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I've written before about the political geography of Fairfield County, Connecticut.  As it happens, the Secretary of the State has town-level election results for every election back to 1922.  I decided to use this to try to figure out when Fairfield County turned into the moderately Democratic bastion it is today.  

My interactive charts and writeups are here but I thought I'd write up some of what I've found.  (If you want the charts fully-sized, though, then I'd suggest following the link...)

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Some time ago, I noticed that Dallas County, Iowa had the greatest increase of any large county in the country in percentage of residents 25 years and older having at least a bachelor's degree.

I use "large county", incidentally, in the sense of being one of the 814 counties with an ACS 1-year estimate (although the Census tract maps use 5-year estimates), but these cover about 84% of the U.S. population.

Dallas County--a suburban and rural county immediately west of Polk County (Des Moines) which holds the rare distinction of voting Mondale/McCain, as Pete Helgason pointed out to me--went from having 26.8% of residents with at least a bachelor's degree to 42.6% (1-year estimate) or 42.1% (5-year estimate)--either way, an increase of more than 15 points.

 photo BikeIowaDallas_zpsed66b82b.png

(Thanks to BikeIowa for that map.)

That's higher than the District of Columbia (second on the list, +13.9% from 39.1% to 53%). I decided I wanted a more granular look at this remarkable demographic shift.  But long story short?  Make sure you map change in total population.

 photo IowaPop_zps0c19776f.png

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(cross-posted at my site, Xenocrypt's site.)


In a previous post, I mapped when women's suffrage failed in the U.S. House in 1915.  For this post, I thought I'd map the (House) passage of the Eighteenth Amendment: Prohibition.

Here's a link to the vote on Govtrack.  The prohibition amendment was sent to the states by a vote of 282 to 128--a landslide in absolute terms, but relatively close given the margin required to pass a Constitutional amendment.

The 65th House of Representatives was closely divided between Republicans and Democrats.  208 Democrats, 201 Republicans (one "independent"), 3 Progressives, 1 Socialist, and 1 Prohibitionist voted on the Eighteenth Amendment.

Remarkably enough, the major parties split in nearly identical ratios on this issue, with 140 Democrats and 138 Republicans supporting Prohibition, and 64 Democrats and 62 Republicans in opposition. Even the 3 Progressives followed the pattern and split 2-1.

The Map:

Here's the map.  Once again, I used the historical Congressional shapefiles (by Jeffrey B. Lewis, Brandon Devine, Lincoln Pritcher, and Kenneth Martis), along with Govtrack.

 photo ProhibitionSoFar3_zps6cbc04ea.png

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With the release of the amazing new historical Congressional shapefiles (by Jeffrey B. Lewis, Brandon Devine, Lincoln Pritcher, and the invaluable Congressional geographer Kenneth Martis), along with the great work of sites like Govtrack, we can fairly easily map any historical vote.  

I thought I'd demonstrate this with a vote that has long interested me: the failed vote on a women's suffrage amendment in the 63rd Congress (1913-1915).  

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After the 2012 election, "demographics are destiny" became a popular phrase.  As the country diversifies, so the story goes, pretty much everywhere will trend Democratic.

There's no denying that many diversifying areas have trended Democratic.  But there are interesting exceptions.  Consider Palm Beach County, Florida.  It diversified, but trended Republican.  Was it because of older people?  Jewish people?  Rich people?  None of the above?  Let's see what we can find out.

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In 1954, Democrats won back the House of Representatives after losing it in 1952, and despite my irritation at the mistakes I found in the 1952 results by Congressional district, there are still ways to look at the 1952 and 1954 elections.

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The 83rd Congress is interesting for a few reasons.  It was one of just two Republican Congresses of the post-FDR, pre-1994 period.  It's also the first Congress that I have Presidential results for, thanks to demographicarmageddon telling me about Congressional District Data Book for the 87th Congress, and to David Nir for sending me a copy.  I had to copy them manually, so I can't promise there aren't any typos on my part, although I did double-check.

Let's look at the basics of what knowing how the Democratic Presidential candidate did in each Congressional district can tell us about both today and then.

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I've long been bullish on Democratic chances in Arizona, but the 2012 election saw Obama do surprisingly badly there, although Senate candidate Richard Carmona did surprisingly well (in part thanks to one of a number of strong Libertarian candidates in the state).  Obama's 45.4% of the two-party vote was barely an improvement over John Kerry.  I've computed 2012 Presidential results by legislative district, and the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission has results from 2004 and 2008.  Somewhat counter-intuitively, I think demographics and trends could actually be playing against Democrats right now, but let's see what you think.

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Daily Kos Elections does a lot of good by compiling information about the politics of different places all over the country.  But there's a real danger if we focus too much on all of those differences.  The danger is that the considerable lack of difference between different places gets lost in all of that information.  While there are definite regional trends and variable effects, most (really, nearly all) of the results of the 2012 election are explained by a very simple equation once you account for the 2008 election.  Just look at most of the Huffington Post's election results pages and you'll see what I mean, but if you like, we can take a closer look.

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We keep track of so many different elections here at DKE that sometimes it's important to step back and try to look at national trends.  Take the 2012 House Elections.  How "predictable" were they?  How much did they fall into a pattern?  Where were the real upsets?  How important was incumbency?  

We'll never be able to definitively answer those questions, but we can use the information we have now--Obama's 2008 performance in each district and the preliminary vote counts--to take a look.  Who were the best and worse candidates each party fielded relative to the national pattern?  Which candidates did better than expected?  And how badly did Michele Bachmann do this time?  Let's find out more.

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For a while now, I've been saying Republicans have a shot at losing control of the Arizona legislature under the newly-redistricted map.  And I still think so, but if I'm right, the swingiest open seat in the state--AZ-LD-06, based in Flagstaff and Sedona but extending far into rural Arizona--is going to be pretty tough to crack for Arizona Democrats.  Let's find out more about this interesting and polarized district, where a former Republican Senator has endorsed all three Democrats running.

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I was very grateful for all the attention I got for my last diary on Clinton's areas of strength and weakness relative to Dukakis in 1992 and 1996.  Still, despite all the work I put into that diary, there were some things I didn't really understand about 1992 and its relation to 1996, and some other things I hadn't looked into yet.  I still think I got the basic idea right, but hopefully this diary can correct some of my fuzziness and omissions.  I also have a national CD map for 1992 courtesy of U.S. Elections Atlas user Fuzzybigfoot.

We're often told that Perot took evenly from Clinton and Bush in 1992.  As we'll see, there's good reason to think that's largely true.

But there's also good reason to think that varied significantly by region, with Perot probably taking more from Bush in the South, more from Clinton in the farmland/Midwest, and about evenly everywhere else.   Does that change my story?  Not really--Clinton still improved the most in urban and suburban areas.  Let's find out more.

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