As the run-off primary between incumbent Senator Thad Cochran and State Senator Chris McDaniel nears, I thought it would be interesting to see some more details from the results a few weeks ago and compare it to the 2012 primaries.
On the right is a cartogram, where the area of each county is proportional to the number of voters in the 2014 Republican Primary. The highly populated area surrounding Jackson shows up as three bulging counties in the center of the map - Hinds, Rankin, and Madison. On this map, it's clear that Cochran's support in Hinds and Madison counties is more important than all of the Delta combined.
Below the fold, two more pieces of the puzzle - turnout and 2012 primary results.
Turnout was high overall this year, but it was not consistently high throughout the state. McDaniel benefited from some intense enthusiasm in his region of high support around his State Senate district, and Cochran likewise had high turnout in the Delta. There was also consistently high turnout between the two, in the southwest part of the state and around Jackson.
But as you move to the north and east in the state, turnout was lower than 2012.
So what happened in 2012? What are we comparing to, here? Here's the results maps for the main contenders in the 2012 Presidential Primary:
Conjecture, bloviating, and hypotheisizing
On average, it looks like McDaniel inspired stronger turnout in his strongest area compared to Cochran's strongest performing region, the Delta. Assuming this means there's an enthusiasm gap, this gap would probably benefit McDaniel in a runoff, if turnout is lower as it often is in a runoff. (Not to mention McDaniel supporters will have gotten a boost from election night.)
McDaniel also has room for growth in low-turnout Santorum territory. Santorum endorsed McDaniel on just the Thursday before the primary, and campaigned with him a few days later in Diamondhead, on the Gulf Coast. If McDaniel has been using this endorsement in his recent campaigning, it has potential to boost him.
Cochran, on the other hand, doesn't have any clear geography-based advantages jumping out at me.
What do you see in the maps?