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Here's a short diversion from analyzing the redistricting of Idaho's legislative districts (the shifts for the most part were boring and didn't change much anyways)

In the year 2011, Idaho's one Democratic stronghold is the city of Boise. Discounting its suburbs, it is a legitimately liberal city, one that voted for Obama by a significant margin (10 points, 55 Obama to 45 McCain) and one that in any average statewide race will vote for the Democratic candidate barring an underperformance. However all of this is a recent phenomena. In the past, Boise was actually known as Idaho's Republican stronghold. In 1964 while the presently Republican strongholds of Idaho, Clearwater and Lewis County were voting for Johnson, Ada County voted for Goldwater with 56% of the vote. In the relatively good year for Democrats of 1976, it voted for Ford with 64% of the vote. Up until the 90s, Boise remained a largely Republican city and it took until the mid 90s for things to start to shift in a big way. Here are some rough statistics showing Boise's sea change from a heavily Republican and somewhat sleepy capital city to a city that is becoming known for progressivism and huge outgrowth.

First off we'll use county results as a whole:

Ada County (1988)
Bush 62.9%
Dukakis 35.0%
R +1 statewide PVI

Ada County (1992)
Bush 44.5%
Clinton 29.0%
Perot 25.6%
R +2 statewide PVI

Ada County (1996)
Dole 52.5%
Clinton 36.6%
Perot 9.5%
D +3 statewide PVI

Ada County (2000)
Bush 60.8%
Gore 32.9%
Nader 3.9%
D +6 statewide PVI

Ada County (2004)
Bush 61.0%
Kerry 37.8%
D +7 statewide PVI

Ada County (2008)
McCain 51.6%
Obama 45.5%
D +10 statewide PVI

As you can see the shifts have been dramatic. Before I go into my detailed explanation of how exactly they've occurred in what neighborhoods and the like I'll show you how Boise has voted for legislative elections since 1992.

1992
Ada County Senators
6 R
1 D

Ada County Representatives
12 R
2 D

1994
Ada County Senators
6 R
1 D

Ada County Representatives
13 R
1 D

1996
Ada County Senators
6 R
1 D

Ada County Representatives
11 R
3 D

1998
Ada County Senators
6 R
1 D

Ada County Representatives
11 R
3 D

2000
Ada County Senators
6 R
1 D

Ada County Representatives
11 R
3 D

2002
Ada County Senators
6 R
2 D

Ada County Representatives
12 R
4 D

2004
Ada County Senators
5 R
3 D

Ada County Representatives
13 R
3 D

2006
Ada County Senators
4 R
4 D

Ada County Representatives
8 R
8 D

2008
Ada County Senators
4 R
4 D

Ada County Representatives
8 R
8 D

2010
Ada County Senators
5 R
3 D

Ada County Representatives
9 R
7 D

As you can see the Democratic shift has been especially pronounced this decade and will probably continue, seeing as the two seats Democrats lost in the ultimate electoral Armageddon of 2010 were lost by less than 10 votes and will probably be easily won back. 2010 wasn't that bad of an election for Democrats in Boise, in fact our candidate for state Superintendent won Ada County convincingly. Here are the dramatic shifts in Idaho's Democratic districts over the naughts.  

District 16 (old district)
2000 Presidential
Bush 54.7%
Gore 38.1%
Nader 4.5%

2004 Presidential
Bush 55.2%
Kerry 43.5%

2008 Presidential
Obama 53.0%
McCain 44.5%

District 17 (old district)
2000 Presidential
Bush 56.4%
Gore 36.7%
Nader 3.9%

2004 Presidential
Bush 50.1%
Kerry 46.7%

2008 Presidential
Obama 56.6%
McCain 40.1%

District 18 (old district)
2000 Presidential
Bush 54.8%
Gore 38.1%
Nader 4.7%

2004 Presidential
Bush 54.7%
Kerry 46.5%

2008 Presidential
Obama 52.7%
McCain 45.1%

District 19 (old district)
2000 Presidential
Gore 45.8%
Bush 40.4%
Nader 11.1%

2004 Presidential
Kerry 60.5%
Bush 37.8%

2008 Presidential
Obama 67.9%
McCain 29.9%

I would go into detail as to why Boise has shifted so dramatically but to be honest I don't fully understand why. It does fit the characteristics of a city that should be demographically in line with Democrats and the brand of Republican politics practiced in Boise was far more moderate than the current brand of Idaho Republicans. Not to mention the northend of Boise has become a hotspot for yuppies and alt-types that you'd normally find in Boulder, SLC, Seattle, Denver and the like. I'm not going to lie and say that I know much about Boise though, it's foreign territory to me. I've only been there four times. I do know that it should become a Democratic stronghold over the next decade. As the political culture of Boise continues to rapidly shift, it should become far removed from the rest of the state.

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Comment Preferences

  •  nice to know (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Allen, TofG, lordpet8

    i just interviewed yesterday for a job in boise...it would be difficult to live in a red city, but living in a blue city in a red state is OK, as i proved by living comfortably in austin and tucson

    Kick a "job creator" in the balls today!

    by memofromturner on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 04:56:00 AM PDT

  •  Not just the North End, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG

    the Vista Bench area has also become a D stronghold over the years. It's become much more conducive to left-leaning politics in Boise.

    Thankfully, the Republicans here lean more towards the Libertarian style conservatives who want to be left alone for business, rather than the Bible-bashing Jesus-preaching, Pie in the Sky when you Die types. Those are much more difficult to deal with, IMO.  

  •  I wish it weren't the only bright spot (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG

    but Moscow isn't getting any more liberal...idk about Lewiston. Blaine Co. continues to be liberal except in its southern arm.  Shoshone Co. is losing its populist politics.  Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls continue to grow and become more conservative exurbs of Spokane. But the four electoral votes don't matter, and when a third district is added in 2020, it will probably be a moderate Caldwell-Boise-Twin Falls district.

    -8.88, -4.21 Why does the most beautiful place in the world (Idaho Panhandle) have to get dumped with thousands of Cali GOP doofuses?

    by Whitty on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 09:22:51 AM PDT

    •  There's Teton and Valley Counties (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TofG

      Fortunately Boise is the only part of the state that is having significant growth outside of CDA. Any growth in the southeastern part of the state is due to Mormons having more kids.

      Lewiston is gone. CDA will probably continue to have a liberal city core.

  •  At what point does the state (0+ / 0-)

    become worthy of investment in a more serious way from Democrats, whether it's for local, state or federal elections? My guess is that they'd have to build up at the state and local level before trying to get anywhere at the statewide or national level, but what do I know?

    To take the presidential numbers as just a starting point, the difference between McCain and Obama was about 166,000 votes. How might this be overcome? Well, let's look at the five biggest counties and do a little adjustment of the numbers, all rounded:

    1. Ada County, with 175,000 voters in 2008: 82,000 for Obama, 93,000 for McCain.

    Let's say that we could turn get turnout up to 200,000 voters and have Obama win with 60 percent. That would give Obama 120,000 votes and 80,000 for McCain.

    2. Canyon County, with 63,000 voters in 2008: 20,000 for Obama, 43,000 for McCain.

    Let's change that to 29,000 for Obama and 34,000 for McCain, or about 46 to 54 percent.

    3. Kootenai County, with 60,000 voters in 2008: 22,000 for Obama and 38,000 for McCain.

    Let's change that to 27,000 for Obama and 33,000 for McCain.

    4. Bonneville County, with 40,000 voters in 2008: 11,000 for Obama and 29,000 for McCain.

    Let's change that to 18,000 for Obama and 22,000 for McCain.

    5. Bannock County, with 34,000 voters in 2008: 15,000 for Obama and 19,000 for McCain.

    Let's change that to 20,000 for Obama and 14,000 for McCain.

    Overall, that would be 214,000 for Obama and 183,000 for McCain.

    In 2008, Obama received about 236,000 votes to McCain's 403,000 votes. The counties mentioned above gave about 150,000 votes to Obama and about 222,000 for McCain. The difference is about 86,000 votes for Obama and about 181,000 for McCain for a total of 267,000 votes. That means that Obama received about 40.32 percent in the five biggest counties and about 32.2 percent the rest of the state.

    If we add the 214,000 votes from the situation I described above to the 86,000 Obama got in the rest of the state, he'd be at 300,000 votes. If you do the same for McCain, he'd get 405,000. In total, that's about 705,000. This means that if Obama were to do have done very well in the five counties I mentioned above but the same in every other county, Obama would get 42.55 percent of the vote.

    What if he did better in the other counties? Well, let's remember the total amount of votes he received in the counties outside of the five biggest was 86,000 out of 267,000, or about 32.2 percent. If he managed to get 35 percent in the rest of the state, or 93,500 votes, combined with his totals in the five biggest counties, he'd be at 307,500 votes, or 43.6 percent. Getting 37 percent in the rest of the state would give him 99,000 votes and 44.4 statewide. Getting 40 percent would give him 107,000 votes and 45.53 percent statewide. Getting to 43 percent in those counties would give him about 115,000 votes and 46.67 percent statewide. Getting to 45 percent would get him about 120,000 votes and 47.37 percent statewide. Getting to 50 percent would give him about 133,500 votes and to about 49.29 percent statewide.

    As you can see by now, it's a tough process. The distribution of percentages is key. Since some are naturally bigger than others, he'd have to do well in those to have a chance, as would any other Democrat. Of course, I haven't done a detailed analysis of what would have to be done. If I had to guess, though, I'd say that he could get around 41 to 42 percent in the smaller counties and still win with sufficient turnout and performance in the big ones. But can Obama, or any Democrat in future races, do that well?

    By the way, I've left out third-party candidates just to make things easier.  

    •  I give 'em 20-25 years. NT (0+ / 0-)

      19, male, WI-03 (home, voting), WI-02 (college), All the crap Scooter is doing, I should move, but that would be one less vote against him., -7.88, -4.26, End the FitzWalkerstanian police state by recalling Scott Walker!!!!

      by WisJohn on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 07:48:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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