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Please begin with an informative title:

Gallup tallied up its responses, took a look at political self-identification, and painted the map. A "solid" lead is one of 10 points or higher. A "leaning" lead is between 5-10 points. Anything tighter is "competitive".

Gallup state map

Only four states are solidly red: The Land of Palin, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. Mississippi leaned Red.

On the other hand, there are 23 solidly Democratic states, and another 10 are leaning Democratic. (Plus DC.)

Of the 12 states that are competitive, six lean slightly GOP, the other six lean slightly Dem.

Solid Dem  Lean Dem  Edge Dem  Edge GOP  Lean GOP  Solid GOP
    AR        CO        AZ        KS        MS        AK
    CA        FL        GA        MI                  ID
    CT        IN        LA        MS                  UT
    DE        KY        OK        MT                  WY
    HI        MO        SC        NE
    IL        NV        SD        ND
    IA        NH
    ME        NC
    MD        TN
    MA        VA

Of course, this does't translate directly to electoral politics, with huge swaths of the country preferring the Democrats in theory, but pulling the levels for Republicans. That is as much a failure of Democrats to ensure their core constituencies turn out to the polls (younger and browner voters), and also a testament of the GOP to win votes based on divisive social issues, rather than substantive economic ones.

But this flies directly in the face of the notion that this is a "center-right" country. It's not.

Now, none of this means that 2009 was a great year for the Democratic Party. Vis a vis 2008, Democrats lost ground in all but seven states. They were +4 in Nebraska (their biggest gain), +2 in Arizona, +2 in South Dakota, +2 in Utah, and +1 in Kansas, California, and Maryland. They held steady in South Carolina, Idaho, West Virginia, and Tennessee. Beyond that, they lost ground. Other than DC (minus 9, to a still dominant +66), the biggest loss was Ohio, where Democrats lost eight points to a +10 advantage. We all know Ohio isn't the kind of place you want to be losing political ground.

Then again, in a year that was supposed to signify the collapse of the Democratic Party, the losses were marginal in most places. Fact is, Democrats are facing electoral disaster this year simply because of a demoralized base uninterested in turning out to vote. The nation's natural inclination is in support of Democratic policies. If Democrats actually implemented one or two of them while in position of dominant power, we might actually start bringing many of those wayward voters home and into the polls.


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Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 01:16 PM PST.


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