Gallup: Red States Dwindling


Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight breaks down the latest Gallup data on partisan affiliation across the nation:

“That’s right: just five states, collectively containing about 2 percent of the American population, have statistically significant pluralities of adults identifying themselves as Republicans. These are the ‘Mormon Belt’ states of Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, plus Nebraska, plus Alaska. By contrast, 35 states are plurality Democratic, and 10 states are too close to call. Now then for a couple of caveats. Firstly, Gallup’s numbers consist of interviews with all adults — not registered voters, and certainly not likely voters. Depending on the particular application that we’re using this data for, that may be helpful or unhelpful. What this perhaps indicates, however, is that even after all the millions of new voters that the Democrats registered and brought to the polls in 2008, there are still probably some marginal gains to be had, particularly in areas like the deep South that the Obama campaign did not really concentrate in.”

Just Five Red States Left? [fivethirtyeight]


  1. says

    I love me some Nate Silver, but the idea of Oklahoma (my home state) becoming a democratic-leaning state in a national election is pretty laughable.

  2. Clay says

    Demographically, the reddest Red States have aging, shrinking populations. In the short term this will push them even further right, but will later result in the loss of electoral college votes. Where the populations of these states increases, the source will be (mostly Hispanic) immigrant labor (as in the Rockies and Midwest) or younger, educated, more liberal voters (such in North Carolina’s Research Triangle). This will either tilt Democrat or drive the GOP toward the center in those areas.

  3. JayDub says

    This report is not accurate. I live in Kentucky and by no means is it, or will it ever, be “solid democratic”. KY voted, overwhelming for McCain during the 2009 election. The 2 KY Senate seats are held by Republicans – with one being the Minority Leader. Additionally, 2 of the 6 Congressmen are housed by Republicans. The only “solid” democrat we have is the Governor and that’s only because we couldn’t possibly stand to look at Anne Northup any longer – he was the lesser of two evils.

    Voters or no voters, these results are worthless.

  4. JayDub says

    CORRECTION: Meant to say 2 of the 6 Congressmen are Democrats. Or 4 of the 6 [Congressmen] are Republicans. Either way, you choose.

  5. Clay says

    While it’s true that statistics can lie, they are not trumped by anecdotal evidence.

    It’s worth pointing out KY Sen. Mitch McConnell came surprisingly close to losing his seat in 2008, that GA had to have a run-off, and that a Democrat won in NC, which Obama also carried.

    Incidentally, it’s also worth pointing out that many of the states we now consider solidly Republican have previously tilted Democrat. One of the reason for GOP success in those reasons has been that lower income, working class white voters have, for the last couple of decades, have largely voted according to their conservative social values instead of their perceived economic self-interest. In the 2008 election this tendency reversed very, very slightly, and contributed to a fairly decisive Obama win in the Electoral College. If that trickle should intensify, the results would be dramatic.

    This Gallup study and others like it indicate trends, not flips. It’s inaccurate to read them as if they do.

  6. Brian says

    But still Obama only had 52% of the popular vote. That means 48% of the population did not want change

  7. michael says

    little known fact: Gawd told Joseph Smith that ALL of his Mormon followers are to move to Alaska by 2010. Spread The Word.

  8. Michael says

    I clicked to comment about how Oklahoma was really far from being predominantly blue, but several beat me to it.

    Maybe the problem is that we are equating democrat with liberal and republican with conservative. People don’t always vote for the party that usually holds to their beliefs.

    Places like Oklahoma are fundamentally conservative on most issues, but that doesn’t mean that many people there don’t favor the democrats more for a variety of reasons at the moment.

    This map indicates party preferences at the moment, not an indication of everyone jumping to more liberal beliefs suddenly.

    My first reaction was to disbelieve these results, but maybe I misunderstood them. It’s definitely very interesting though. Change makes me happy.

  9. says

    Who cares what people are thinking unless they get off their lazy asses and vote. Until that happens, the only map that matters is the red and blue one created each election night using as data actual votes cast. A significant increase in lazy, apathetic voters signifies growth in nothing but laziness and apathy.

  10. John in CA says

    It is interesting that they didn’t look at voter registration. But even if they did, I think it would look a lot like what they came up with.

    In 2004, there were 72 million Democrats and only 55 million Republicans. Yet, the election results were a disaster for the Democratic Party. Bush was re-elected. And the party actually lost seats in Congress.

    The Democratic Party has always enjoyed a significant advantage in registration because many southern conservatives and union members are still technically “Democrat” (even though they vote Republican). So-called “independents” are usually wishy-washy white people (who also tend to vote Republican regardless of what they call themselves: Libertarians, Reformists, Constitutionalists, etc.) Clinton and Obama won because they managed to woo some of these people over.

    And I don’t think this map is anything more than a snapshot in time. Obama has a extraordinary 79% approval rating. His Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has a 66% approval rating. She hasn’t seen numbers like that since the First Lady days. Even the much reviled House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has clawed herself back to 29% since inauguration day (after the all-time low of 9% during the bailout vote last year). People are optimistic about the Democrats. We’ll see how long that lasts though.

  11. Derrick from Philly says

    Yes, this is all nice, but it also means that “conservative” Democrats are making a comeback within the party. BUT I believe that conservative Democrats will still support equal civil rights for gay people once they graduate from local issues to national issues…ala Kaine of Virginia. So, let’s give the bastard a chance.

  12. Daniel Ronfeld says

    For what it’s worth, life in one of the reddest of the red (Idaho) life has changed. Usually our Democratic primary is forgotten about (even by several democrats) this year is literally blocked traffic, huge numbers of people were turned away because of room capacity, Obama’s pre-primary visit to our state drew record crowds and was live on all our local stations, not to mention we had a state Democratic Presidential HQ for the first time in over 40 years. Not just in the bluest liberal ADA County but in other smaller, redder counties- the blue turned out and showed up. Yes we are still out voted, and yes our electoral isn’t pushing any pendulums but we ousted one GOP senator for one of our own and for the first time in a long time the Dems know they can, and that hope, that belief in the power of change, is tremendous- especially in a state as red as this one.

  13. 24play says


    Are people still bandying about the numbers 52 and 48 to describe 2008’s popular vote?


    It was 52.9% to 45.7%, for a spread of greater than 7 points, or almost double the 4-point spread you cited.

  14. Jeffrey says

    Arkansas, in fact, does lean heavily democrat in all elections except for President. We have 2 Dem. Senators, 3 of 4 Reps are Dem, and the Governor is a Dem. The state house and senate are overwhelmingly Democratic. It’s just on the national level that Republicans get a whole lot of mileage out of conservative social values that appeal to the Religious right, which is a large portion of the voters in our state. We also had some of the worst voter turnout in the country for young people and African Americans. The democrats really need to focus in the south on getting these people to understand that there vote counts and they actually do outnumber the old folks and Baptists that overwhelming voted for McCain.

  15. C. Foley says

    As a Georgian, I must say that I was somewhat heartened by this latest election. Yes, Obama still lost, but by a far lesser percentage than I would’ve thought. Hopefully Obama/Democrats can make further inroads here. Hopefully.