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This is part 3 of my installment on the changes between 2004 and 2012 in various states.  In Part 1, I examined Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado, while in Part 2 I looked at Georgia and Florida.  

Now here is Part 3.  It's a bit different.  There are more states, but none of them are probably quite as exciting as new swing states Colorado, North Carolina, and Virginia, classic swing state Florida, or potential swing state Georgia.

I'll begin with two "twin states," Kansas and Nebraska.  Really, the only difference is that Kansas has a few more people and Nebraska has a more competitive congressional district.  But other than that, they're as similar as two states can be, both physically and politically.

As you can see, Obama outperformed Kerry in Kansas, as he did in 42 states.  The real area of decline for Democrats was the northwestern quarter of the state, including the town of Hays.  This area is somewhat ancestrally Democratic, at least as far as Kansas goes; Bill Clinton won the county containing Hays, although in some counties in the area he came in third behind Ross Perot.  However, it's important to keep in mind how sparsely populated rural Kansas is.  Leavenworth County, in exurban Kansas City, is another problematic county for Democrats, probably due to population growth.  There are some other sparsely populated counties that got redder as well.

For Democrats, as everywhere, the cities and suburbs have solidified.  Sedgwick County (Wichita) and Johnson County (KC Suburbs) are the big growth engines, responsible for 23,000 of the 53,000 net vote gain in the state.  All the rural counties combined were responsible for only 16,000, with a fair amount of that centered in the towns of Liberal, Garden City, Dodge City (all in the west and diversifying) as well as Manhattan and Emporia.  Shawnee County (Topeka), Douglas County (Lawrence), and Wyandotte County (Kansas City) have all seen some growth as well.  Kansas is actually very representative of the country in this way.  Cities are good for Democrats, suburbs are good to fair, and exurbs are bad in terms of improvement, while rural areas can be all over the place.

In neighboring Nebraska, it's a similar but bluer story.  

Only 5 counties got redder, and 2 of them are massive in geography but not so much in population.  One county stayed exactly the same, while the rest got bluer.  Democratic growth was mainly in Omaha-Bellevue, as well as Lincoln.  Moderate gains were seen in Kearney, Hastings, Grand Island, Norfolk, and pretty much anywhere with over 10,000 people.  


Minnesota has lots of red for a blue state due to its ancestral Democratic heritage in many rural parts of the state.  Only 18% of the growth came in the rural areas, which make up 31% of the state's vote.  

The Democratic gains, as always, are concentrated in the cities and inner suburbs.  61% of the increase comes from Hennepin and Ramsey Counties alone.  If Dakota, Anoka, and Washington (the suburbs) are included, that increases to 79%.  Southern and Northwestern Minnesota both showed Democratic improvement, particularly in Mankato, Rochester, Moorhead, Crookston, and Bemidji.  For Republicans, good news can be seen in the outer suburbs; Democrats barely gained in Scott and Carver counties and lost ground in Wright and Sherburne.  Furthermore, like union Democrat areas nationally, the Iron Range is getting worse for Democrats, although it's still quite blue.  Finally, Central Minnesota, including St Cloud and Morrison County, look better for Team Red.  

Indiana was surprise win for Obama in 2008, but it stayed far better than 2004 numbers last cycle.  

Personally, I'm surprised how well Obama held up in Southern Indiana compared to other Border South areas.  Southwestern Indiana, where this is coal, is his lone weak spot, along with two random counties in the north and some of exurban Cincinnati.  Nearly every population center improved substantially.  Marion County had huge gains (31% of the state's gains), and the corridor from Gary to Elkhart improved as well.  Fort Wayne, Kokomo, Evansville, Bloomington, Muncie, Anderson, and Lafayette all did well.  Obama underperformed in Terre Haute but still overperformed Kerry.  One area missing: the suburbs of Indianapolis.  They barely register here, making up 13% of the state's population but only 5% of Obama's improvement.  Democrats' goal should be to make more inroads here, as they saw better numbers in most other midwestern suburban areas.  As you can see, many rural counties also saw good numbers for Democrats; they are the second lightest shade of blue rather than the lightest as is the case in Minnesota.

Finally, we get to Missouri, where the bottom fell out for Obama in 2012.

There are merely 11 counties in the state where Obama outperformed Kerry, and in fact this is one of the 8 states where he underperformed him in total.  3 of the 11 have large Black populations: St Louis City, St Louis County, and Jackson County (Kansas City).  Five more have population centers: the towns of Springfield, Joplin, Columbia, Jefferson City, and Sedalia all had good numbers.  However, minus the other 3 random counties, there were bad numbers everywhere.  The St Louis suburbs and exurbs are brutally red, as are the Kansas City exurbs, a big contrast from the numbers across the border in Kansas.  This is apparently what happens when you go from competing in a state (2004) to not competing in it (2012).

And that concludes Part 3.

Poll

Which state would you like to see next?

22%22 votes
4%4 votes
19%19 votes
12%12 votes
11%11 votes
29%28 votes

| 96 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    21, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
    politicohen.com
    Idiosyncratic, pro-establishment. Liberal, not progressive. For the poor, the children, the planet, and the rule of law.
    UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city.

    by jncca on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 02:07:24 PM PST

  •  No Iowa? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nimh, davybaby, demreplib33

    It would seem a natural fit with the states you included.

    (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

    by ProudNewEnglander on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:22:41 PM PST

  •  What does 2014 look like when voter information (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    davybaby, demreplib33

    gets closer to the basic facts:

    -- Obama has lost all of 10 Americans to terrorism. That's for 5+ years and compares to Reagan=675, Clinton=444, and Bush43=3,206.

    -- Ecstasy and rohypnol are now out there in rural areas where drug-rape has become a big deal. The immediate impact is a change to attitudes toward abortion -- now a defensive necessity.

    -- Republican corruption isn't just Chris Christie. He does make it easy to say that "___ is our Chris Christie!"

    -- Obamacare works, more or less. By election day that will be clear to everyone to the sane side of Limbaugh.

    Against all this, the GOPers get to whine about Crimea and how George Bush did the same damn thing (nothing) when Putin invaded Georgia.

    Yes, history matters. But the up side looks to be all Democrat. And can you imagine the GOPers getting up dozens of attractive women candidates ??? That's the norm for Democrats.

  •  What's going on with Fort Wayne, IN? (0+ / 0-)

    it's noticeably shifted blue

    “The universe is big. It’s vast and complicated and ridiculous. And sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles.” -The Doctor

    by KingofSpades on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:46:47 PM PST

    •  It's the second biggest city in Indiana (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alibguy, demreplib33

      I don't think it's shifted more than one would expect, considering its size.

      21, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
      politicohen.com
      Idiosyncratic, pro-establishment. Liberal, not progressive. For the poor, the children, the planet, and the rule of law.
      UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city.

      by jncca on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 05:49:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Also, did Kerry contest Missouri? (0+ / 0-)

    the closing sentence implies he did.

    BTW, it seems Adair County, MO has been static since at least Gore.  That's good.  Kirksville is my paternal family's ancestral home and is actually rather blue (per DRA).

    “The universe is big. It’s vast and complicated and ridiculous. And sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles.” -The Doctor

    by KingofSpades on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:55:47 PM PST

    •  I'm assuming Kerry did (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KingofSpades, demreplib33

      I didn't follow the campaign heavily, but he lost it by 7, making it R+2.  Not contesting an R+2 state would be malpractice.

      21, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
      politicohen.com
      Idiosyncratic, pro-establishment. Liberal, not progressive. For the poor, the children, the planet, and the rule of law.
      UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city.

      by jncca on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 05:50:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Kerry Campaigned In MO Early On..... (0+ / 0-)

        ....but more or less pulled out around Labor Day, his internal polling most likely showing it was a lost cause given the limitations of his campaign funds and which states it could legitimately contest .  Interestingly, some polling (and the Kerry campaign's actions) suggested Arkansas was closer than Missouri in the campaign's final weeks.

    •  If Kerry had picked Gephardt for VP (0+ / 0-)

      He could have  won Missouri.

      •  Possibly (0+ / 0-)

        But VPs are at most worth 2%, and since Gephardt only represented 1/9 of the state, I kind of doubt it.

        21, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
        politicohen.com
        Idiosyncratic, pro-establishment. Liberal, not progressive. For the poor, the children, the planet, and the rule of law.
        UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city.

        by jncca on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 10:59:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm Not Convinced Of That.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jncca, demreplib33

        Gephardt was only relevant to a small corner of Missouri in the St. Louis area.  Hard for me to imagine too many Bush voters in Kansas City, Springfield, or Hannibal deciding to vote for Kerry just because he had a running mate from St. Louis.  That gambit certainly didn't work with Paul Ryan in Wisconsin.

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