30 December 2011

Rank 50 / 2: Oklahoma

Oklahoma:An almost perfect „snapshot“ repeat performance from 2004



Results of the last 10 presidential cycles:

Oklahoma:

Year
Rank
Winning %
% Margin
Part. Value
Swing“
National Swing
Trend
2008
50 / 02
65.65%
+31.29%
+38.55%
+0.15%
+9.72%
+9.87
2004
47 / 05
65.67%
+31.14%
+28.68%
+9.26%
+2.98%
+6.28
2000
43 / 09
60.31%
+21.88%
+22.40%
+14.07%
+8.00%
+6.07%
1996
44 / 08
48.26%
+7.81%
+16.01%
-0.81%
+2.96%
+2.15
1992
44 / 08
42.65%
+8.62%
+14.18%
-8.03%
+13.29%
+5.26
1988
36 / 16
57.93%
+16.65%
+8.92%
-21.29%
-10.49%
+10.80
1984
47 / 05
68.61%
+37.94%
+19.72%
+12.41%
+8.48%
+3.93
1980
41 / 11
60.50%
+25.53%
+15.79%
+24.32%
+11.80%
+12.52
1976
28 / 24
49.96%
+1.21%
+3.27%
-48.49%
+25.21%
+23.28
1972
49 / 03
73.70%
+49.70%
+26.55%
+34.00%
+22.45%
+11.55

There were no pick-ups between 1972 and 2008.


Oklahoma margin average, 1988-2008 (6 cycles): 
GOP +19.57% 
Oklahoma margin average, 1980-2008 (10 cycles): 
GOP +23.18% 




Trend: 
STRONG REPUBLICAN

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


The partisan rankings for Rankings 47 (AL) and 50 (OK) from 2008 backwards in history to 1964 in Table-format (highlighted in yellow and green) are HERE:

Links


Helpful Info Links
Helpful Election Links
OK population 2008: 3,642,641
OK Population Density: 20.5 persons per sq. Km.
Electoral Vote Density: 520,337 persons per EV.
---


OK ELECTORAL DEVELOPMENT
 (electors through history) :  7 (1908), 10 (1912-1928), 11 (1932-1944) 10 (1944-1948), 8 (1952-2000) 7 EV (2004-present)


SUMMARY



Oklahoma is the 2nd most conservative state and the 50th most liberal state, with a Republican winning margin of +31.29% and having voted 38.55% more Republican than the national margin in 2008. Oklahoma was one of just five states in the Union that swung against Obama and toward the Republican party (OK, WV, TN, LA, AR). Of those five states, OK is the only one that was not one of the „Clinton 6“ states.

Oklahoma was the 5th most conservative state and the 47th most liberal state in 2004, with a Republican winning margin of +31.14% and having voted 28.68% more Republican than the national margin in that year.

Oklahoma was the 9th most conservative state and the 43rd most liberal state in 2000, with a Republican winning margin of +21.88% and having voted 22.40% more Republican than the national margin in that year.


In its entire electoral history, from 1908-present, Oklahoma went went for the GOP 
16 times, for the DEMS 10  times.

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


Since 1960, Oklahoma went for the GOP 
12 times, for the DEMS 1  time.



The area formerly known as the „
Oklahoma Territory“ and the „Indian Territory“ officially became the 46th state of the Union on November 16, 1907, almost 12 years after Utah achieved statehood. The word „Oklahoma“ comes from the Choctaw indian language and is a combination of „okla“ and „humma“, which means „red people“. Oklahomans like to call themselves „Okies“ or „Sooners“, and therefore the nickname of the state is „The Sooner State“.

The 20th largest state in the Union by area but the 28th largest by population, Oklahoma has shown less parallel demographic and political growth in its history to the South and more to the GOP „Big Sky“ bastion states of UT and ID. Indeed, the geographical designation for Oklahoma is not easy: many like to associate it with the Deep South, but OK was not a state at the time of the Civil War – it was a territory back then, and (mostly) slave-free and as early as 1863, Union troops had defeated Confederate troops at Indian „backwater“ territory, as it was called in that day: the battle of Honey Springs on July 17, 1863 pretty much ended any organized confederate activity westward of the Confederate border. Also, a little known fact about Oklahoma is the large black population it had. A number of small towns in Oklahoma prospered from black settlers who moved their and farmed the land. Edward P. McCabe, a black Republican from neighboring Kansas and later, an attorney from Illinois, was a leading figure in encouraging black migration to Oklahoma in order to turn the soon-to-be state into a black-majority state; he even discussed this with then President Theodore Roosevelt. Geographically, OK has probably more in common with Kansas and Nebraska (it, like those two, is a big farming state), so the designation „South-Central“ is probably a more apt description for OK. That being said, though it doesn't belong to Appalachia, the strong resistance to the Democratic Party has also something to do with the so-called „Bible Belt“, which stretches through Appalachia and a couple of states outside of Appalachia, like Oklahoma.

Oklahoma has an electoral history that can be divided into two clean parts: the first part, overwhemingly Democratic (9 of 11 cycles), from 1908 through 1948, the second part, overwhelmingly Republican (14 of 15 cycles), from 1952 to the present.

OK, 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 OK 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 Oklahoma alone: the state jumped into the fray with the the election of Ohioan William Howard Taft in 1908, which was then the fourth GOP administration in a row (1896, 1900, 1904, 1908). William Jennings Bryan, favorite son from Colorado, who had run twice before for President, in 1896 and 1900, was a well known figure in the Oklahoma Territory and now in the state of Oklahoma. Jennings won OK, but with a minority win of 
47.99% and a lean +4.66% margin (the second leanest in the state's history): reason: Eugene V. Debs (Socialist Party) took 8.52% of the vote as a third party candidate in 1908.


OK was one of the future GOP states to go against Taft (R) both times: in 1912, again a three-way contest in this state, Woodrow Wilson (D) won with a minority win of 
46.95% and a landslide +11.85% margin. However, OK was one of the few states where Taft still placed second ahead of Bull-Moose challenger and former President Teddy Roosevelt. Taft got 35.77%, Roosevelt got 17.28%.

1916 was not a three-way race nationally, but it sure was in OK: Incumbent Wilson retained OK for the Democratic Party with a bare majority of 
50.59%, but a landslide +17.38% over Republican Charles Hughes. Reason: Allan Benson, Socialist Party candidate, took 15.55% in the Sooner State (he only got 3.19% nationally).

Just as Wilson won a bare majority in 1916, so it was with Warren Harding (R) in 1920: in spite of the largest national percentage margin in our history (Harding 
+26.17%), the Republican from Ohio got just to 50.11% over 44.61% for the Democrat from Ohio (James Cox). Reason: Eugene V. Debs was back, again with the Socialist party, and he garnered 5.29% of the vote. Harding's margin in 1920: +5.50%So, yes, Oklahoma dabbled some in socialism during the first 3 decades of the 20th century.


In 1924, going completely against the national trend and against the second largest margin in our nation's history (Coolidge 
+25.22%), OK flipped to the Democrats with John Davis as the Presidential candidate and Charles Bryan, the younger brother of the unforgettable William Jennings Bryan and gave the Democrats a minority win of 48.41% and a +5.59% mirror-image margin over 1920. Reason: Robert LaFollette, favorite son from Wisconsin and Progressive Party candidate nationally, was on the Oklahoma ballot as the „Farmer-Labor“ Party candidate and got 8.78% of the vote.


Therefore, in the first cycles of Oklahoma's electoral history, 3 cycles were minority wins, 2 cycles were bare-majority wins and three of 5 wins were middle-single-digit wins.


That all changed in 1928: Herbert Hoover swept the Sooner State with 
62.75% of the vote and a landslide +25.49% margin, larger than his national margin. This was the first landslide in Oklahoma's history, but would be far outdone by FDR four years later.

Unlike VT and ME in the Northeast, OK was not able to resist the FDR landslide in 1932: Roosevelt won with 
73.30% of the PV and a massive +46.59% margin, way over his national +17.76% margin. FDR's 1932 romp in OK is the largest Democratic landslide in OK's history and the second largest overall, right behind Nixon's 1972 win. Not to forget is that the Dustbowl region of the USA was especially hard hit during the Great Depression, which started in 1929 under Hoover's (R) watch.

In 1936, FDR's margin shrink to a still massive 
+34.14% and 66.83% of the popular vote for incumbent FDR. The margin shrunk again in 1940: FDR +15.18%, and it shrunk again in 1944: FDR +11.36% over Thomas Dewey (R). But in all four cases, OK gave the President margins above his national margin.


Whereas a slew of other states fled the Democratic Party in 1948, OK remained faithful and gave incumbent Truman a landslide 
+25.49% win, again over Thomas Dewey. Truman did far better than FDR from 1940 or 1944 here. Republicans were beginning to despair and thought that OK was destined to become a Democratic state in the middle of the breadbasket of the nation.

That sense changed in 1952. Though Eisenhower was a son of Texas, Oklahoma gave him a solid, almost landslide 
+9.15% win, very reminiscent of FDR from 20 years earlier. In 1956, Eisenhower increased his margin very little, to +10.26%. In 1956, Oklahoma was conservative ranking number 36 of 38 states that Ike won in that year.

Nixon fared far better in the Sooner State than his predecessor: he took OK with 
+18.04% margin, in spite of an incredibly close national race (Kennedy +0.16%). In 1960, Oklahoma was conservative ranking number 3 of Nixon's 25 states..


The Johnson (D) pick-up of OK in 1964 looked like a repeat performance of FDR 1944: Johnson 
+11.49% (in 1944, it was FDR +11.36%). And the percentages are even closer: FDR with 55.57% in 1944, Johnson with 55.75% in 1964. Unlike ID, which Johnson just barely pulled „over the line“ with a +1.81% margin, he captured OK with a landslide. OK was the 37th of 45 Democratic states in 1964, which also means conservative ranking 15.

In 1968, in spite of a three-man race, Nixon won OK with a healthy landslide 
+15.70% margin, but a minority win of 47.68%. OK was the 8th most conservative state in the 1968 partisan rankings. In 1972, Nixon expanded his margin to a massive, record-setting +49.70%. OK was the 3th most conservative state in the 1972 partisan rankings.

1976 was the last time that Oklahoma seriously considered a Democratic candidate, namely, a Southern Democrat named Jimmy Carter. Gerald Ford squeezed out a 
+1.21% win in the Sooner State, setting the „squeaker record“ for the state.


Here once again the 10-cycle table from above:

Oklahoma:

Year
Rank
Winning %
% Margin
Part. Value
Swing“
National Swing
Trend
2008
50 / 02
65.65%
+31.29%
+38.55%
+0.15%
+9.72%
+9.87
2004
47 / 05
65.67%
+31.14%
+28.68%
+9.26%
+2.98%
+6.28
2000
43 / 09
60.31%
+21.88%
+22.40%
+14.07%
+8.00%
+6.07%
1996
44 / 08
48.26%
+7.81%
+16.01%
-0.81%
+2.96%
+2.15
1992
44 / 08
42.65%
+8.62%
+14.18%
-8.03%
+13.29%
+5.26
1988
36 / 16
57.93%
+16.65%
+8.92%
-21.29%
-10.49%
+10.80
1984
47 / 05
68.61%
+37.94%
+19.72%
+12.41%
+8.48%
+3.93
1980
41 / 11
60.50%
+25.53%
+15.79%
+24.32%
+11.80%
+12.52
1976
28 / 24
49.96%
+1.21%
+3.27%
-48.49%
+25.21%
+23.28
1972
49 / 03
73.70%
+49.70%
+26.55%
+34.00%
+22.45%
+11.55

The table makes it very clear that from at least 1980, the Democratic Party has had no real chance in OK.


Ronald Reagan had massive margins in both 1980 and 1986, but did not come close to Nixon's statistic from 1972.

From 1984 through 2008, we see an „hourglass effect“ in the margins: for three cycles after 1984, the margins shrunk steadily, for three cycles after that, they rose steadily. But the Partisan Values (statewide margin minus the national margin) have been steadily rising since 1988, which means that more and more of the Oklahoma electorate is voting Republican above the national margin with every passing cycle. More on this when I get to 2008.


It is interesting to note that OK was a minority win in both 1992 and 1996. As a matter of fact, Oklahoma has had 6 minority wins in it's history, more than any of the other „11er“s.



George W. Bush, Jr.'s massive re-election win in OK in 2004 places him between Reagan's two elections.


John McCain's massive landslide win in OK was an almost 1 to 1 photocopy of the results from 2004, but still swung minutely to the GOP. West Virginia also had a very small swing, but not as small as OK's. The difference in percentage between Bush 2004 and McCain 2008 is just 
0.02%. The difference in margin is just 0.15% (0.23% in WV). But in spite of that, since the national sand shift so much under their feet toward the left, so to speak, the Partisan Value in OK is 10% higher than it was for Bush in 2004. John McCain's win in OK was also:

-the third largest GOP landslide of the 16 GOP wins in the state's history, after Nixon 1972 and Reagan 1984, and just ahead of Bush 2004.

-Including Democratic wins, it is the fifth largest landslide overall of all 26 cycles in the state's history, after Nixon 1972, FDR 1932, Reagan 1984 and FDR 1936.

-by far the largest GOP win in a year where a Democrat won the White House. This has happened five times in Oklahoma:

1976: Ford +1.21% (Carter won the GE)
1996: Dole +7.81% (Clinton won the GE)
1992: Bush, Sr. +8.62% (Clinton won the GE)
1960: Nixon +18.04% (Kennedy won the GE)
2008: McCain +31.29% (Obama won the GE)

-one of five states that actually swung toward the GOP in 2008 (OK, WV, TN, LA, AR – in ascending order of swing), whereas the other 45 states plus DC swung toward the Democratic party.

-the only one of those five aforementioned states that did not go for Bill Clinton in both 1992 and 1996.

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

-So, under the surface and in light of the state's history, John McCain's landslide is much more impressive than most people realize.


-Obama's losing percentage in OK (
34.35%) sets no records. It is just slightly less than Kerry 2004 (34.43%, difference = 0.08%) but more than Clinton 1992. In a pure two-man race, both Carter 1976 and Dukakis 1988 did better in the Sooner State.


One more note: a lot of buzz went through the blogosphere after 2008 about President Obama's „Appalachia“ problem and that he probably lost so big in Appalachia due to racism, but once again, and as I also argued in the case of West Virginia, there is no statistical evidence from Oklahoma to prove this. For West Virginia, I wrote that  the interpretation of the results in WV

shows no statistical difference in voting between 2004 and 2008 based on the race of the candidate. Accusations were made that certain states would be absolute no-go's for Obama because of his race, but the figures in 2008 vis-a-vis are almost identical to each other (as they are also in OK) and the voter turnout in WV was actually LOWER than in 2004: VT growth rate of -5.43%. Those same states were also absolute no-gos for John Kerry, so the accusations cannot be proven by these statistics. Had there been a shift from+12.86% for Bush in 2004 to, say, +30.00% for McCain in 2008 and 100,000 more voters had shown up, perhaps one could – at a stretch – make a claim that racism powered the results in WV, but this was not the case. Remember, WV just rejected a Southern Democrat in 2000 and a Northeastern „Liberal“ ala Dukakis in 2004, why would it not reject another Northern liberal, regardless of race? „


Absolutely THE SAME applies here: the VT in OK was also slightly lower than in 2004 and the results truly are practically identical to each other, 2008 over 2004. Had there been a shift from 
+31% for Bush in 2004 to +49% for McCain in 2008, ala Nixon 1972, and had another 230,000 new voters showed up as they did in 2004 over 2000, then I could maybe – at a stretch – make a claim that racism powered the results in OK. And, as was the case with WV, OK rejected a Southern Democrat in 2000, 1996, 1992, 1980 and 1976 - and it rejected a Northern Liberal in 1988 and 1984. So, why would it not reject another Northern Liberal in 2008?

Important details about OK:


Republicans:


-Since OK's entrance into the Electoral College in 1892, 8 Republican presidents have won OK: Harding, Hoover (1928, not 1932), Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43.

-three 1-Term Republicans lost OK as a pick-up to the Democratic Party in their election or re-election attempt: Taft (1908, 1912), Coolidge (1924), Hoover (1932).

Democrats:




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

-Two Democratic challengers who lost the GE to a Republican have won OK: Bryan (1908), Davis (1924)

Independents:


No independent candidate has ever won OK.There have also been 7 cycles where there was 0.00% for the Independent and fourth party votes, meaning that only the Democratic and the Republican tickets were on the ballot in OK: 1932, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 2004 and 2008. The longest independent "impulse" this state had was with the Socialist Party in the early part of the 20th century.


Based on its voting record, OK is not bellwether state, having missed the Electoral College winner in 7 of the last 26 cycles and having missed the PV winner in 8 of the last 27 cycles – all but two of these misses happened from 1960 onward.



Can OK become a battleground in 2012?


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

OK Superlatives
YEAR
Candidate
Winning %
Winning margin
GOP
1972
Nixon
73.70%
+49.70%
DEM
1932
FDR
+73.30%
+46.59%
IND
1992
Perot
23.01%
Best Ind showing 
---------------------




All-time "squeaker"
1976
Ford
49.96%
+1.21% 


In Oklahoma, the Governor, Lt. Governor, both Senators and 4 of 1 US Representatives are all Republicans. One US Representative is a Democrat. In the 
Oklahoma Legislature, the Republicans have hypermajorities in both Houses..

Facit: 
in 2007, I wrote: „Oklahoma is one of the safer Republican "firewall"-states, but not with the same consistent extremely high margins as Utah or Wyoming. „


Facit 2011: That changed in 2008, not because Oklahoma suddenly hit the +40% mark, but because margins for all those states that had been above OK in the partisan rankings (i.e., UT, WY) were so greatly reduced and Oklahoma essentially stood still. Oklahoma is still an absolutely safe „firewall“ state.

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