27 November 2011

Rank 13 / 39: Washington State

Washington State




Results of the last 6 presidential cycles:

Year
Rank
Winning %
% Margin
Part. Value
Swing“
National Swing
Trend
2008
13 / 39
57.34%
+17.08%
+9.82%
+9.90%
+9.72%
+0.18
2004
13 / 39
52.82%
+7.18%
+9.64%
+1.30%
+2.98%
+4.28
2000
13 / 39
50.13%
+5.88%
+5.06%
-6.66%
+8.00%
+1.34
1996
18 / 34
48.94%
+12.54%
+4.02%
+1.10%
+2.96%
+1.86
1992
12 / 40
43.41%
+11.44%
+5.88%
+9.85%
+13.29%
+3.44
1988
11 / 41
50.05%
+1.59%
+9.32%
+14.56%
-10.49%
+4.07


Washington margin average, 1988-2008 (6 cycles): DEM +9.24%
Trend: STRONG DEMOCRATIC



(raw totals for 2008 and 2004, margins, swings, % of state PV, county growth rate)

The partisan rankings for Ranking 13 (Washington) from 2008 backwards in history to1964 in Table-format (highlighted in yellow):


Rank2008Margin '082004Margin - 042000Margin '001996Margin '961992Margin '921988Margin '88Rank1984Margin '841980Margin '801976Margin '761972Margin '721968Margin '681964Margin '64
10 – 42CA24,03%ME9,00%IL12,01%IL17,51%WV13,02%WI3,62%10 – 42WV10,51%AR0,61%RI11,28%IA17,13%NY5,46%VT32,61%
11 – 41CT22,37%HI8,74%CA11,80%AR16,94%MN11,63%WA1,59%11 – 41HI11,28%AL1,30%NC11,05%NY17,34%CT5,16%AK31,82%
12 – 40ME17,32%DE7,59%VT9,94%MN16,14%WA11,44%IL2,08%12 – 40OR12,17%MS1,32%KY7,19%WA18,28%LA20.11%NJ31,75%
13 - 39WA17,08%WA7,18%WA5,58%MD15,99%HI11,40%PA2,32%13 - 39IL12,88%KY1,46%MD6,07%CT18,44%AL47.13%MD30,94%
14 - 38MI16,44%NJ6,68%MI5,13%DE15,25%MO10,15%MD2,91%14 - 38WA12,97%SC1,53%LA5,78%IL18,52%PA3,57%PA30,22%
15 - 37OR16,35%OR4,16%ME5,11%WV14,75%OR9,95%VT3,52%15 - 37CA16,25%NC2,12%DE5,41%PA19,98%WA2,11%KY28,36%
16 - 36NJ15,53%MN3,48%PA4,17%MI13,21%PA9,02%CA3,57%16 - 36TN16,27%DE2,33%FL5,28%MT20,08%MD1,64%MO28,10%
17 - 35NM15,13%MI3,42%MN2,40%CA12,89%NM8,56%MO3,98%17 - 35VT17,11%NY2,67%NY4,43%DE20,41%TX1,27%MN27,76%
18 - 34WI13,90%PA2,50%OR0,44%WA12,54%ME8,33%NM4,96%18 - 34OH18,76%ME3,36%MO3,63%OH21,56%AR7.64%OR27,75%
19 - 33NV12,49%NH1,37%IA0,31%LA12,07%DE8,20%CT5,10%19 - 33MI18,99%WI4,72%TX3,17%ME22,98%MO1,13%NH27,28%
20 - 32PA10,31%WI0,38%WI0,22%IA10,34%MI7,40%MT5,87%20 - 32DE19,85%LA5,45%PA2,66%AK23,51%NJ2,13%TX26,82%
21 - 31MN10,24%IA0,67%NM0,06%WI10,33%CT6,43%SD6,34%21 - 31MO20,05%VT5,96%HI2,53%MD23,90%OH2,28%OH25,89%
22 -30NH9,61%NM0,79%FL0,01%NH9,95%IA6,01%CO7,78%22 -30GA20,39%MI6,49%MS1,88%NM24,49%AK2,64%WA24,59%
23 - 29IA9,53%OH2,11%NH1,27%PA9,20%TN4,65%MI7,90%23 - 29NM20,48%MO6,81%WI1,68%MO24,59%IL2,92%WI24,35%
24 - 28CO8,95%NV2,59%MO3,34%OR8,09%LA4,61%LA10,21%24 - 28KY20,66%PA7,11%OH0,27%NJ24,80%CA3,08%IA23,97%
25 - 27VA6,30%CO4,67%OH3,51%NM7,33%WI4,35%OH10,85%25 - 27NJ20,89%IL7,93%OR0,17%HI24,96%DE3,51%CO23,07%
26 - 26OH4,58%FL5,01%NV3,55%OH6,36%CO4,26%ME11,45%26 - 26CT21,90%CT9,63%ME0,84%VT26,20%WI3,62%DE22,17%
27 - 25FL2,81%MO7,20%TN3,86%MO6,30%KY3,21%KY11,64%27 - 25ME22,05%OR9,66%IA1,01%ND26,28%GA12.43%NM18,98%
28 - 24IN1,03%VA8,20%AR5,44%FL5,70%NV2,63%DE12,40%28 - 24AR22,18%OH10,60%OK1,21%WV27,22%OR6,05%IL18,94%
29 - 23NC0,33%AR9,76%AZ6,28%TN2,41%MT2,51%TX12,60%29 - 23AL22,26%WA12,34%VA1,34%NV27,36%KY6,14%MT18,38%
30 - 22MO0,13%AZ10,47%WV6,32%AZ2,22%NJ2,37%ND13,06%30 - 22MT22,30%IA12,70%SD1,48%CO28,01%NV8,16%CA18,32%
31 - 21MT2,38%NC12,43%LA7,68%NV1,02%OH1,83%KS13,23%31 - 21LA22,60%VA12,72%CA1,78%KY28,60%NH8,18%NV17,16%
32 - 20GA5,20%WV12,86%VA8,04%KY0,96%NH1,22%NJ13,64%32 - 20IN23,99%NJ13,42%IL1,97%NH29,12%SC5,79%ND16,09%
33 - 19SD8,41%TN14,27%CO8,36%GA1,17%GA0,59%AR14,18%33 - 19NC24,00%TX13,86%NJ2,16%AZ31,26%MT9,01%WY13,12%
34 - 18AZ8,48%LA14,51%GA11,69%CO1,37%NC0,79%NC16,26%34 - 18MS24,39%CA16,78%NM2,47%IN32,77%CO9,14%AR12,66%
35 - 17ND8,65%GA16,60%NC12,83%VA1,96%FL1,89%TN16,34%35 - 17VA25,19%FL17,02%WA3,88%TX32,96%VT9,22%IN12,42%
36 - 16SC8,98%SC17,08%AL14,88%MT2,88%AZ1,95%OK16,65%36 - 16SD26,47%NM18,18%NV4,36%LA36,97%FL9,60%NC12,30%



Links



Helpful Info Links Helpful Election Links
WA WIKI WA county-by-county EXCEL spreadsheet 
WA Census Information Complete WA electoral raw data (Presidential)
WA Census Profile map WA VR / VT
WA Population 2008: 6,549,224 WA Election results - recent
WA Population Density: 38.0 persons per sq Km.
WA Election archives (1900-2010)
Electoral Vote Density: 595,384 persons per EV. ---


Electoral Development (electors through history): 4 (1892-1900), 5 (1904-1908), 7 (1912-1928), 8 (1932-1960), 9 (1964-1968), 10 (1972-1988), 11 (1992-2008), 12 EV (2012- )
Washington State is the 13th most liberal state and the 39th most conservative state, with a Democratic winning margin of +17.08% and having voted 9.82% more Democratic than the national margin in 2008. 

Washington State was also the 13th most liberal state and the 39th most conservative state in 2004, with a Democratic winning margin of +7.18% and having voted 9.64% more Democratic than the national margin in that year.

Washington State was also the 13th most liberal state and the 39th most conservative state in 2000, with a Democratic winning margin of +5.88% and having voted 5.06% more Democratic than the national margin in that year.

Washington is the only state (excluding DC) in the Union to have identical partisan rankings for the three cycles mentioned: 2008, 2004 and 2000. Washington State is therefore the most consistent state in the Partisan Rankings.


From 1904-2008, Washington went for the GOP 
12 times, for the DEMS 14 times.
Since 1948 Washington went for the GOP 7 times, for the DEMS 9 times.



Summary



Four states were admitted to the Union in early November of 1889: North Dakota (39th state), South Dakota (40th state), Montana (41st state) and Washington State (42nd state) - all between November 2-11 of that year. All four of these states were created out of territories bearing the same name, all four are above the 36th parallel and, even at the time of westward expansion before statehood, were therefore slave-free territories. In those 11 days in November 1889, 366,088.32 square miles of land were added to the USA, or 11.73% of the continental USA of today! This happened during the presidency of Benjamin Harrison (R), who had unseated Democrat Grover Cleveland in 1888. So, the political landscape of the USA was going to change somewhat in 1892, with the addition of 14 total electoral votes to the Electoral College. As it turned out, incumbent Harrison won all four of the new states (but not all of there electors: ND had a three-way elector split between Harrison, Cleveland and Populist Party candidate Weaver) in spite of being unseated in turn by former President Cleven, but in 1896, three of those four new states were picked-up by the Democratic standard bearer William Jennings Bryan. This is perhaps a very good backdrop for studying the electoral history of the state of Washington.

Washington, the only state named after a US President, has been also a relatively divided state politically, some say, because of the Cascade Mountains – with western WA being liberal and eastern WA being conservative.



Already in its first three election cycles – 1892, 1896 and 1900, it had gone first for the GOP and then for the DEMS, then again for the GOP, and the margins are worth noting:

1892: Harrison +7.57% margin
1896: Bryan +15.13% margin (swing = +22.70%)
1900: McKinley +11.74% margin (swing = +26.87%)

WA was absolutely crazy about Teddy Roosevelt and gave him the state's record-setting landslide to date in 1904: Roosevelt 69.95%, a crushing +50.60% margin. Taft also landslided here in 1908 with +25.76% but had no luck in the "Evergreen State" in his re-election attempt of 1912. The state was still so crazy about Teddy Roosevelt that he won here quite easily as a third-party candidate with a +8.32% margin, his third highest margin of the six states he won in 1912.

Remember, Teddy Roosevelt was a very progressive Republican, which allowed this state to warm up to Woodrow Wilson (D) between 1912-1916, and in 1916, despite a drastically reduced winning margin in both the popular vote and the College, WA was one of 2 Wilson pick-ups over 1912, with a statewide margin of +4.25%. It should also be noted that the number of votes cast between 1892-1912 in Washington State more than quadrupled.

In the roaring 20s, WA went solidly Republican and with massive landslide margins of +34.82%, +16.49% and +35.75% for Harding (1920), Coolidge (1924) and Hoover (1928), respectively, but there is a hidden detail in all of this that is fascinating: in 1924, Coolidge won with only 52.24% of the vote and the Democratic candidate, John Davis, got only 10.16%. Reason: Robert LaFollette, Progressive candidate from Wisconsin, who won his home state in 1924, placed second in Washington state, with 35.76% of the vote, most of which was taken from the Democratic candidate.

In 1932, with FDR's first landslide, WA swung extremely Democratic: FDR +23.52% (swing = +59.27%). The partisan shift, or "swing" in 1in WA in 1932 was the sixth highest "swing" of that cycle, after Texas (+80.38%), Oklahoma (+74.87%), Georgia (+70.63%), Alabama (+67.77%) and Florida (+66.36%). Notice a pattern here? The five strongest swings of 1932 were all southern states. Washington State was therefore the highest non-southern swing of 1932, which is telling for the future history of this state.

FDR won Washington state all four times and each time with a double-digit landslide margin. Harry Truman retained this state with an almost double-digit margin, but not quite. Here the five cycles:

1932: +23.52% (swing = +59.27%), +5.76% above the national margin (Partisan Value).
1936: +36.50% (swing = +12.98%), +12.25% above the national margin (Partisan Value) and Democratic landslide record-holder to-date.
1940: +17.64% (swing = -18.86%), +7.69% above the national margin (Partisan Value).
1944: +14.61% (swing = -3.03%), +7.12% above the national margin (Partisan Value).
1948: +9.93% (swing = -4.68%), +5.45% above the national margin (Partisan Value).

Notice the Partisan Value for these five cycles: WA shifted to the Democratic party in 1932 by voting +5.76% above the national margin and ended it's affair with the Democratic party in 1948 by voting +5.45% above the national margin. You will see this +5 value in association with WA often.

Washington State liked IKE in the 50s, but he never scored a double digit win here: +9.64% margin in 1952, +8.47% margin in 1956.

The state was incredibly competitive in the 1960 election between then Vice-President Richard Nixon and Senator John Kennedy and the state was first called in the early hours of the morning, with +2.41% for Nixon, the third leanest margin in this state's history.

LBJ easily reclaimed the Evergreen State in 1964, with +24.59%, the best Democratic showing in the state since 1936.

In an almost mirror-like replay of 1960, then Vice-President Hubert Humphrey retained WA with +2.11%, the second leanest margin in this state's history.

Nixon flipped WA in 1972, however, and with a massive +24.59%, just slightly over his national average. Nixon tromped in King County, THE democratic bastion of the state. McGovern only won 2 counties in 1972: Gray's Harbor county and Pacific county, both relatively small counties. Gerald Ford retained WA in 1976, with again a narrow +3.66% margin, the fourth leanest margin in this state's history. For a state not really known for narrow margins, it is interesting that the the four leanest margins all happened between 1960-1988, and exactly two such margins per major party.

Ronald Reagan won WA both times, and both times with landslide margins: +12.34% in 1980, +12.97% in 1984. This is noteworthy as only 2 two-term Republicans in history have won WA both times (Eisenhower, Reagan), but Reagan is the only Republican two-termer to win the state both times with double digit landslides. it is helpful to note that the landslides of the 1980s, 1990s and now in the 21st century pale in contrast to the landslides for both parties from the 1920s-1940s.

In 1984, the Democratic party retained only two "states" nationally: DC and MN. In 1988, with Michael Dukakis as the standard bearer, 9 more states were added back to the Democratic electoral column, not enough to win by a longshot (only 111 EV), but signs of rebuilding were in progress: WA was the 11th and last state in the Democratic partisan rankings in 1988 and Dukakis flipped the state for the Democratic Party by the leanest margin in its history to date: +1.59% margin. Here again the table from the beginning of the report:

Results of the last 6 presidential cycles:

Year
Rank
Winning %
% Margin
Part. Value
Swing“
National Swing
Trend
2008
13 / 39
57.34%
+17.08%
+9.82%
+9.90%
+9.72%
+0.18
2004
13 / 39
52.82%
+7.18%
+9.64%
+1.30%
+2.98%
+4.28
2000
13 / 39
50.13%
+5.88%
+5.06%
-6.66%
+8.00%
+1.34
1996
18 / 34
48.94%
+12.54%
+4.02%
+1.10%
+2.96%
+1.86
1992
12 / 40
43.41%
+11.44%
+5.88%
+9.85%
+13.29%
+3.44
1988
11 / 41
50.05%
+1.59%
+9.32%
+14.56%
-10.49%
+4.07

Likewise, Bill Clinton is the second two-term Democratic President to win WA both times (next to Roosevelt), both times with double digit wins, very similar to Reagan's wins from 1980 and 1984. Remember the Democratic wins of the 1940's and that partisan value of around +5%? Take a look at the table from 1988-2008 and look at the partisan values. 3 of them are close to the +5% range: 1992, 1996 and 2000.


Starting in 2004, the partisan value rose to the +9% range, meaning that WA moved more liberal in comparison to the 90s.



There are important statistics from Obama's landslide in 2008 that say something about the stability of this state:


-Obama's percentage and margin are the largest since LBJ in 1964.


-The swing for Obama in his first term is almost identical to the swing for Clinton in his first term.


-The partisan value 2008 vs. 1992 is also similar, but greater in 2008.


-What is different, and decisively, is the steady rise in the Democratic percentage of the popular vote from 1992 through 2008, without interruption. The Republican percentage also steadily rose from 1992 through 2004, but dropped sharply in 2008. Part of this is the ever decreasing 3rd or 4th party vote in WA since 1992, but right now, WA has reached about the same type of Democratic Partisan intensity on as a state like Louisiana on the Republican side.


-Also, the trend was practically 0 in 2008, meaning that WA hugged close to the national swing. For this reason, in spite of the fact that WA was won by less than a massive +20% margin or more, it is actually a more sure DEM win in 2012 than people think. It would take far more than just a +7.73% Republican win nationally (that was Bush 41's margin from 1988) to even make this state competitive.


Based on its voting record, WA is in absolutely no way a bellwether state, having missed the winner in 8 of the 30 cycles in which WA has participated in the Electoral College, and in more recent history, WA has missed the winner in 5 of the last 13 cycles, going back to 1960. It has missed the winner from both parties pretty much equally.
Speaking of record setters, WA is one of only three states in the Union where the all three superlative winners (GOP, DEM and IND) between 1904-2008 all carry the name Roosevelt, the other states being SD and MN:



WA Superlatives YEAR Candidate Winning % % margin
GOP
1904
Roosevelt, T.
69.95%
+50.60%
DEM
1936
Roosevelt, FD
66.38%
+36.50%
IND
1912
Roosevelt, T.
35.22%
I+8.32%
---------------------



All-time "squeaker"
1988
Dukakis
50.05%
+1.59%

In Washington, the Governor, Lt. Governor and both Senators are Democrats. The US House Delegation from WA is comprised of 5 Democrats and 4 Republicans. In the Washington State Legislature, there is a solid but not overwhelming Democratic majority in both houses.

Facit: 
Washington is a solid Democratic state at the presidential level and is not likely to be competitive in 2012. 

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