Political Geography of the States: Part 1, the West
by Stephen Wolf, Daily KOS, February 14, 2013 (excerpts)
After last November's elections provided us with a trove of new elections data, I am finally able to revive my series on the political geography of the states that I first started last year. In it, I wanted to get a feel for how local Democrats perform in statewide or local elections and how that varies from Obama's 2012 performance. Given how counties are by far the easiest unit to find election data for in various states, I will be looking at how statewide candidates do on a state by state basis by county.
For every state, I've compiled all of the statewide, partisan D vs. R races since 2006 and averaged the results (excluding presidential) to give you an idea of how a generic local Democrat will do on average, assuming a 50-50 race statewide so that even in heavily Democratic or Republican states you can see which areas are relatively more friendly to each party. Using this average Partisan Voter Index (PVI) where the state as a whole is Even, counties where the vote share is more Dem than the state are D+ and those that are more Republican are R+. Additionally, I've mapped out how Obama's 2012 map looks different than how an average Dem does who won or lost by the same margin. Finally, since the 2012 House of Representatives results are almost always presented by the district map, I've mapped out both the results themselves by county as well as by how much the House candidates ran ahead of or behind Obama in 2012.
All of the partisan percentages were calculated using two-party vote share only so as to have the most direct comparison between races. All of the data was taken directly from the relevant state's board of elections or equivalent office. You can find it for download by state here….
There isn't really much to present with Hawaii since it only has 4 true counties, Obama massively over performed how Democrats do in open seats, and it's a state that tends to give incumbents huge wins. The state is already very heavily Democratic, in fact Democrats control 24 of the state's 25 state senate districts. However, Democrats tend to exceed their statewide margin in Kauai, Maui, and the big island of Hawaii while almost always running behind it in Honolulu.
In terms of the House vote, Tulsi Gabbard ran significantly ahead of the president which was completely unsurprising given her opponent was a homeless man. On the other hand, Colleen Hanabusa underperformed Obama by the most of any incumbent in the nation thanks to facing Hawaii Republicans strongest possible candidate in former Rep. Charles Djou and Obama's native son boost. Since Honolulu County (the island of O'ahu) was split between the two districts, this is somewhat obscured.
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