though Goldwater in 1964 made the county turn sharply Republican and trend Republican through 2012. About 60% of Yuma’s population is Hispanic, and many of them are Democrats, though Trump carried the county by 1 point. Yuma’s economy is closely tied to those of the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California.

UK Target Seats, Part 7: Wales

Wales is its own country, though you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s not. If it weren’t for all the signs in Welsh, you’d probably think that Cardiff was in England. The Welsh language has been revived (it was never really quite dead), but it’s strongest in the north and the west. There is of course a nationalist party, Plaid Cymru (literally ‘The Party of Wales’), but it’s much less successful than the SNP. The Labour party arguably began here, and they continue to be strong, especially in the populous region of Southeastern Wales. The current party totals stand at Labour 25/40, Conservatives 11/40, Plaid Cymru 3/40, and Liberal Democrats 1/40.

Here is where the parties stood after 2015:


#1 Wrexham – 2.8% swing required, 57.6% Leave

Labour lost a lot of ground here in local the elections, but it was mostly to Independents. This actually used to be something of a three-way marginal among Tories, Labour, and the LibDems. Any LibDem recovery would help, but the biggest news is that UKIP (15.5%) is not running a candidate. Read up on the history of this seat in the 1980s. It’s fascinating.

#2 Clwyd South – 3.4% swing from Labour required, 59.9% Leave

UKIP is running a candidate here, but the Tories should still be able to pick up a big chunk of their 15.6% from 2015. Team Thatcher actually did manage to win this seat in a shocker in ’83 (back when it was Clwyd South West), but the addition of eastern territory near the border lost it for them in ’87.

#3 Delyn – 3.9% swing from Labour required, 54.4% Leave

I should mention, by the way, that all three of these seats so far are on the West Marches. The Marches are a border area that generations of Dukes of Cheshire (and other lords) would periodically raid and pillage in an attempt to get the local Celts to stop being tribesmen (or just wipe them out). This didn’t work very well. What did work well was settling non-Celts in Wales, which is how the cities of Southern Wales came to be. Anyway, UKIP is standing down and they got 16.4%, so there’s a good chance that this one is going blue even if the overall numbers in Wales don’t move too much.

#4 Alyn and Deeside – 4.1% swing from Labour required, 58.1% Leave

We complete our West Marches quartet with this little industrial seat. This seat hasn’t had a Tory MP since 1945, after which Flintshire was divided into two seats. UKIP (17.6%) is standing again, but will still get the Conservatives close in all likelihood.

#5 Bridgend – 2.4% swing from Labour required, 50.3% Leave

The Tories made some progress here in local elections. UKIP is running a candidate, but the Conservatives should take a big share of their 15.2% from 2015. The swing is small, so I think the Tories will take it, but it won’t be as easy as the Northern Wales seats.

#6 Cardiff West – 7.8% swing from Labour required, 43.8% Leave

I’m putting this one a bit higher than I otherwise would because the Team Blue did very well here in the local elections. UKIP only got 11.2% and they’re running someone. However, Plaid Cymru also did well in the locals and may grab some votes from Team Red. I’m taking a risk here, but the local results were just that good.

#7 Newport West – 4.4% swing from Labour required, 53.7% Leave

Labour held up well here in the local elections, better than expected, in fact. Still the Tories have a decent chance. UKIP is running a candidate, but they got 15.2%, so that’s still helpful. I’m fairly bearish on Southern Wales seats, though.

#8 Newport East – 6.7% swing from Labour required, 59.3% Leave

As I said above, Labour did well in the local elections in Newport. Still, the Leave number is good. UKIP is standing someone, but their 18.4% will likely mostly go to the Conservatives. Early polls had the Tories going for a few seats beyond this one, but now I just can’t see it.


#1 Cardiff Central – 6.4% swing from Labour required, 32% Leave

This, like many of the Liberals’ other targets, is a seat that they lost in 2015. It’s actually a decent shot for them, though. It’s full of urban, upscale lefties who are rabidly Pro-Remain even now. They aren’t running their old MP, though.

Scotland will be out in a bit, but it may take a few more days because I need to find Independence Referendum numbers.

UK Target Seats, Part 6: Yorkshire and Humberside

Historically, Yorkshire was the largest county by land area in England (having previously been its own Nordic kingdom). It was so huge that for administrative purposes it was broken into three Ridings (West, East, and North). In 1974, the Local Government Act screwed with a lot of lines and split the county into West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, and Humberside (basically the East Riding). Small parts also went into other counties. It’s considered a region unto itself, so I’m treating it as such. The current party totals for the region stand at Conservatives 19/54, Labour 33/54, and Liberal Democrats 2/54

As of 2015, here’s where the parties stood:


#1 Halifax – 0.5% swing from Labour required, 60.7% Leave

This is the first of what I call the West Yorkshire Cluster. These are urban/suburban seats that were close last time and are pro-Brexit. I’m pretty sure that they’ll all fall, even if the Tory lead really has diminished. Halifax was one of the closest seats in the country in 2015. It won’t be that hard to flip, even though UKIP (12.8%) is not standing down.

#2 Wakefield – 3% swing from Labour required, 62.6% Leave

UKIP is obliging the Tories by not running a candidate here, leaving a juicy 18.3% up for grabs. Honestly, you could see the Conservatives go from just over a third of the vote to just over half of it. Think of this area (and other seats near it) as a kind of suburb in between multiple cities (Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, etc).

#3 Dewsbury – 1.4% swing from Labour required, 57.1% Leave

Right next door is the slightly more upscale Dewsbury, another Yorkshire Conurbation suburb between cities. It’s very interesting to me that so many seats in the same area have almost the same political tipping point. UKIP (12.4%) is standing down, so this is pretty much a lock for Team Blue.

#4 Scunthorpe – 4.2% swing from Labour required, 68.7% Leave

Flipping over to Humberside (most of which used to be the East Riding), we come to an odd little seat. Scunthorpe is more of a large town than a city, and it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere. UKIP (17.1%) is standing a candidate, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem given the Leave number.

#5 Great Grimsby – 6.7% swing from Labour required, 69.2% Leave

This is one of UKIP’s best seats. Team Purple came in a close third in 2015 with 25%. They’re standing again this year, but the Tories should still be able to flip the seat. Grimsby is an old fishing town, and if there’s one group that hates the EU more than anyone, it’s British fishermen.

#6 Batley and Spen – 6% swing from Labour required, 59.6% Leave

There’s a really sad story to this one. The week before the Brexit vote, a nutjob shot and killed this seat’s MP, Jo Cox. By all accounts Cox was beloved by all and served her community well. Tragedies like  this reaffirm my belief in the death penalty. Anyway, out of respect, none of the major parties ran anyone against the Labour nominee in the ensuing by-election. Now the seat is fair game again. In fact, it’s almost destined to flip because UKIP is not running a candidate. That’s 18% that the Tories will be able to mostly absorb and in doing so flip the seat.

#7 Penistone and Stocksbridge – 7.2% swing from Labour required, 60.7% Leave

Stop laughing. I mean it, stop laughing. Breaking through into South Yorkshire, where the Tories haven’t had a seat since the 1997 wipeout (and it wasn’t this seat), would be very symbolic. Not only that, but half of this constituency is in the freaking People’s Republic of Sheffield. UKIP is standing here, but the Tories should still be able to feast mightily on the 22.9% that they got in 2015.

#8 Bradford South – 8.6% swing from Labour required, 63.6% Leave

This would also be a big win. Bradford as a whole is only two thirds white and over a quarter Asian (mostly Muslim Indians and Pakistanis). The city is starting to develop some nasty racial and religious overtones to its politics. The white population isn’t completely innocent in all of it, but they also have a lot about which to complain. Imagine Hasidic Jews took over a big chunk of a city, but instead of teaching pacifism and good financial management, they often taught that women were inferior and that the infidels must be converted or destroyed. It’s not a great situation. UKIP is standing in this seat, but they have 24.1% from which to drain votes.

#9 Huddersfield – 9.1% swing from Labour required, 51.8% Leave

The Leave number makes this a tough one with such a high swing. Still, even though UKIP scored a modest 14.7%, they’re standing down. A lot of seats around this one should fall easily, but this one will likely depend on regional differentials in swing. Apologies for the old picture. It’s what was available.

#10 York Central – 7% swing from Labour required. 38.8% Leave

Either a LibDem recovery or a Green surge (they got 10% in 2015) would be a real help here. UKIP isn’t standing, but they only got 10.1%. You’ll notice that this is the only North Yorkshire seat on this list. That’s because the other City of York seat usually goes Tory and the six rural seats are are true-blue strongholds.

#11 Don Valley – 10.5% swing from Labour required, 68.5% Leave

This one is a fairly tough win, but it can’t be overlooked. That’s because UKIP declined to field a candidate and left 23.5% sitting on the table. Even so, I’ll be legitimately stunned if Team Blue gets this. I’ve only seen records since the beginning of the 20th century, but as far as I can tell they’ve never had this one.

#12 Rother Valley – 10.2% swing from Labour required, 66.5% Leave

The disadvantage here compared with Don Valley is that though the Kippers got 28.1% (and second place), they’re running a candidate. Just like Don valley, this would be a historic win, but it’s a big reach.


#1 Bradford East – 8.6% swing from Labour required, 55.6% Leave

This is the only Liberal target seat in all of Yorkshire. They held it until 2015, and the old MP is running as with many of their other targets. Still, I doubt that they take it. Their previous MP was drummed out of the party for anti-Semitic comments. He’s now running as an Independent. It should split the Liberal vote decently.

Wales is up next, then we’ll finish with Scotland.

UK Target Seats, Part 5: Southern England

Southern England is the Conservative heartland. It’s a sea of blue with an occasional splotch of something else. If the Tories don’t completely dominate the region, they’re on hard times. The regional party totals are Conservatives 180/195, Labour 12/195, Liberal Democrats 1/195, Greens 1/195, UKIP 1/195. I’m counting the Speaker, Jon Bercow, as a Tory since that was his party.

Here’s where the parties stand after 2015:


#1 Clacton – 3.9% swing from UKIP required, 73% Leave

I can’t imagine a seat that’s more of a lock to be gained by the Tories. Douglas Cardwell, UKIP’s only MP, became an Independent, then resigned and rejoined the Conservatives. There’s no way UKIP can hold on without his personal popularity, Giles Watling is likely to get well over 50% and regain this seat for Team Blue.

#2 North Norfolk – 4.1% swing from Liberal democrats required, 58.4% Leave

This one would be a few places down, but UKIP decided to do the Tories a solid and not run a candidate this time. That’s how much they dislike Norman Lamb, the long-serving LibDem MP for this constituency. That leaves UKIP’s 16.9% completely up for grabs.

#3 Hove – 1.2% swing from Labour required, 32.9% Leave

The Brexit number is horrendous. That said, the swing needed is very small, and the Tories can grab most of UKIP’s 6.3% because they aren’t standing. I’m also expecting a LibDem recovery and possibly a few extra points from the Greens, who are strong in the Brighton area.

#4 Bristol East – 4.3% swing from Labour required, 48.7% Leave

This seat voted for Remain, but UKIP actually got a healthy 15.5%. They aren’t running anyone here next month, so the Tories should get the lion’s share of that. It’s not a lock, but it’s a very good target. The Greens and the LibDems are also locally strong, so the left should be decently split.

#5 Southampton Test – 4.4% swing from Labour required, 49.4% Leave

I would have put this (and the previous seat) down a tad farther, but UKIP is not standing here as well. That leaves most of their 12.8% to the Tories. Interestingly, this is the only seat in Hampshire that isn’t held by the Conservatives. That kind of margin is standard for them in small counties with less than 10 seats. It’s not that common in a county with a true conurbation and 18 constituencies.

#6 Bristol South – 7% swing from Labour required, 47.3% Leave

If there were ever something like a true four-way marginal, this would likely be it. Labour, the Tories, the Greens, and the LibDems usually make efforts here. That means the trying to predict the outcome is a shot in the dark, though I assume that the LibDems and Greens will seep each other down. UKIP is in fact running a candidate here, but a big chunk of their 16.5% should still go to the Tories.

#7 Slough – 7.6% swing from Labour required, 54.1% Leave

This is a stretch given the Tories’ recent polling in Southern England. However, there’s an unusually high (for this part of the country) Labour Leavers here. UKIP’s 13% is also unusually high for the region. Interestingly, Major’s crew actually managed to hold this in ’92.

#8 Norwich South, 7.9% swing from Labour required, 40.5% Leave

This is a big reach, but it would be awesome if Team Blue took it. it’s current MP is clive Lewis, quite possibly one of the most annoying major figures in the Labour Party (and that’s saying something). UKIP only provides 9.4%, but they’re not standing a candidate (they too hate Lewis). if the LibDems make a recovery to somewhere near 2010 levels or the Greens surge (they’re strong here, the Conservatives could pick this up with ~30% like they did with Gower in 2015.


#1 Cambridge – 0.6% swing from Labour required, 26.3% Leave

This is definitely the top target in the country for the Liberal Democrats. It’s rabidly Remain and they barely lost it to Labour in 2015. Whatever else happen to them next month, they should regain this seat. Former MP Julian Huppert is running to get his seat back, so that helps too. If Team Red is holding this on June 8th, it’s probably lights-out for the Liberals.

#2 Bath – 4.1% swing from conservatives required, 31.7% Leave

This is a pretty upscale area. It’s a favorite destination for wealthy people who want to be close to Bristol but don’t actually want to live in the city. It’s been a Tory/LibDem marginal for a few decades now. The Conservatives grabbed it in 2015 amid the Liberal collapse, but they had built up quite a majority prior to that. It’s probably their fourth or fifth best target in the country.

#3 Lewes – 1.1% swing from Conservatives required, 47.1% Leave

As you drive south out of London, you enter the Tory suburban heartland around the capital. Drive a bit farther and you’re in the still-blue countryside. However, if you keep driving to Brighton, the political landscape shifts dramatically as you reach the coast. It goes from rural Tory villages to bougey leftists in trendy apartments in the blink of an eye. Not only does Labour do decently here (we covered Hove earlier), but both the LibDems and the Greens are strong (hell, they have their only seat here!). All this splitting of the left allows the Tories to be competitive. The first of these seats that you’d reach, and the most conservative, is Lewes. It’s somewhat rural, so it’s a straight-up Tory/LibDem marginal. The Brighton area is one the few non-London places that has high numbers of Remain-at-all-costs voters. It’s very connected to the rest of Europe and has a ton of transplants from the mainland. These include Felix Kjellberg, also known as PewDiePie, the top-earning YouTuber. It’s basically the most popular destination for those using Britain as a tax haven. Anyway, Team Orange has a decent shot here because of a fired-up base and the Greens (5.5%) standing down to help them. UKIP (10.7%) retaliated by not running a candidate either. If that hadn’t happened this seat would be first on the list.

#4 Cheltenham – 6.1% swing from labour required, 42.9% Leave

If you think we’re bouncing around a lot geographically, that’s because we are. Outside of London, Southern England is very right-wing. looking for a competitive seat when the Tories are doing well is like rooting around your salad for those four sad, tiny shrimp that allowed the restaurant to charge four dollars more. Think of Cheltenham as a slightly less upscale Bath. It’s industries are mainly high-tech and white-collar. As in many of their other target seats, the LibDems held this until 2015. They’re running their old MP, Martin Norwood, and hoping that they’re historical record of strong local candidates holds this year. Also, UKIP isn’t running a candidate here.

#5 Eastbourne – 0.7% swing from Conservatives required, 57.5% Leave

As with many of these, the Liberals are running their former MP. If not for the Leave number, this would be higher up on the list. However, there are real issues with this target. One of the real problems for the Liberal Democrats is that in many seats where they have a good shot, UKIP is standing down in order to screw them over. Honestly, I’m actually gaining more and more respect for the Kippers as I write these lists. May they die a noble death and have a viking funeral before they meet Churchill, Thatcher, Reagan, and Coolidge in Conservative Valhalla. They can keep Scott Walker’s reserved seat warm for him.

#6 Thornbury and Yate – 1.5% swing from Conservatives required, 52.2% Leave

The Bristol area is strange. Not only does it have strong areas for the Conservatives, Labour, and the LibDems, but it’s also strong for the Greens. It’s sort of like Brighton, except that the Greens aren’t strong enough to really help the Tories much (yet). They’re really only contenders in one seat. Anyway, this seat is exurban Bristol with enough rural territory to provide a good populist base for the LibDems. They aren’s running their old MP though, so any lingering personal vote shouldn’t be an issue. UKIP is also not running a candidate here, so that could boost Luke Hall for the Conservatives. Team orange haw a long, hard road if they can’t even take this constituency back from Team Blue.

#7 St. Ives – 2.6% swing from Conservatives required, 54.8% Leave

Cornwall (Kernow in the local, near-dead language) has taken a bit of a rightward turn lately. Not only did it vote 56.5% Leave (even though as a Celtic minority area it got extra EU funding), but all six of its constituencies elected Tories in 2015 and the Conservatives are now the largest party on the local council. This is impressive given the area’s relative poverty and tourism-based economy. UKIP likes the local Tory MP, so they’re not running a candidate. However, Team Orange did catch one break in that their former MP is running again.

#8 Yeovil – 4.7% swing from Conservatives required, 59.9% Leave

It’s kind of embarrassing for the LibDems that this is so far down the list. It was originally taken by Liberal legend Paddy Ashdown, who picked it up from the Tories in 1983 despite Thatcher’s landslide victory. They’d held it ever since until 2015. It’s been thought of in the past as one of their few safe seats. The fact that they lost it really stung. Even worse, David Laws, a former rising star on the right of the party and the former MP, is not running this time. That’s probably because he was the Schools Minister in the Coalition, but it’s still not advantageous for Team Orange. To add insult to injury, UKIP is standing down here to lend extra votes to the Tories.

#9 Torbay – 3.4% swing from Conservatives required, 62.4% Leave

Historically, this is a big Tory/LibDem battleground. I don’t see the Tories losing it, but a surprisingly good performance for Farron and Co. could see it flip.

#10 Colchester – 5.7% swing from Conservatives required, 51.5% Leave

The Leave number isn’t that bad for Team Orange, but the swing is hefty. It’s a longshot, but not a hopeless one. Taking a seat in Essex would be impressive.

I’ve decided to do Scotland last. Please tell me in the comments whether you want Yorkshire and Humberside or Wales next.