Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Swing Region: The Mountain West?

538.com's Sean Quinn (with graphs!):

To take comfort in the theory that "you can only vote to elect the first black president once," as one of the great hacks would prefer to hope, such wishful thinking doesn't work in the Mountain West, where Obama's success cannot be attributed to high black turnout. John McCain won more voters in Colorado and Nevada than John Kerry, but McCain wasn't even close against Obama in those states.

In Nevada and New Mexico, new voter registration numbers were 5-7 times the losing 2004 presidential margins of 21,500 and 5,988 respectively. Obama won in Nevada by a hair under 120,000 votes and over 12%, and New Mexico by over 125,000 and over 15%. With the new voter registrations, those states can be considered blue until further notice.

Those ten electoral votes are roughly balanced by the twelve from Wyoming, Utah and Idaho that Republicans have on lockdown. Montana is the closest state, which Obama lost by 2.26%. Colorado (Obama +8.95%) and Arizona (McCain +8.52%) are mirrors of each other, though without McCain on the ballot it seems clear that state would have been much, much closer.
To chalk it up to a "perfect storm" oversimplifies what happened. And the simplest example? Newly registered voters will continue to vote. Again, and again, and again.

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