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This is the second part of three posts analyzing the congressional districts President Barack Obama underperformed in. It will focus on his relative weakness in the northeast. The third part can be found here.

The Northeast

In my previous post I created a map of congressional districts in which Mr. Obama performed worse than Senator John Kerry:

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In this map the most obvious pattern is a roughly diagonal corridor of Republican-shifting congressional districts, stretching from Oklahoma and Louisiana through the Appalachians. This area has long been seen as a place in which the electorate is moving away from the Democratic Party.

The post then looked at the Northeast, another region in which Mr. Kerry did better than Mr. Obama.

More below.

Unlike Applachia and the Mississippi Delta, the conventional wisdom characterizes the Northeast as a stable Democratic stronghold. Yet, as the map below indicates, six northeastern congressional districts shifted Republican in 2008:

Analyzing Obama�s Weak Spots � Part 1

Much of the movement in Massachusetts, of course, occurs due to the loss of Mr. Kerry’s home-state advantage. Yet the districts in Massachusetts (MA-4, MA-6, MA-7, MA-9, and MA-10) share a number of commonalities. All are quite suburban, quite wealthy, and quite white. Unlike the Appalachian districts above, these places vote substantially Democratic. Neither Mr. McCain nor former President George W. Bush came within single-digits in any of these districts (I suspect 1988 was the last time a Republican presidential candidate did so). Yet this is also Scott Brown territory; the Republican candidate won four of these  districts.

Notice, too, the highlighted New York district (NY-9). Like those in Massachusetts, this district is inhabited mainly by middle-class, Democratic-voting whites. The effect of 9/11, which convinced many New Yorkers to vote Republican, was particularly strong in places like these (in fact, it was probably greater here than anywhere else in the nation). Orthodox  Jews, an increasingly Republican demographic heavily represented in this district, have shifted strongly Republican since then.

Indeed, Long Island as a whole was relatively lukewarm towards Obama. Apart from the fighting ninth, Republicans did respectably in NY-3 and NY-5, holding Obama's improvement to less than 1% in both districts. Like NY-9, these places are wealthy and suburban.

One wonders whether this change is merely a temporary blip or the start of something more worrisome for Democrats.  The case of Florida is probably not reassuring:

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This is Florida's Gold Coast - a Democratic stronghold - and three districts here (FL-19, FL-20, FL-22) voted more Republican than in 2004. Mr. McCain's age probably helped him along here; the large population of retirees may have empathized with one of their own.

Ironically, a large number of these retirees probably came from NY-9 or eastern Massachusetts. Like both areas, these districts vote Democratic but have been slowly moving Republican. FL-22 is the exception, having been not very Democratic to begin with. In FL-19 and FL-20, on the other hand, Democratic candidate Al Gore did substantially better than both Obama and Kerry. This was a function of the substantial Jewish population in these districts; Jews strongly supported Joe Lieberman, his Jewish nominee for Vice President.

Fortunately for Democrats, almost none of the Florida or northeast districts represent a 2010 pick-up opportunity for Republicans. Except for FL-22, all have voted Democratic by double-digits for at least three consecutive presidential elections. A few weeks ago a special election in FL-19 resulted in a 27% Democratic margin victory. It is the long-term that is worth concern for Democrats.

In the short term, Democrats must worry about Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta. There Democrats are in deep, deep trouble for 2010. There are a surprising amount of Democratic representatives in these Appalachian seats where Mr. McCain did better than Mr. Bush. Their predicament will be the subject of the next post.

Originally posted to Inoljt on Mon May 10, 2010 at 12:04 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  FOCUS..Is this diary 'bout the Norteast or NOT !? (0+ / 0-)

      The information is extrordinarily useful and...timely.

      This is Florida's Gold Coast - a Democratic stronghold - and three districts here (FL-19, FL-20, FL-22) voted more Republican than in 2004. Mr. McCain's age probably helped him along here; the large population of retirees may have empathized with one of their own.

      And, but too also such as the whatever...

      What if yo broke the information down into smaller parts i.e.

      20 Parts or...

      Some say the glass is half full, some say the glass is half empty. I am just asking "...are you gonna drink that...!?!?"

      by 2questions on Mon May 10, 2010 at 12:41:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  HOT List Worthy, but... (0+ / 0-)

      I need smaller parts for better use.

      How 'bout a diary on d' O ness weakness(s) and strenghts....every Monday afternoon thru September...!?!?

      And, but too also such the whatever because...

      I am lookin' to help progresive canidates and O '44 get relected.

      Some say the glass is half full, some say the glass is half empty. I am just asking "...are you gonna drink that...!?!?"

      by 2questions on Mon May 10, 2010 at 12:49:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Occam (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaleA, DocGonzo, lgmcp, TomP, LousyDeemo

    will take the analysis of the NE changes -- one would hope that John Kerry WOULD out-perform the norm in his homestate (just as I would expect McCain to outperform Bush in his home state).

    Not saying there aren't other issues at play that warrant analysis -- but I think you'd be best off tossing 'home state' results in vote swing comparisons.

    I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

    by zonk on Mon May 10, 2010 at 12:25:06 PM PDT

  •  Kerry Was from Massachusetts (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bbagley1, Jersey Jon, LousyDeemo, tornadic

    I don't know how you could analyze why Kerry did better than Obama in Massachusetts without mentioning that Kerry was Massachusett's senator. Such a glaring omission makes your assertions like

    The effect of 9/11, which convinced many New Yorkers to vote Republican, was particularly strong in places like these (in fact, it was probably greater here than anywhere else in the nation). Orthodox  Jews, an increasingly Republican demographic heavily represented in this district, have shifted strongly Republican since then.

    even less credible than their total lack of factual evidence or citations leave them. FYI, New Yorkers voted out their last House Republican in the Bush years after 9/11/2001. Probably more than anywhere else in the country, NYC knows that Republicans don't defend NYC, and were the ones responsible for protecting it in 2001, but epically failed.

    Indeed, this entire diary seems more like a ramble on "what some districts mean to me" than anything like a rigorous analysis.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon May 10, 2010 at 12:29:53 PM PDT

  •  Tipped for effort (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DocGonzo

    but I can't rec the diary. As others have stated, failing to mention that Kerry represents MA in the Senate calls into question the thoroughness of your analysis. And many of your claims should be backed up with corroborating information to avoid trying to pin causes to effects.

    Once again though, I do applaud the effort and I think with some more thorough research you can overcome the criticisms enumerated here.

    This article is about the twelfth President of the United States. For the Power Rangers character, see Zack Taylor.

    by LousyDeemo on Mon May 10, 2010 at 12:42:36 PM PDT

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