[Last update 00may28]

Relative Political Party Strength
in Presidential Elections

 

An analysis of each state's preferences in Presidential Elections

In the 1960 Brookings Institution study The Politics of National Party Conventions (by David, Goldman and Bain), there was an attempt made to determine which states were Democratic, Republican or Competitive (neither) in presidential elections over periods made up of 8 presidential elections each. The criteria that was used to determine this was as follows: if a party's presidential candidate won a given state in at least 6 of the 8 elections each period covered, that state was considered to be the bastion of the respective of one or the other party; if a party's presidential candidate won a given state 5 times out of the 8 or less, the state was deemed to have been "Competitive".

We will apply the Brookings Institution criteria for the period of 1968-1996 and add refinements based on each state's preferences during the last 2-3 Presidential Elections.

For Democratic and Republican States (one party carried the state in 6 out of the last 8 elections) - from most to least attached to a given political party:

  • if a party also won the last three presidential elections ('88, '92 and '96), it would be considered STRONGLY Democratic or STRONGLY Republican.
  • if that state voted for the OTHER party over the last two presidential elections ('92 and '96), it would be considered SOMEWHAT Democratic or SOMEWHAT Republican.
  • if a state met neither of the above criteria it would be considered MODERATELY Democratic or MODERATELY Republican.

For Competitive States (neither party carried the state in 6 out of the last 8 elections) - from most to least attached to a given political party:

  • if a state voted for a given party's presidential candidate over the last three presidential elections ('88, '92, and '96), it would be considered to be LEANING Democratic or LEANING Republican.
  • Otherwise, it would be considered to be TRULY competitive.

Going from Left (Democrat) to Right (Republican) on the political spectrum:

strongly DEMOCRAT (5 states & D.C., 38 electoral votes)

leaning DEMOCRAT (5 states, 69 electoral votes)

truly COMPETITIVE (13 states, 145 electoral votes)

somewhat REPUBLICAN (7 states, 107 electoral votes)

moderately REPUBLICAN (4 states, 44 electoral votes)

strongly REPUBLICAN (16 states, 135 electoral votes)


Sectional and Regional Politics

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