Gallup: Partisan tilt of states nearly even

posted at 2:41 pm on January 29, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

What exactly is the state of the union on politics? At the state-by-state level, it’s getting more Republican again. Gallup analyzed its polling data for 2013 and determined that the GOP picked up three states for the “solid Republican” category, pulling into a tie with Democrats in the analogous category, and nearly tying overall:

Blue states outnumbered red states in the U.S. last year, 17 to 14, according to Gallup Daily tracking of party preferences. That three-state advantage for the Democrats is down from a seven-state lead for the Democrats in 2012, and well short of their 30-state lead in 2008 — Gallup’s first year of state measurement. Still, it’s larger than the near-tie in the party balance of states found in 2011.

The biggest change in the party profile of the states in 2013 was the Republicans’ gain of three solidly Republican states — meaning those where Republicans outnumbered Democrats by at least 10 percentage points. Those additions were South Carolina, South Dakota, and Oklahoma. However, this was partly offset by a net loss of one Republican-leaning state. At the same time, Democrats had net losses of one solid and one Democratic-leaning state, while the number of competitive states was unchanged.

Overall, the most Democratic-leaning states in 2013 were New York, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maryland, all showing 20-point or better Democratic advantages in party identification. Gallup considers another seven states to be “solidly Democratic,” by virtue of their 10-point or better Democratic advantage.

The most Republican-leaning states were Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota, Idaho, Kansas, and Alaska, all with 20-point or more Democratic deficits. Another six states qualify as solidly Republican, with Democratic deficits ranging from -10 to -17.

The use of 2011 for the comparison is intriguing, for a couple of reasons. First, control of the House produced a number of budget crises in that year, which conventional wisdom holds was more damaging to Republicans than Democrats. Yet in that year, Democrats lost two states from its “solid” hold and four overall, and the GOP picked up five “solid” and two leaners. Despite the big push by Team Obama in 2012, the GOP dropped four combined while Democrats only gained one. Instead, the competitive field increased to 19 states, where it remained in 2013, the highest levels since at least 2008.

However, 2010 should be the real comparison year. That was the midterm year in which Barack Obama finally succeeded in passing ObamaCare, and then got “shellacked” by his own estimation in November. Democrats took that pasting despite having a +12 advantage over Republicans in states, 22/10, and a +8 in “solids,” 13/5. That was a dramatic drop from 2009, when Democrats enjoyed a +28 advantage, and yet still lost in New Jersey, Virginia, and a special election in Massachusetts at the very beginning of 2010.

Compared to 2010, Republicans have four more states and Democrats five fewer. And that’s mostly before the disaster of the ObamaCare rollout, which will play out all year long in 2014. When the employer mandate takes effect in the fall and businesses start dropping coverage and pushing employees into ObamaCare, expect those ratios to shift again — perhaps dramatically.

John Fund explains how that will play out in the Senate races this year if the trend continues:

National Journal, a wonkish guide to Washington politics and policy, has afascinating article detailing just how hard it is for a party to hold a Senate majority when an unpopular president of the same party is in the White House. “Over the last decade, just nine Senate candidates have won elections with a president of their party below his national approval average in their state,” National Journalconcluded. “That’s about one success in every ten races.”

On that score, the 2014 Senate playing field is potentially brutal for Democrats. Democrats are defending seats in five states — Arkansas, Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia — where Obama’s approval rating was at or below 35 percent in 2013, according to Gallup. In four other states where Democrats hold a Senate seat that’s up in 2014, Obama’s approval rating was well below his national average of 46 percent: Louisiana (40 percent), Colorado and Iowa (42 percent), and North Carolina (43 percent). In Oregon, New Hampshire, and New Mexico the president had a 45 percent job-approval rating, just below his national average. That’s a whopping total of 11 Democratic seats that could potentially be in play this November.

Republicans also have seats they must defend, but far fewer of them. In Georgia, where the GOP must defend an open seat, Obama’s approval rating of 45 percent is below his national average. In Kentucky, where Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell is running for reelection, only 35 percent of voters have a favorable view of the president.

At the same time, the stalled job market will also play a big role in this trend. In the WSJ/NBC poll preceding the State of the Union speech yesterday, more than 90% of respondents chose jobs as the priority issue, and Obama offered nothing more than “stay the course.”  Investors Business Daily editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez gives us the real state of the union these days:


Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history.  Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here.  And don’t forget to check out the entire site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.
Update: “Senate races this week” should have been “this year.” I’ve fixed it above.

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


The problem is that they have to just want to vote for change before realizing the Republicans won’t be very much different.

Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 2:42 PM

obama doesn’t care about you, rats.

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Bank on the Rs to fluke it up.

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 2:43 PM

“Partisan tilt”? Is that why Guam might tip over?

viking01 on January 29, 2014 at 2:44 PM

And some traitor Republicans want to rush to pass illegal alien amnesty now?

bluegill on January 29, 2014 at 2:45 PM


Funding of the ins. co., by pluticrats like obama and his RINO lovers

…and Pelosi will be Speaker in 2015, Reid will still be the thug in charge and any leftist will be president in 2017.

Must teach them a lesson the hard way, the traitors of the land and her constitution!

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Forgot the link, on plutocrat 1%r obama

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Amnesty and caving on the debt ceiling will solve this problem.

jukin3 on January 29, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Don’t worry, the economy will save the Dems.

NotCoach on January 29, 2014 at 2:49 PM

If Obama didn’t declare that the state of the union sucks, then he’s a liar. Since 2009 when he took office, there has been nothing positive to report but year-after-year he pretends that things are super and the media goes along with the lie. He featured a soldier badly injured in Afghanistan…… 75% of all combat casualties in Afghanistan have happened under this President. A record number of Americans are on food stamps. There is no good news to report to the Congress.

And what did we see last night? Concern about illegals, gay basketball players, and the mythology that Obamacare is helping more people than it is harming.

Happy Nomad on January 29, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Don’t worry, the economy GOP will save the Dems.

NotCoach on January 29, 2014 at 2:49 PM


ElectricPhase on January 29, 2014 at 2:54 PM

The picture here is the important one.

The GOP should target all of these grey states in 2016. The RNC should start funneling money to those even before the first primaries.

Chris of Rights on January 29, 2014 at 2:56 PM

I fear for the Republic…

Khun Joe on January 29, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Ramirez is such a cool and talented, courageous national treasure.

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Funding of the ins. co., by pluticrats plutocrats

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 3:01 PM

If Governor Martinez could get rid of illegal aliens being allowed to vote, NM would probably move from leaning Dem to Neutral.

LegendHasIt on January 29, 2014 at 3:02 PM

If Governor Martinez could get rid of illegal aliens being allowed to vote, NM would probably move from leaning Dem to Neutral.

LegendHasIt on January 29, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Racist, you :)

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 3:02 PM

The problem is that they have to just want to vote for change before realizing the Republicans won’t be very much different.

Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 2:42 PM


besser tot als rot on January 29, 2014 at 3:07 PM

On amnesty and polls…

If Ryan et all cave to the Dems on amnesty it will immediately make more states tilt Democrat in simple polling, as a prime factor motivating many otherwise Dem leaning independents is there opposition to amnesty. With that off the table, they drift toward the Dems. So, don’t do amnesty!

Also, a more complex analysis will show that amnesty would not only make a large fraction of independents move toward the Dems, but as is pretty much self-evident, it would make much of the Republican base lack enthusiasm for the Republicans, which would swell the “missing white vote.” That would be devastating. Period.

In the longer term, of course, amnesty would cause to a dramatic increase in the number of Dem voting Hispanics, as illegals and their relatives from down south, and their bountiful children, gain citizenship and vote. Not good.

As Drudge linked: Paul Ryan joins the Dems in cheering Obama’s calls for immigration “reform”.

anotherJoe on January 29, 2014 at 3:08 PM

It’s encouraging if you look at both the number of states and the trend. Unfortunately, it’s far worse if you consider it an indicator of a presidential election, and look at it by electoral votes in each state…

Solidly Democratic: DC (3), New York (29), Hawaii (4), Rhode Island (4), Massachusetts (11), Maryland (10), Vermont (3), California (55), Illinois (20), Delaware (3), New Jersey (14), Connecticut (7), New Mexico (5) = 168 EVs

Lean Democratic: Michigan (16), Washington (12), Oregon (7), Maine (4), Minnesota (10) = 49 EVs

Competitive: Florida (29), Pennsylvania (20), Nevada (6), Kentucky (8), West Virginia (5), Wisconsin (10), Ohio (18), Arizona (11), North Carolina (15), Virginia (13), Louisiana (8), Iowa (6), Georgia (16), Missouri (10), Arkansas (6), Colorado (9), Texas(38), New Hampshire (4), Indiana (11) = 243 EVs

Lean Republican: Mississippi (6), Tennessee (11) = 17 EVs

Solid Republican: South Carolina (9), Alabama (9), Oklahoma (7), Montana (3), Nebraska (5), South Dakota (3), Alaska (3), Kansas (6), Idaho (4), North Dakota (3), Utah (6), Wyoming (3) = 61 EVs

Total Democratic EVs: 217 EVs
Total Competitive EVs: 243 EVs
Total Republican EVs: 78 EVs

However, you can again find an upside if you look at the “competitive” states: KY, WV, LA, GA, AR, MO, TX, IN, and to a lesser extent NC are pretty reliably red in a presidential contest. Only WI, PA, and NH are reliably blue (with the latter 2 having histories of being red).

Stoic Patriot on January 29, 2014 at 3:10 PM

I think the Ramirez cartoon would be better if it was pink slips for insurance that we were promised we could keep if we liked it.

COgirl on January 29, 2014 at 3:16 PM

It’s kind of scary that Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas and Kentucky don’t at least lean Republican.

TarheelBen on January 29, 2014 at 3:40 PM

The only reason Texas doesn’t come off as solidly Republican is because they overpoll Dallas County, Harris County, Bexar County, and Travis County, the first three of which are now overwhelmingly black and hispanic. The last, Travis County, is a notorious lib-dem bastion. The other 250 counties in Texas (excepting only those few down in the Rio Grande Valley) are about 90% republican.

Tom Servo on January 29, 2014 at 4:14 PM

I don’t think anything can really stop the bleeding at this point. At best the GOP is a tourniquet due to at least the TEA Party being involved. It’s like two crime syndicates stepping on each other’s toes from time to time, but ultimately they seem to want pretty much the same thing.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 29, 2014 at 4:28 PM

But given potential differences in partisanship between the state adult population and the voting electorate, state partisanship doesn’t always match state voting patterns…

Texas is listed as competitive, but votes 100% Repub at the statewide and national level.

juliesa on January 29, 2014 at 4:31 PM

Stoic Patriot on January 29, 2014 at 3:10 PM

Exactly what I thought. What we may have overlooked is this bodes well in the senate as population does not matter.

FOWG1 on January 29, 2014 at 4:55 PM

Must teach them a lesson the hard way, the traitors of the land and her constitution!

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 2:46 PM

No way to teach a lesson to those who are more than content with the status quo. They sit in their nice jobs, on public dole, err, salaries and bennies, and need to simply keep up an image of “we’re trying”.

You’re assuming we’re talking people with ethics and beliefs here. Big mistake, IMO.

riddick on January 29, 2014 at 8:53 PM