12 December 2011

Rank 35 / 17: North Dakota

North Dakota

Results of the last 6 presidential cycles:

            Winning            %
            %            Margin
            Part.            Value
            National            Swing
            35 / 17
            46 / 06
            43 / 09
            48 / 04
            30 / 22

North Dakota margin average, 1988-2008 (6 cycles): GOP +15.94%
The Trend explanation comes deep within the analysis, for this analysis is mostly of both Dakotas together, which makes sense once you see all the data.

The Partisan Rankings over 44 years
The partisan rankings for Ranking 33 (South Dakota, highlighted in yellow) and 35 (North Dakota, highlighted in green) from 2008 backwards in history to 1964, in Table-format:

The partisan rankings for Ranking 33 (South Dakota, highlighted in yellow) and 35 (North Dakota, highlighted in green) from 2008 backwards in history to 1964, in Table-format, can be seen here.

Links– North Dakota

Helpful Info Links
Helpful Election Links
ND VR link – ND does not do VR!
ND population 2008: 641,481
(SD population 2008: 804,194)
ND VT stats - (1980-present)
ND Population Density: 3.6 persons per sq. Km.
(SD Population Density: 4.1 persons per sq. Km.)
ND Election results 2000-2010
ND Elections archive 2000-2010
ND Electoral Vote Density: 213,827 persons per EV.
(SD Electoral Vote Density: 268,065 persons per EV.)

ND Electoral development (electors through history): 3 (1892-1900), 4 (1904-1908), 5 (1912-1928), 4 (1932-1968), 3 EV (1972-present)
For comparison, SD electoral development (electors through history)4 (1892-1908), 5 (1912-1928), 4 (1932-1980), 3 EV (1984-present).


North Dakota is the 17th most conservative state and the 35th most liberal state, with a Republican winning margin of +8.65% and having voted 15.91% more Republican than the national margin in 2008. 
North Dakota was the 6th most conservative state and the 46th most liberal state in 2004, with a Republican winning margin of +27.36% and having voted 24.90% more Republican than the national margin in that year.
North Dakota was again the 6th most conservative state and the 46th most liberal state in 2000, with a Republican winning margin of +22.60% and having voted 28.12% more Republican than the national margin in that year.

Since its entry into the Electoral College in 1892 (30 cycles), South Dakota has gone for the GOP 24 timesfor the DEMS 5times, and for an independent candidate 1 time.
(For comparison: Since its entry into the Electoral College in 1892 (30 cycles), South Dakota has gone for the GOP 25 times, for the DEMS times, and for an independent candidate 1 time.)
From1904-2008, South Dakota went for the GOP 22 times, for the DEMS 5times.

(For comparison: From1904-2008, South Dakota went for the GOP 23 times, for the DEMS 3 timesand for an independent candidate 1 time.)

From 1920-present (23 cycles) both North and South Dakota have gone for the same candidate in every cycle, having gone for the GOP 20 times and for the DEMS 3 timesIn other words, since 1920, both Dakotas' electoral records are identical to each other.


"The Dakotas" is a collective term used to describe both North and South Dakota, both of which once belonged to the Dakota Territory and became states on Saturday, November 2, 1889, during the Presidency of Benjamin Harrison (R). The term is used to indicate the absolute commonality that the two states have with each other in:

-geography (including geographical size: SD - 199,739 sq. KM and rank 17 in area, ND - 183,112 sq. km and rank 19 in area). Were the Dakotas combined into one state, it would be the third largest state in the Union, between California and Montana.

-population: SD pop. 814,180, rank 46 / ND pop. 672,591, rank 48Were both Dakotas to be combined into one state, it would have a population of 1,486,771, just slightly less than the state of ID (1,567,582) and would be rank 40. ID has 4 EV. Both Dakotas, with less population that ID, have 6 EV combined.

-fauna, sociology, economy (agrarian),

-demographic make-up: both states are overwhelmingly white (between 86% and 90%), most of them of Northern European heritage, a a minority of mostly American Indians (5 to 8%), 1% black, 3-4% other. North Dakota has the slightly higher percentage of whites, South Dakota has the slightly higher percentage of American Indians (3% more), and this slight difference shows up in the voting records of these two states.-cuisine-political tilt.

Now, a North Dakotan or a South Dakotan will not want to admit it, but if there were ever two states in our Union that could have been and probably should have been fused together, it would be these two states. But that is not how history would have it. However, for the purposes of electoral statistics, it makes sense to analyse these these two states together at once.I have taken the table from the top of the report and added North Dakota to it, with a comparison column underneath:

Results of the last 6 presidential cycles:North and South Dakota Comparison

RankWinning %% MarginPart. ValueSwing“National SwingTrend

ND35 / 1753.15%+8.65%+15.91%-18.71%+9.72%+8.99

Diff:ND +2SD +0.01%ND +0.24%ND +0.24SD: +5.65---SD: +5.65



Diff:ND +5ND +2.95%ND +5.89%ND +5.89%ND: +1.02---ND: +1.02

2000SD44 / 0860.30%+22.73%+23.25%+19.27%+8.00%+11.27

ND46 / 0660.66%+27.60%+28.12%+20.69%+8.00%+12.69

Diff:ND +2ND +0.36ND +4.87%ND +4.87ND: +1.42---ND: +1.42

1996SD37 / 1546.49%+3.46%+11.98%-0.06%+2.96%+3.02

ND43 / 0946.94%+6.91%+15.43%-5.12%+2.96%+8.08

Diff:ND +6ND +0.45%ND +2.85%ND +2.85%SD: +5.06---SD: +5.06

1992SD38 / 1540.66%+3.52%+9.08%-2.82%+13.29%+16.11

ND48 / 0444.22%+12.03%+17.59%-1.03%+13.29%+14.32

Diff:ND +9ND +3.56ND +8.51%ND +8.51%ND +1.79---ND +1.79

1988SD21 / 3152.85%+6.34%-1.39%-20.13%-10.49%+9.64

ND30 / 2256.03%+13.06%+5.33%-17.98%-10.49%+7.49

Diff:ND +9ND +3.18ND +6.72ND +6.72ND +2.15---ND +2.15

The numbers for the Dakotas are sea of "red", until you get to the TREND values.

First, 2008: You cannot get a closer photo-finish among two states than here between SD and ND. The toplines: in 2008, SD went for John McCain with 53.16%, ND went for him with 53.15%. Difference: SD +0.01% in topline percentage. A 0.01% margin variance is - in a case like this - nothing more than statistical noise. For all intents and purposes, the toplines are identical.

But the partisan rankings are not based on topline percentages, they are based on margins, and here the margins are also exquisitely close to each other: SD went for McCain by +8.41%, ND went for McCain by +8.65%. Difference: ND +0.24% on margin. You would think that with margins this close, both Dakotas would be right next to each other in the Partisan Rankings, but John McCain's home state of Arizona landed statistically smack-dab in the middle of the two, with +8.48%.If you look closely at this table, you will notice that, with the exception of the 2008 topline, ND is the state with the higher winning percentages and margins for all Republican candidates. The result is, when ND does come back to earth in a close election, the TREND can be somewhat more Democratic.

Now, to the TREND values. It can look very counterintuitive to see two states with such large margins for Republican candidates, and indeed, for most of the last 30 cycles, both Dakotas have given the GOP double digit margins. But in the last 6 cycles, there have 4 cycles where SD was won with a single digit margin and 2 cycles where ND was won with a single digit margin. But one thing stands out: on the whole, ND is 4%- to - 6% more Republican on margin in most every cycle, across the board. And in the few elections where a Democrat won, ND was also between 4% - 6% - higher in margin over SD. Perhaps it is the slight difference in population between the two or the larger American Indian population in SD, but ND tends to have larger swing values than SD. The end-result, however, is the same: both states have been very reliably "core" GOP states.

Let's take 2008 as an example of TREND value: John McCain won SD in 2008 with +8.41%. George W. Bush won SD in 2004 with +21.47%. Simple math: 8.41 minus 21.47 = -13.06. This means that the statewide swing (or partisan shift) was 13.06% away from the GOP and toward the Democratic Party (the shift in IN was 21.73%, which flipped the state for Obama). The national swing was +9.72% for Obama, which is -9.72% for John McCain. Again, simple math: -13.06 - (-9.72) = -13.06 + 9.72 = -3.34, represented as a postive value for the other party: +3.34.

It is the same math for ND, but since ND gave Bush 43 a richer margin in 2004, it had to fall harder in order to land dead-even with SD in 2008. For this reason, ND has a LARGER Democratic TREND value of +8.99. So, when you look at the table, you see 5 of 6 cycles where the TREND for both states has been for the Democratic party.

But a trend is not a prediction, and a state with a tendency for crushing margins for one party and go through cycles of TREND values for the other party and still be a reliable core state for "it's" party. And this is the case with both Dakotas.I have taken the data for the entire presidential electoral history of both Dakotas and put the most important data in one table. North Dakota is shaded in light yellow, South Dakota is shaded in light blue. There is a grey separation column between 1920 and 1916:

North DakotaTotalMargin%MarginDemRepIndOth.South DakotaTotalMargin%MarginDemRepIndOth.Margin Compare
2008317,73827,4848.65%44.50%53.15%0.00%2.34%2008381,97532,1308.41%44.75%53.16%0.00%2.09%ND +0.24
2004312,83385,59927.36%35.50%62.86%0.00%1.64%2004388,21583,34021.47%38.44%59.91%0.00%1.65%ND +5.89
2000288,26779,56827.60%33.05%60.66%3.29%3.00%2000316,26971,89622.73%37.56%60.30%0.00%2.14%ND +4.87
1996266,41118,1456.81%40.13%46.94%12.20%0.73%1996323,82611,2103.46%43.03%46.49%9.65%0.83%ND +3.35
1992308,13337,07612.03%32.18%44.22%23.07%0.53%1992336,25411,8303.52%37.14%40.66%21.80%0.40%ND +8.51
1988297,26138,82013.06%42.97%56.03%0.00%1.00%1988312,99119,8556.34%46.51%52.85%0.00%0.64%ND +6.72
1984308,97195,90731.04%33.80%64.84%0.00%1.36%1984317,86784,15426.47%36.53%63.00%0.00%0.47%ND +4.57
1980301,545114,50637.97%26.26%64.23%7.84%1.67%1980327,70394,48828.83%31.69%60.53%6.54%1.24%ND +9.14
1976297,09417,3925.85%45.80%51.66%0.00%2.54%1976300,6784,4371.48%48.91%50.39%0.00%0.70%ND +4.37
1968247,88243,90017.71%38.23%55.94%5.75%0.08%1968281,26431,81811.31%41.96%53.27%4.76%0.00%ND +6.40
1964258,38941,57716.09%57.97%41.88%0.00%0.15%1964293,11832,90211.22%55.61%44.39%0.00%0.00%ND +4.87
1960278,43130,34710.90%44.52%55.42%0.00%0.06%1960306,48750,34716.43%41.79%58.21%0.00%0.00%SD +5.53
1956253,99160,02423.63%38.09%61.72%0.00%0.19%1956293,85749,28116.77%41.61%58.39%0.00%0.00%ND +6.86
1952270,127115,01842.58%28.39%70.97%0.00%0.64%1952294,283113,43138.54%30.73%69.27%0.00%0.00%ND +4.04
1948220,71619,3278.76%43.41%52.17%0.17%4.25%1948250,10511,9984.80%47.04%51.84%0.00%1.12%ND +3.96
1944220,17118,3918.35%45.48%53.84%0.00%0.68%1944232,07638,65416.66%41.67%58.33%0.00%0.00%SD +8.31
1940280,77530,55410.88%44.18%55.06%0.00%0.77%1940308,42745,70314.82%42.59%57.41%0.00%0.00%SD +3.94
1916115,3901,7351.50%47.84%46.34%0.00%5.82%1916128,9425,0263.90%45.91%49.80%0.00%4.29%Diff: 5.40
191286,5803,8294.42%34.14%26.67%29.71%9.48%1912116,3259,8698.48%42.07%0.00%50.56%7.37%Diff: 12.90
190894,52524,79526.23%34.79%61.02%0.00%4.19%1908114,77527,27023.76%35.08%58.84%0.00%6.08%ND +2.47
190470,01438,32254.73%20.39%75.12%0.00%4.49%1904101,39550,11449.42%21.67%71.09%0.00%7.24%ND +5.31
190084,21613,14115.60%39.64%55.25%0.00%5.11%190096,12414,98615.59%41.14%56.73%0.00%2.13%ND +0.01
189647,3915,64911.92%43.65%55.57%0.00%0.78%189682,9501830.22%49.70%49.48%0.00%0.82%Diff: 12.14
189236,1181810.50%0.00%48.50%49.01%2.49%189270,5138,34411.83%12.88%49.48%37.64%0.00%Diff: 12.33

From the table, we can state some very clear facts:

-In 21 of 30 cycles, ND has gone for the winner with a larger margin than SD, and in 13 of those 21 cycles, the difference in margin between ND and SD has been between 3.5 and 6.5 points. The is a pattern we see more of in the late 20th century and now in the 21st century. 

There are some amazing parallels between the two Dakotas:

-Both states experienced their record setting "squeaker" election within the first two Presidential cycles in their electoral history: in 1892, ND went for James Weaver (IND - Populist Party) by just 
+0.50%. No other race in ND's history has come this close. Likewise, in 1896, in SD, Democratic Candidate William Jennings Bryan (who ran on both the Democratic Ticket AND the Populist "Peoples" Ticket), eeked out a +0.22% win over Republican national winner William McKinley. No other race in SD history has even come close to this one.

-Both states experienced their record setting landslide percentage and percentage margin for the same candidate in the same year: Teddy Roosevelt (1904): in ND, Roosevelt won with 
75.12%* of the PV and a massive +54.73% margin*. In SD, Roosevelt won with 71.09% and a +49.24% margin. Only Eisenhower in 1952 has come relatively close to these statistics in both ND and SD.

*very similar statistic to Nixon in GA in 1972

-Both states saw 1 
IND win before 1920: the already aforementioned Weaver win in ND in 1892 and the Teddy Roosevelt (IND - "Bull Moose Party") win in SD in 1912, with +8.48% over national winner Woodrow Wilson (D). BTW, SD was Teddy Roosevelt's only majority win in 1912 (he won 6 states: CA, WA, SD, MN, MI and PA, a total of 88 EV) - Taft was not on the ballot in SD. In ND, Taft was on the ballot, and here, Woodrow Wilson won ND.

-Both states saw heightened 4th party activity in 1912,4th parties got 
9.48% of the vote in ND and 7.37% of the vote in SD (in the case of ND, more than Ross Perot got nationally as a 3rd party candidate in 1996, to note), and in both cases most of that 4th party vote was for Eugene Debs (Socialist Party) and Eugene Chafin (Prohibition Party).

-From 1920 through 2008 (23 cycles), both Dakotas have identical voting records, with somewhat different margins.

Both states had one episode of large 4th party involvement, unrelated to the other state.

SD saw a massive, localized 4th party involvement in 1920. Parley Christiansen, candidate for the Farmer-Labor Party, got 0.99% of the vote nationally, but in SD, he got a whalloping 19.54% of the vote in SD - his best showing in the Union. He also garnered 19.37% of the vote in Washington State in that year. Nothing like that happened in ND. Christiansen was not on the ballot in 32 of of 48 states.

ND saw a massive, localized 4th party involvement in 1936. William Lemke of the "Union Party" took 13.41% of the vote. Lemke was an attorney from North Dakota who was infuriated with FDR over the farm mortgage issue of the 1930s. Lemke was also on the ballot in SD and got 3.49%, but this kind of 4th party percentage was the norm for SD for many cycles. I say "4th" party as Lemke never really made a hard national run for it and was not on the ballot in 17 of 48 states.

The one noticeable difference in electoral statistics in these two states, or the outlier, if you will, was 1972: in 1972, Sen. George McGovern (D-SD) was the Democratic challenger to incumbent Richard Nixon. Nixon still won McGovern's home state of SD with +8.63%, while he took ND with a crushing +26.28%, making for a partisan difference between these two states.

McCain's +8.41% win in SD in 2008 made the race relatively lean, but he still did better than Bob Dole in 1992, Bush 41 in both 1992 and 1988, Gerald Ford in 1976 (Carter almost flipped this state in 1976) and Thomas Dewey in 1948.

Based on their voting records, neither SD nor ND are not bellwether states, both having missed the winner in the electoral college 8 of 23 cycles since 1920 and having missed the winner in the popular vote 9 of 23 cycles since 1923.

ND Superlatives
Winning %
+59.60% margin 
Roosevelt, FD
+41.58% margin. 
Roosevelt, T.
 Took 2nd place, over the Taft.
Winning % Margin
All-time "squeaker"
Populist Party 

In both North and South Dakota, the Governor, Lt. Governor, 1 Senator and the 1 US Representative are Republicans. The other Senator is a Democrat. In both the North Dakota Legislative Assembly and the South Dakota Legislature, the Republican Party has massive hypermajorities in all four Houses.

Facit: in 2007, I wrote: 
"North Dakota is a safe republican state, with shades of "purple." And of South Dakota: "South Dakota is a safe Republican state and will most likely vote Republican in the next election cycles, but generally with more moderate margins than Utah or Wyoming."

Facit 2011: Actually, my words over North Dakota are more appropo for South Dakota, but Facit 2007 still holds.

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