30 December 2011

Rank 49 / 3: Utah

Utah:
Number 1 Conservative state for 8 straight cycles, record broken in 2008



Results of the last 9 presidential cycles:


Year
Rank
Winning %
% Margin
Part. Value
Swing“
National Swing
Trend
2008
49 / 03
62.24%
+28.02%
+35.28%
-17.52%
+9.72%
+7.80
2004
51 / 01
71.54%
+45.54%
+43.08%
+5.05%
+2.98%
+2.07
2000
51 / 01
66.83%
+40.49%
+41.01%
+19.42%
+8.00%
+11.42
1996
51 / 01
54.37%
+21.07%
+29.59%
+5.04%
+2.96%
+8.00
1992
51 / 01
43.36%
+16.03%
+21.59%
-18.14%
+13.29%
+4.85
1988
51 / 01
66.22%
+34.17%
+26.44%
-15.66%
-10.49%
+5.17
1984
51 / 01
74.50%
+49.83%
+31.61%
-2.37%
+8.48%
+10.85
1980
51 / 01
72.77%
+52.20%
+42.46%
+23.41%
+11.80%
+11.61
1976
51 / 01
62.44%
+28.79%
+30.85%
-12.46%
+25.21%
+12.75

Blue shading = DEM pick-up over the cycle before.
Red shading = GOP pick-up over the cycle before.


Utah margin average, 1988-2008 (6 cycles): 
GOP +30.89% 
Utah margin average, 1980-2008 (8 cycles): 
GOP +35.13% 


Trend: 
REPUBLICAN

UT county-by-county EXCEL spreadsheet
(raw totals for 2008 and 2004, margins, swings, % of state PV, county growth rate)


The partisan rankings for Rankings 48 (UT) and 49 (ID) from 2008 backwards in history to 1964 in Table-format (highlighted in yellow and green) are HERE.

Links


Helpful Info Links
Helpful Election Links
UT population 2008: 2,736,424
---
UT Population Density: 12.9 persons per sq. Km.
---
Electoral Vote Density: 547,285 persons per EV.
---


UT ELECTORAL DEVELOPMENT (electors through history) :  3 (1896-1908), 4 (1912-1980), 5 (1984-2008), 6 EV (2012 - )


SUMMARY

Utah is the 3rd most conservative state and the 49th most liberal state, with a Republican winning margin of +28.02% and having voted 35.28% more Republican than the national margin in 2008. 

Utah was the most conservative state and the 51st most liberal state in 2004, with a Republican winning margin of +45.54% and having voted 43.08% more Republican than the national margin in that year.

Utah was also the most conservative state and the 51st most liberal state in 2000, with a Republican winning margin of +40.49% and having voted 41.01% more Republican than the national margin in that year.




In its entire electoral history, from 1896-present, Utah went went for the GOP 
21 times, for the DEMS  8  times.

From 1904 - 2008, Utah went for the GOP 
20 times, for the DEMS 7  times.

Since 1948, Utah went for the GOP 
14 timesfor the DEMS 2  times.

Since 1960, Utah went for the GOP 
12 timesfor the DEMS 1  time.




The area formerly known as the „Utah Territory“ officially became the 45th state of the Union on January 4, 1896, five and one half years after Utah and Wyoming became states.


The 13th largest state in the Union by area (Idaho is the 14th), but the 34th largest by population (Idaho is the 39th), Utah has shown parallel demographic and political growth in its history to the neighboring states of Wyoming and Idaho, but a much more symbiotic electoral relationship with Idaho.


Utah has had an overwhelmingly Republican voting record, having selected the Republican candidate for 21 of the 29 cycles in which Utah has voted in. Though VT has gone Republican 33 times and holds the record for the longest GOP streak (27 cycles from 1856-1960), UT, along with 8 other states, has the longest current running Republican voting record: KS, NE, SD, ND, WY, ID, UT, OK and AK have all voted GOP for 11 consecutive cycles since 1968. Every single one of these states was captured in the Johnson (D) landslide of 1964 – had that not happened, then UT would have had 15 consecutive cycles, all the way back through 1952. I call these states that have gone 11 straight cycles for the GOP „The 11ers“ and most likely, every single one of those states will become a „12er“ after 2012. Two states are not on that list, but both were „10er“s from 2004: IN and VA, both of which Obama picked-up in 2008. Here is a table of those 9 states:


9 Conservative States: “The 11ers”.

Year
Kansas
Nebraska
South Dakota
North Dakota
Wyoming
Idaho
Utah
Oklahoma
Alaska
2008
14.92%
14.93%
8.41%
8.65%
32.24%
25.30%
28.02%
31.29%
21.54%
2004
25.38%
33.22%
21.47%
27.36%
39.79%
38.12%
45.54%
31.14%
25.55%
2000
20.80%
28.99%
22.73%
27.60%
40.06%
39.53%
40.49%
21.88%
30.95%
1996
18.21%
18.70%
3.46%
6.81%
12.98%
18.54%
21.07%
7.81%
17.53%
1992
5.14%
17.18%
3.52%
12.03%
5.60%
13.61%
16.03%
8.62%
9.17%
1988
13.23%
20.96%
6.34%
13.06%
22.52%
26.07%
34.17%
16.65%
23.32%
1984
33.67%
41.74%
26.47%
31.04%
42.27%
45.97%
49.83%
37.94%
36.79%
1980
24.56%
39.49%
28.83%
37.97%
34.67%
41.27%
52.20%
25.53%
27.94%
1976
7.55%
20.74%
1.48%
5.85%
19.49%
22.76%
28.79%
1.21%
22.25%
1972
38.15%
41.00%
8.63%
26.28%
38.54%
38.20%
41.25%
49.70%
23.51%
1968
20.13%
28.01%
11.31%
17.71%
20.25%
26.13%
19.42%
15.70%
2.64%
1964
9.03%
5.21%
11.22%
16.09%
13.12%
1.83%
9.73%
11.49%
31.82%
1960
21.35%
24.14%
16.43%
10.90%
10.03%
7.57%
9.64%
18.04%
1.88%
1956
31.23%
31.03%
16.77%
23.63%
20.16%
22.39%
29.12%
10.26%

1952
38.27%
38.31%
38.54%
42.58%
25.62%
31.00%
17.85%
9.18%

1948
9.02%
8.31%
4.80%
8.76%
4.35%
2.73%
8.96%
25.49%

1944
21.07%
17.16%
16.66%
8.35%
2.47%
3.49%
21.02%
11.36%

1940
14.47%
14.37%
14.82%
10.88%
5.93%
9.05%
24.67%
15.18%

1936
7.72%
16.40%
11.52%
33.03%
23.10%
29.77%
39.55%
34.14%

1932
9.43%
27.70%
29.23%
41.58%
15.25%
20.39%
15.47%
46.59%

1928
44.96%
27.01%
20.98%
10.34%
28.31%
29.30%
7.72%
28.28%

1924
37.94%
17.51%
12.73%
2.52%
20.88%
10.60%
19.32%
5.59%

1920
32.23%
33.41%
41.02%
59.60%
32.29%
31.26%
17.09%
5.50%

1916
5.86%
14.29%
3.90%
1.50%
12.77%
10.91%
20.96%
17.38%

1912
6.42%
14.56%
8.48%
4.42%
1.77%
1.05%
4.91%
11.18%

1908
9.58%
1.54%
23.76%
26.23%
15.76%
16.92%
16.97%
4.66%

1904
38.59%
37.94%
49.42%
54.73%
37.64%
40.37%
28.56%


1900
6.60%
3.24%
15.59%
15.60%
17.49%
3.83%
2.29%


1896
3.69%
5.35%
0.22%
11.92%
3.74%
56.79%
65.43%


1892
1.81%
2.04%
11.83%
0.50%
4.37%
9.90%



1888
24.21%
13.76%







1884
24.18%
16.78%







1880
30.68%
30.25%







1876
32.56%
29.40%







1872
33.66%
41.36%







1868
37.65%
27.81%







1864
61.41%
---







STATS
30 R/ 6 D / 1 Ind
29 R / 7 D
25 R / 4 D /
1 IND
24 R / 5 D /
1 IND
22 R / 8 D
19 R / 10 D / 1 IND
21 R / 8 D
16 R / 10 D
12 R / 1 D

Four of these GOP bastions have absolutely identical voting records from 1920 through 2008: KS, NE and both Dakotas. All four of these states have 20 R / 3 D voting records. WY, UT, ID and OK have more Democratic voting records in the 1940s. AK first participated in 1960, so no real comparison outside of the „11er“ category is possible.


Now, to Utah alone: the state jumped into the fray with the the first of two battles between Republican William McKinley and Democrat William Jennings Bryan: in 1896, Bryan swept the new state of Utah with an unprecedented 
82.70% of the popular vote and a +65.43% margin, which is still the record for all parties in this state. However, four years later, incumbent McKinley flipped Utah to the GOP, with a lean +2.29% margin, which is the record-setter for the leanest presidential election in UT's history. So, the very two first cycles of Utah's electoral history set superlative records. BTW, single-digit margins are a rarity in UT: only 5 of 29 cycles have been single digit-margins and only 2 of them have been under +5% for the winner.

UT loved Teddy Roosevelt and gave him a 
+28.56% margin and 61.42% of the vote.


William Jennings Bryan (D), who won the Beehive State in 1896 and lost it in 1900, also had no such luck by his third try in 1908: Republican William Howard Taft bested him by 
+16.97% in margin (it was a nearly identical +16.92% margin in neighboring Idaho).


In a show of how conservative the state had tilted in such a short time, UT was one of only two states in the Union to remain faithful to incumbent William Howard Taft in his re-election defeat to both Woodrow Wilson (D) and former President Theodore Roosevelt (Ind). Taft held the state by 
+4.91%, better than his +1.91% in GOP bastion Vermont.


However, in 1916 and going against the national tide for the GOP in that year, incumbent Woodrow Wilson picked-up Utah with a landslide 
+20.96%.


In the roaring 20s, UT went with the national GOP wave and rewarded Harding, Coolidge and Hoover with varying margins of 
+17.09% (1920), +19.32% (1924) and +7.72% (1928). However, buried within the 1924 race are some important details: Coolidge won UT with a larger margin that his predecessor Harding, but his win in UT was a high minority win of 49.26%. Reason: Progressive Party candidate from Wisconsin took 20.81% in the Salt Lake State. It was LaFollette's 15th strongest state in 1924. It is hard to explain why Hoover did so poorly in 1928 in Utah compared to Harding or Coolidge. Historians speculate that Al Smith's (D) religion (Irish Roman Catholic) actually helped him in Utah, since Mormons have often felt the sting of prejudice. But Smith was strongly anti-prohibition, and that did not set well with Utahns. Nonethless, this is the only national Republican landslide in the state's history where the GOP candidate won with only a single digit margin, which causes the election to send up a „red flag“ in the statistics.


Unlike VT and ME in the northeast, UT was not able to resist the FDR landslide in 1932: Roosevelt won with 
56.52% of the PV and a strong +15.47% margin (it was +20.39% in Idaho), slightly under his national +17.76% margin. But in 1936, the margin swelled to a massive +39.55% (it was +29.77% in Idaho) and 69.34% of the popular vote for incumbent FDR, well above his national average – and yet, this statistic still does not even come close to William Jennings Bryan from 1896!


However, in 1940, UT gave FDR a reduced margin of 
+24.67%, still much more than his national +9.95% margin over Wendell Wilkie (R) in that year. Likewise, in 1944, UT stayed with FDR a fourth time, still with a crushing +21.02% margin over Thomas Dewey, still way above the national margin. In this way, UT was more Democratic than Idaho for 3 of four „FDR“ cycles.


Whereas a slew of other western states fled the Democratic Party in 1948, UT remained faithful and gave incumbent Truman a 
+8.93% win, again over Thomas Dewey. Republicans were beginning to despair and thought that UT was destined to become a Democratic state in the middle of the Big Sky Country.


That sense changed in 1952. Though Eisenhower was a son of Texas, Utah gave him a solid 
+17.85% win, very reminiscent of FDR from 20 years earlier. In 1956, Eisenhower increased his margin to a crushing +29.12%, which broke Teddy Roosevelt's GOP record from 1904.


If Nixon had hoped to win UT with such margins in 1960, his hopes were dashed. The state showed great interest in John Kennedy, but at the end of the day, Nixon prevailed, but with a lean 
+9.64%, just outside of a landslide designation.


The Johnson (D) pick-up of UT in 1964 looked like a mirror image of Nixon 1960: Johnson 
+9.73%. And the percentages are even closer: Nixon with 54.81% in 1960, Johnson with 54.86% in 1964. Unlike ID, which Johnson just barely pulled „over the line“ with a +1.81% margin, he captured UT with a statistic just outside of a landslide designation. UT was the 40th of 45 Democratic states in 1964, which also means conservative ranking 12, which is the lowest conservative ranking for this state since 1936.

In 1968, in spite of a three-man race, Nixon won UT hands down, with 
56.49% (it was 56.79% in Idaho) of the PV and a landslide +19.42% margin (it was +26.13% in Idaho), which topped Eisenhower's 1952 showing in the state. UT was the 6th most conservative state in the 1968 partisan rankings. In 1972, Nixon expanded his margin to a massive +41.25% (it was +38.20% in Idaho), breaking all GOP records to date in this state. UT was the 7th most conservative state in the 1972 partisan rankings.
As of 1976, UT jumped to 1st in the conservative partisan rankings and would stay there through 2004!


Here once again the 9 cycle table from above:

Utah:

Year
Rank
Winning %
% Margin
Part. Value
Swing“
National Swing
Trend
2008
49 / 03
62.24%
+28.02%
+35.28%
-17.52%
+9.72%
+7.80
2004
51 / 01
71.54%
+45.54%
+43.08%
+5.05%
+2.98%
+2.07
2000
51 / 01
66.83%
+40.49%
+41.01%
+19.42%
+8.00%
+11.42
1996
51 / 01
54.37%
+21.07%
+29.59%
+5.04%
+2.96%
+8.00
1992
51 / 01
43.36%
+16.03%
+21.59%
-18.14%
+13.29%
+4.85
1988
51 / 01
66.22%
+34.17%
+26.44%
-15.66%
-10.49%
+5.17
1984
51 / 01
74.50%
+49.83%
+31.61%
-2.37%
+8.48%
+10.85
1980
51 / 01
72.77%
+52.20%
+42.46%
+23.41%
+11.80%
+11.61
1976
51 / 01
62.44%
+28.79%
+30.85%
-12.46%
+25.21%
+12.75

The table makes it very clear that from at least 1976, the Democratic Party has had no real chance in UT.


Ronald Reagan broke Richard Nixon's 1972 margin in 1980. And yet, his statistic does not come close to William Jennings Bryan in 1896.


There have only been three minority wins in UT's electoral history: 1912, 1924 and 1992, and even in 1992, incumbent Bush, Sr. enjoyed an easy 
+16.03% (it was +13.61% in Idaho) victory over Bill Clinton.


George W. Bush, Jr.'s wins in 2000 and 2004 are worth note for the extreme margins and the stability in the state – very reminiscent of the Reagan elections of 1980 and 1984. And Bush 43 is the first President to hit 70% in a state outside of DC since 1984. Obama would match him in Hawaii in 2008.

John McCain's landslide win in UT was with a reduced but still massive landslide margin of 
+28.02% is the 10th largest or the 12 th leanest of the 21 GOP wins in this state and also:


-is the fourth time in a row where the state suddenly went for the GOP with a lesser margin in what was or would have been a 3rd GOP term in office: 1960 (after 2 Term Eisenhower), 1976 (after 2 Term Nixon), 1988 (after 2 Term Reagan), 2008 (after 2 term Bush).

-is the sixth time in nine cycles where the Partisan Value (difference between the statewide margin and the national margin) went above 
+30%.


-statistically, McCain's win in Utah is nearly identical to Gerald Ford's win against Jimmy Carter in 1976. Ford got 
62.44%, McCain got 62.24% (difference = 0.20%); Ford's margin was +28.79%, McCain's was +28.02% (difference = 0.77%).

-Obama's losing percentage in UT (
34.22%) sets no records, but comes statistically close to Carter's loss in this state in 1988 and is the highest Democratic losing percentage in this state since 1968.

- and interesting study in a 4 th party vote: 2008 showed a pretty even spread in the 4 th party „protest“ vote: Baldwin (Constitution Party) got 
1.25%, Nader got 0.88%, Barr (Libertarian) got 0.73%. Had the Nader vote gone for Obama and the Barr and Baldwin vote gone for McCain, then the winning margin would have only slightly budged.

Utah and Idaho


Of all the states in the Union, no two states came as close to each other in winning margin as did Nebraska and Kansas. In 2008, McCain won NE by 
+14.93% and he won KS by +14.92%. That is a difference of just 0.01% in margin. These two neighbor states have a common voting record that goes back father than any other of the „11ers“ mentioned above: from 1912 through 2008, both states have identical records for 26 cycles in a row. That is the longest consecIDive voting record of any two states in the Union, ever. Not even North and SoIDh Dakota have such a long common voting record.


However, Utah and Idaho also share a very common voting record from 1952 onward and more importantly, the two have maintained the same distance between themselves in the partisan rankings for 10 cycles. It is so that in 2008, WY is the number 1 ranking in the conservative rankings, but for the 8 cycles before (1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004), Utah was Rank 1 among the conservative states. For three of those cycles (1976, 1980, 1984) Idaho hugged right next to UT as the Rank 2 state. Then, the next five cycles (1988 through 2004), Idaho was Rank 3 against Utah in Rank 1 – 2 rankings away, whereas in 2008, both states ended up next to each other again, with Utah in 3rd and Idaho in 4 h. In other words, this is the first time in 32 years that Idaho was anything less than rank 3 among the conservative states and that Utah was anything less than Rank 1!


Here is a table comparing UT and ID over the last 9 cycles.

Year

Rank
Winning %
% Margin
Part. Value
Swing“
National Swing
Trend
2008
ID
48 / 04
61.21%
+25.30%
+32.56%
-12.82%
+9.72%
+3.10

UT
49 / 03
62.24%
+28.02%
+35.28%
-17.52%
+9.72%
+7.80
Diff:

1
UT +1.03%
UT +2.72%
UT +2.72%
ID +4.70%
---
ID +4.70









2004
ID
49 / 03
68.38%
+38.12%
+35.66%
-1.41%
+2.98%
+4.39

UT
51 / 01
71.54%
+45.54%
+43.08%
+5.05%
+2.98%
+2.07
Diff:

2
UT +3.16%
UT +7.42%
UT +7.42%
UT +6.46%
---
UT +6.46









2000
ID
49 / 03
67.17%
+39.53%
+40.05%
+20.99%
+8.00%
+12.99

UT
51 / 01
66.83%
+40.49%
+41.01%
+19.42%
+8.00%
+11.42
Diff:

2
ID +0.34%
UT +0.96%
UT +0.96%
ID +1.57%
---
ID +1.57









1996
ID
49 / 03
52.18%
+18.54%
+27.06%
+4.93%
+2.96%
+7.89

UT
51 / 01
54.37%
+21.07%
+29.59%
+5.04%
+2.96%
+8.00
Diff:

2
UT +2.19%
UT +2.53%
UT +2.53%
UT +0.09%
---
UT +0.09









1992
ID
49 / 03
42.03%
+13.61%
+19.17%
-12.46%
+13.29%
+0.83

UT
51 / 01
43.36%
+16.03%
+21.59%
-18.14%
+13.29%
+4.85
Diff:

2
UT +1.33%
UT +2.42%
UT +2.42%
ID +5.68%
---
ID +5.68









1988
ID
49 / 03
62.08%
+26.07%
+18.34%
-19.90%
-10.49%
+9.41

UT
51 / 01
66.22%
+34.17%
+26.44%
-15.66%
-10.49%
+5.17
Diff:

2
UT +4.14%
UT +8.10%
UT +8.10%
UT +4.24%
---
UT +4.24









1984
ID
50 / 02
72.37%
+45.97%
+27.75%
+4.70%
+8.48%
+3.78

UT
51 / 01
74.50%
+49.83%
+31.61%
-2.37%
+8.48%
+10.85
Diff:

1
UT +2.13%
UT +3.86%
UT +3.86%
ID +7.07%
---
ID +7.07









1980
ID
50 / 02
66.46%
+41.27%
+31.53%
+18.51%
+11.80%
+6.71

UT
51 / 01
72.77%
+52.20%
+42.46%
+23.41%
+11.80%
+11.61
Diff:

1
UT +6.31%
UT +10.93%
UT +10.93%
UT +4.90%
---
UT +4.90









1976
ID
50 / 02
59.88%
+22.76%
+24.82%
-15.44%
+25.21%
+9.77

UT
51 / 01
62.44%
+28.79%
+30.85%
-12.46%
+25.21%
+12.75
Diff:

1
UT +2.56%
UT +6.03%
UT +6.03%
UT +2.98%
---
ID +2.98

From the table and also from the partisan rankings chart in posting three, we can see that UT has the slightly more conservative voting record most of the time. The relationship between ID and UT on the conservative side is similar but more consistent that the relationship DC and/or RI / MA on the liberal side of the spectrum.

Important details about UT:


Republicans:


-Since UT's entrance into the Electoral College in 1892, every Republican President has won UT: McKinley (1900 only) T. Roosevelt, Taft Harding, Coolidge, Hoover (1928, not 1932), Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43.

-one 1-Term Republicans lost UT as a pick-up to the Democratic Party in his failed re-election attempt: Hoover (1932)

Democrats:


-Only four Democratic Presidents in history have won UT: Wilson (1916), FDR (4 times), Truman and LBJ

-Only one Democratic challenger who lost the GE won UT: Bryan (1896)

Independents:


No independent candidate has ever won UT.




Based on its voting record, UT is not bellwether state, having missed the Electoral College winner in 6 of the last 27 cycles and having missed the PV winner in 7 of the last 27 cycles – all but one of these misses happened from 1960 onward.



Can UT become a battleground in 2012?

No. UT is in no way a battleground. Polling showing a Democratic within single digits of a Republican in UT wold indicate a certain Democratic landslide in the GE, plain and simple.

UT Superlatives
YEAR
Candidate
Winning %
Winning margin
GOP
1984 / 1980
Reagan
74.50% (1984)
+52.20% (1980)
DEM
1896
Bryan
+82.70%
+65.43%
IND
1992
Perot
27.34%
Best Ind showing 
---------------------




All-time "squeaker"
1900
McKinley
50.58%
+2.29% 

In Utah, the Governor, Lt. Governor, both Senators and 2 of 3 US Representatives are all Republicans. One US Representative is a Democrat. In the Utah State Legislature, the Republicans have hypermajorities in both Houses..

Facit:
 in 2007, I wrote: „UTAH is the safest of the Republican "firewall"-states. A GOP win with between 60-70% of the vote is to be expected in here, and a vote over 70% would not be a surprise.„




Facit 2011: Utah is absolutely one of the three safest Republican "firewall"-states. In the state bios, I have rarely delved into the demographics of a state, but instead,  have simply provided a couple of 2010 census links for the reader to interpret the demographic information as he or she wishes, but in the case of UT, it is worth mentioning that about 61% of Utahns are Mormons. If Mitt Romney, a Mormon, receives the GOP nomination, then as Barack Obama had a built-in constituency in the black community in 2008 (and likely will have again in 2012), Mitt Romney would have a built-in constituency among the Mormon population, especially in Utah, where Romney could conceivably come over 80% of the vote and perhaps break William Jennings Bryan's record from 1896. There is also a large Mormon population in Idaho (14%), Nevada (9%), Arizona (6%) - so, especially in the case of battleground state Nevada, a Romney candidacy could put that state more in play than most realize.

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