As we recover from our catastrophic defeat in 2012, we have liberals and progressives, especially in the media, telling what’s wrong with us – and what we need to do in order to change. Yes, like we’re going to take advice from our enemies. “We’re too extreme, conservatives, or radical on social issues” is one critique that comes within our own ranks, which National Review’s Jonah Goldberg touched upon in his January 18 column. Former DNC chair Howard Dean even said that “the culture war is over” – and liberals won. However, he did say that most young people are conservative due to government spending and largesse. Regardless, our progressive neighbors now run the table in the electoral college – with twenty decidedly blue states over our twelve red ones.
According to Gallup:
There were more solidly blue states than solidly red states in the U.S. in 2012, by a margin of 20 to 12. After the District of Columbia, the most Democratic-leaning states in 2012 were Hawaii, Maryland, Rhode Island, New York, and Massachusetts — where Democrats held at least 20-percentage-point advantages in party identification. Republicans enjoyed this lopsided an advantage in Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho.
Connecticut, Vermont, Illinois, and Delaware round out the top 10 most Democratic states. Thus, eight of the top 10 are located in the East.
The top 10 Republican states have a very different geographic profile, with three of the states located in the Midwest (North Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas), two in the South (Alabama and Oklahoma), and five in the West…these state and regional patterns closely mirror President Barack Obama’s state-level job approval ratings in 2012.
Fourteen states met the threshold for “solid Democratic” states in 2012, adding Michigan and Minnesota to the 12 that met that threshold in 2011. The Democrats had a net loss of one Democratic-leaning state, losing West Virginia and Kentucky (in addition to Michigan and Minnesota), but picking up Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Oregon. Thus, overall, 20 states were in the Democratic column in 2012, up from 19 in 2011, but still significantly fewer than Gallup found in 2008 and 2009.
In 2012, Republicans lost a total of five GOP-advantage states, including four Republican-leaning states (Indiana, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas) and one solid Republican state (South Dakota). While down from a total of 17 states in 2011, the Republicans’ current 12 remains higher than in 2008 through 2010.
Yes, we all know we have a demographic challenge ahead of us. However, some on the right, like Charles Krauthammer, aren’t convinced since we’re historically a right-of-center nation, which he reiterated at the National Review Institute Summit last week. However, we do need to engage young people more, and utilize social media to do it. Romney’s investment on that end in his 2012 race was nothing short of laughable, with Obama outspending him 10:1 – which lead to this.
Now, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some areas that are suspicious with Gallup’s analysis. First, Obama didn’t win any of West Virginia’s fifty-five counties, yet it’s listed as competitive. The last time West Virginians voted Democratic was in 1996. Furthermore, they have Oklahoma listed as leaning Republican based on voter ID, but the state has more registered Democrats than Republicans. Oklahoma’s evangelical base is why they tend to vote Republican in national elections, and why Rick Sanotrum did well in the 2012 primary there.
Above all, to list Texas as competitive, or leaning blue, is a bit premature. The Texas state legislature is Republican dominated, and Hispanics tend to vote conservative in elections. As Sean Higgins at The Washington Examiner noted after the 2012 elections:
[O]ne local pollster, Austin-based Mark [sic] Baselice… told the Texas Tribune:
While Romney and Cruz got lopsided support from white voters, as the presidential ticket did nationally, pre-election surveys by Mike Baselice suggest Romney did 12 to 15 percentage points better with Hispanics in Texas than in California. Obama’s big share of the Latino vote in California more closely mirrors his performance in battleground states.
After comparing surveys from California and Texas, Baselice also said Hispanics self-identify as moderate and conservative at significantly higher rates in Texas. In California, 37 percent of Hispanics call themselves conservative, 30 percent say they’re moderate and 33 percent embrace the liberal label.
In Texas, 46 percent of Hispanics say they are conservative, 36 percent are moderate and 18 percent say they are liberal, Baselice said.
California exit polls gave Romney 27 percent of the Latino vote, about what he got nationally. If Baselice is correct, that means Romney got between 39-42 percent of the Latino vote in Texas. That’s badly down from President Bush’s 49 percent of the Latino vote in 2004. It is up from the 35 percent share of the Latino vote McCain got in Texas in 2008 though, suggesting the GOP is not tumbling off a cliff with that group in the state. At least not yet.
In both 2004 and 2008, the Latino share of the vote in Texas was 20 percent. I couldn’t find any data on the Latino share of the electorate in 2012. Presumably it has grown, though without exit polls it is hard to say.
“Hispanics vote more Republican in Texas than they seem to do elsewhere. We have a long history of that,” Baselice said. “It’s a more conservative state. People are raised in a different environment and exposed to different things here.”