Thursday, September 1, 2016

My Vote Counts Part 5: Solid States

The states from the last two installments are beyond solid. Most of them have historically gone to the same party except in unusual circumstances like the party realignments during the Civil Rights Era, the Reagan Revolution, or the elections where there was a third-party candidate who actually got enough votes to play the spoiler. This time around, we'll look at the states that are solidly but not suicidally loyal to one party or the other. These states have won by an average margin of 10-15% in the last five elections, so if both of the third party candidates with some name recognition get votes consistent with their poll numbers and most of the votes going to both Stein and Johnson are siphoned off from a single party, there's a chance the state can flip. We'll start with the solid blue states, since there are fewer of them.

Solid Democratic States

New Jersey
Favored Party: Democrats
Electoral Votes: 14
Average Margin: 14.76%
Current Prediction: Clinton by 13.7%
Flips: New Jersey was mostly a Republican state from the 1948 to 1988 (except for 1960 and 1964, when the state went blue). Since 1992, it's gone to the Democrats in every election. 

Maine
Favored Party: Democrats
Electoral Votes: 4
Average Margin: 13.5%
Current Prediction: Clinton by 11.8%
Flips: From before the Civil War until 1988, Maine was a reliably red state, only going to the Democrats in 1912, 1964, and 1968. Since 1992, the Democrats have taken the state in every Presidential election. 

Washington
Favored Party: Democrats
Electoral Votes: 12
Average Margin: 11.48%
Current Prediction: Clinton was up by 15% when I made my spreadsheet. 
Flips: Washington's history is similar to New Jersey and Maine: Red from 1952 to 1984 with only two exceptions (1964 and 1968), blue from 1988 on. 

Solid Republican States

South Dakota
Favored Party: Republicans
Electoral Votes: 3
Average Margin: 14.84%
Current Prediction: Trump by 7.6% 
Flips:  Since 1892, South Dakota has gone to the GOP in all but 5 elections. Teddy Roosevelt took the state as a Progressive candidate in 1912, the Democrats won it in 1896, 1932, 1936, and 1964. 

Kentucky
Favored Party: Republicans
Electoral Votes: 8
Average Margin: 14.58%
Current Prediction: Trump by 10.2%
Flips: Kentucky is another of the old "Southern Democrat" states, but it flipped to the GOP a little earlier than most. Since 1956, it's gone to the Republicans in all but 4 elections: 1964, 1976, 1992, and 1996. Unless Ross Perot decides to run, it's unlikely Hillary will repeat her husband's wins here.  

Mississippi
Favored Party: Republicans
Electoral Votes: 6 
Average Margin: 13.28%
Current Prediction: Trump by 4.7%
Flips:  Like most southern states, Mississippi loved the Democrats until LBJ came along. Since 1964, Carter is the only Democrat to win the state's Electoral Votes (though George Wallace did win the state in 1968 as an Independent candidate). 

Montana
Favored Party: Republicans
Electoral Votes: 3
Average Margin: 12.86%
Current Prediction: Trump by 6.8%, though this is one of the states where Johnson is polling above average (13.8% when I looked all these numbers up). 
Flips:  Montana kind of waffled back and forth for its first 60 years, but since 1952 the Democrats have only won it twice: 1964 and 1992. 

South Carolina
Favored Party: Republicans
Electoral Votes: 9 
Average Margin: 11.66%
Current Prediction: As of about a month ago, the polls only showed Trump up by 1.9%, so there's a decent chance that Trump's unpopularity may outweigh historical trends here. 
Flips: It's the south, so with the exception of 1976 South Carolina has gone to the GOP in every election from 1964 on. 

Tennessee
Favored Party: Republicans
Electoral Votes: 11
Average Margin: 10.24%
Current Prediction: Trump by 10%
Flips: Like Kentucky, Tennessee turned it's back on the Democrats earlier than most southern states, going the Republicans in the 1952 election. Since then, the Democrats have taken the state 4 times: 1964, 1976, 1992, and 1996. Clinton's success in the state didn't carry over to his VP, who lost Tennessee in 2000 despite it being his home state. 

Indiana
Favored Party: Republicans
Electoral Votes: 11
Average Margin: 10.2%
Current Prediction: Trump by 5.9%
Flips:  The Democrats have only taken Indiana 14 in the state's history, and only 5 times since 1900: 1912, 1932, 1936, 1964, and 2008. The Republicans have won Indiana in every other election since 1860. 

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