This is the fourth and final part of my series looking at the political geography of elections at the state level. In it, I present maps and data for the average of statewide races from 2004 to present by county for each state and by precinct where data is available. This is to give you a better visual idea of which parts of a state are more or less friendly to each party. Additionally, I compare Obama's 2008 performance to the average to see which areas he performs better or worse than would be expected by a local Democrat. You can find part 1 on the Northeast, part 2 on the Southeast, and part 3 on the Midwest here.
Partisan Average includes 2004, 2006, and 2010 senate and 2006 and 2010 governor, secretary of state, treasurer, and attorney general.
First off is Arizona where I unfortunately could not get the precinct data to load in DRA. On the county level, Democrats do well in the Native American heavy northeast and nearby Pinto Democrat counties. Additionally, Dems perform well in the Hispanic heavy southern border counties, while keeping it close in fast growing and blue-trending Maricopa and Pinal counties.
As you probably could have guessed, Obama underperforms in the traditionally more Democratic and rural "Pinto" counties such as Greenlee while overperforming in Dem trending ones such as Maricopa.
Partisan Average includes 2004, 2008, and 2010 senate and 2006 and 2010 governor, lt. governor, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general, controller, and insurance commissioner.
California as well wouldn't load the precinct level data, so no comparison between Obama and Jerry Brown. On average though, the Democratic path to victory runs through large margins in the Bay Area and coastal Northern California, as well as winning massive L.A. County. Republicans dominate the inland counties, particularly in Northern California, as well as historically Republican Orange County and they also do well in the Inland Empire. Keep in mind that since the state is quite blue, several of those light pink counties such as Santa Barbara are still relatively Dem-friendly.
In regards to Obama's performance, on an absolute level he overperformed in most of the state and should continue to do so in this years election. Unsurprisingly he does best in historically Republican but Dem-trending areas such as Orange and San Diego counties, but also all along the central coast and even in the Bay area. On the other hand, Obama underperformed fairly significantly in some of the more rural inland counties, particularly in Northern California.
Partisan Average includes 2004, 2008, and 2010 senate and 2006 and 2010 governor, secretary of state, treasurer, and attorney general.
For some reason the western states had more problems loading the precinct comparison, so we don't get to see the 2010 average by precinct. At the county level, Democrats win the state by performing well in the "C" that runs from the Denver area to Pueblo and takes in liberal ski towns in the Rockies. Republicans do well in the highly rural counties along the Kansas and Utah borders, as well as in Colorado springs and suburban/exurban Douglas County.
Obama overperformed the typical Dem in the Denver metro area which has become quite Dem leaning over the past few cycles, as well as in heavily Republican Colorado springs. He underperformed quite significantly in eastern, southern, and western Colorado which explains to me how we were able to win a 48% Obama CO-04 in 2008, and why I think Sal Pace has a slightly better chance of winning the 3rd district this year than Joe Miklosi does in the 6th, despite Obama losing the 3rd.
Partisan Average includes 2004, 2006, and 2010 senate and 2006 and 2010 governor.
There wasn't really much point in including Hawaii since it only has 4 counties with data, but here it is. Dems dominate pretty much everywhere in the state, but do better outside of Honolulu. Likewise, native son Obama massively overperformed what a federal candidate "should" get, but did so to varying degrees compared to what a typical blowout looks like.
Partisan Average includes 2008 and 2010 senate, 2006 and 2010 governor, lt. governor, and controller, 2006 treasurer and attorney general, and 2010 secretary of state.
Democratic strength, if you want to call it that, is based around the historically Democratic northern panhandle. Dems also do well in the more urban areas such as Boise, while Republicans absolutely dominate in the heavily Mormon areas of southern and eastern Idaho. Obama performed relatively well in the growing and Dem trending southwest while underperforming modestly in the traditionally Dem panhandle. Finally, Obama underperformed in the east of the state.
Partisan Average includes 2006 senate, 2004 and 2008 governor, secretary of state, and auditor, and 2008 attorney general.
Democrats do quite well at the state level given how strongly Republican it is at the federal level. Their path to victory runs through winning the state's cities and Native American reservations while holding the margins down in the rural counties in the west of the state. Obama's 2008 performance was very respectable showing for the presidential ticket, though it does display some clear regional variation. He does best in the cities and west of the state while underperforming more in the east.
Partisan Average includes 2004, 2006, and 2010 senate and 2006 and 2010 governor, lt. governor, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general, and controller.
The precinct numbers are from the 2008 and 2010 average, which also includes house races.
Clark County holds a massive majority of Nevada's population and unsurprisingly is the only county Dems need to win to win the state. In addition, Democrats do decently in Reno and Mineral County. Republicans run up huge margins in the sparsely populated counties in the rest of the state. In terms of Obama's 2008 performance, he does better than average in the blue trending Reno area and Las Vegas suburbs, while seeing a typical underperformance in the rural counties and surprisingly in parts of Las Vegas as well.
Partisan Average includes 2006 and 2008 senate and 2006 and 2010 governor, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general, and auditor.
Nevada Democrats perform quite well in the heavily Native American and Hispanic north of the state, while the Albuquerque area is the key swing area. Republicans do very well in the much whiter southeast which shares more in common with Texas than the north of the state. Obama overperforms in the heavily Hispanic counties as well as the Albuquerque metro area, which is unsurprising given how well he typically performs in suburban areas relative to average. Conversely and unsurprisingly, Obama underperforms by a large margin in the rural and whiter east and southeast.
Partisan Average includes 2004, 2008, and 2010 senate, 2006 and 2010 governor, 2004 and 2008 secretary of state and treasurer, 2004 attorney general, and 2010 treasurer.
Oregon Democrats typically do well in the Portland metro area and Eugene and the central coast. The state's swing area is the Portland suburbs/exurbs and the northwest corner of the state. Republicans do very well in the low density counties east of the Cascades, the Salem area, and the southern coast. As would be expected, Obama overperforms in the more urban and suburban counties and underperforms significantly in the rural Republican counties in the east. I really wish the state had precinct level data to work with, but unfortunately it doesn't.
Partisan Average includes 2004, 2006, and 2010 senate, 2004 and 2008 governor, treasurer, attorney general, and auditor, and 2010 governor.
Utah is one of the most Republican states in the country and even the more Dem counties are still quite Republican. Dems do best in the Salt Lake City area as well as ski resort counties in the east of the state. Republicans do better in areas like Provo in fast growing Utah County. Obama overperforms in the blue trending Salt Lake City metro area, as well as the southeastern corner while he underperforms in the rural south-central and eastern parts of the state.
Partisan Average includes 2004, 2006, and 2010 senate and 2004 and 2008 governor, lt. governor, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general, auditor, comptroller, and insurance commissioner.
The precinct level data covers the 2010 Murray-Rossi senate race.
Washington Democrats perform well in the Seattle metro area and the Olympic peninsula, while in general the rest of the counties west of the Cascades aside from Lewis County is a swing area. Republicans as you could have guessed from neighboring Oregon do quite well in the rural and agriculture-based counties east of the Cascades.
Obama relatively overperforms in the King County metro thanks to his appeal to suburban swing voters, while he underperforms in the Olympic peninsula, the Vancouver area, and east of the Cascades.
Partisan Average includes 2006, 2008, and 2008 special senate, 2006 governor, secretary of state, and auditor, and 2010 governor and secretary of state.
The last state is Wyoming (since Alaska has a rather quirky county system) which just happens to be McCain's best state. Democrats hold down the margins more in the southern and central counties while Republicans run best in the northeast. Obama on the other hand overperforms in the northwest and southeast while he underperforms in the southwest and northeast.
I hope you found these maps to be useful visualizations of the elections in each of these states. As the purpose of this series is mostly to provide data and graphics, I welcome discussion as to why certain regions in states favor Democrats or Republicans and particularly why Obama's electoral performance diverges from local Democrats.