A number of you think I worry about the 2016 presidential election for no good reason. Democrats have won the popular vote in four of the last five elections! Young people are far more Democratic than Republican! Non-whites lean Democratic and make up an ever-larger portion of the electorate! So why shouldn't we expect this year's Democratic nominee to win at least every state Barack Obama won four years ago, and possibly more?
This is why:
Red States Outnumber Blue for First Time in Gallup TrackingNow, Gallup has tracked this only since 2008 -- a time when America was disgusted by Republican rule. So a decline in the number of Democratic states was inevitable. But there's been an 8-state swing in one year. That's not good.
Gallup's analysis of political party affiliation at the state level in 2015 finds that 20 states are solidly Republican or leaning Republican, compared with 14 solidly Democratic or leaning Democratic states. The remaining 16 are competitive. This is the first time in Gallup's eight years of tracking partisanship by state that there have been more Republican than Democratic states.
Here's the map now:
Here was the map four years ago:
Optimists say, Which states could the Republicans possibly win in 2016 that they lost four years ago? Well, look at the two maps. Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania were all either solidly Democratic or leaning Democratic in 2012; now they're all competitive.
Combined, those threestates have a total of 46 electoral votes. If this year's Republican presidential candidate wins all the Romney states -- Romney won 206 electoral votes -- plus those three states, that's a nailbiter of a race: the GOP has 252, with 270 needed to win. And other "competitive" states include several states won by Barack Obama where Republicans have done extremely well in senatorial and/or gubernatorial elections in recent years: Wisconsin (10 electoral votes), Ohio (18), Iowa (6), Florida (29).
I'm not saying a GOP victory is inevitably going to happen. I'm saying it would be foolish to assume it can't happen. Yes, there could be another Democratic victory in November. But it's far from inevitable.