Vulnerability Index for House Elections

Over the holidays, SSP readers seemed to have a lot of fun with the vulnerable House Republicans and vulnerable House Democrats threads. This left me wondering, as so many things seem to do, “is there a way to quantify that?” In other words, is there a data-driven way to approach the question instead of just relying on perceptions (and also to make sure that potentially overlooked races don’t fall through the cracks)?

Here’s what I tried. It’s actually a bit reminiscent of my PVI/Vote Index, in that it measures representative performance against the district’s lean, except here performance is measured by the rep’s margin in the last election. (The data for many of the 2008 electoral margins is available in the recent “How’d We Do?” post, conveniently arranged in order from closest to least close.)

Look at the top 20 most vulnerable Republicans to see how it works. As pretty much everyone would expect, Anh Cao in LA-02 is the most vulnerable GOPer. He had the 5th weakest margin of any Republican who survived 2008 (beating Bill Jefferson by 2.7%, behind only Fleming (0.4%), McClintock (0.6%), Calvert (2.4%), and Luetkemeyer (2.5%). Needless to say, he’s in the GOP-held district with the least favorable PVI (D+28, using “old,” i.e. 00-04, PVI). At #2 is Jim Gerlach in PA-06; he had the 9th worst margin at 4.2%, and he’s in the 6th worst district for a GOPer at D+2. And so on…

District Rep. Margin
LA-02 Cao 5 1 6
PA-06 Gerlach 9 6 15
IL-10 Kirk 13 4 17
WA-08 Reichert 16 5 21
MI-11 McCotter 17 16 33
MN-03 Paulsen 22 12 34
NJ-07 Lance 24 13 37
OH-12 Tiberi 34 14 48
CA-50 Bilbray 11 40 51
MN-06 Bachmann 6 46.5 52.5
FL-25 Diaz-Balart 18 37 55
CA-44 Calvert 3 55 58
AL-03 Rogers 25 34 59
LA-04 Fleming 1 60 61
FL-15 Posey 31 30.5 61.5
MN-02 Kline 39 23 62
CA-26 Dreier 33 30.5 63.5
MO-09 Luetkemeyer 4 60 64
NY-26 Lee 38 27 65
PA-15 Dent 58 8 66

Is this much different from SSP readers’ predictions? No, not much; it’s the wisdom of crowds at work. Still, I see a few names on there that didn’t get much of any mention in our prediction thread: especially Pat Tiberi in OH-12 (34th worst margin at 12.6%, 14th worst district at R+1) who seems to fly under the radar every single freakin’ election. Other names revealed by this list that wouldn’t necessarily be intuitive picks include Thad McCotter, John Kline, Mike Rogers (AL), and Bill Posey, who benefited from our big-time recruitment failure in the FL-15 open seat.

Here’s the flipside: the Democratic seats that seem likeliest to flip, based on 2008 numbers. Some of these may not be much cause for alarm; Chet Edwards, for instance, is probably not in any imminent danger except in case of a 1994-sized event, but he’s probably doomed to uncomfortable margins for all eternity. On the other hand, time will tell whether Walt Minnick can quickly fortify himself, or if we’re only renting ID-01 for a couple years.

District Rep. Margin
ID-01 Minnick 5 1 6
AL-02 Bright 2 5 7
MD-01 Kratovil 4 10 14
TX-17 Edwards 19 2 21
VA-05 Perriello 1 26.5 27.5
AL-05 Griffith 10 20 30
MS-01 Childers 25.5 8.5 34
NY-29 Massa 6 29.5 35.5
VA-02 Nye 15.5 22 37.5
CO-04 Markey 34 11.5 45.5
PA-10 Carney 35 14 49
GA-08 Marshall 39 13 52
FL-08 Grayson 12.5 44 56.5
MI-07 Schauer 7 49.5 56.5
NM-02 Teague 33 23.5 56.5
WI-08 Kagen 20 38.5 58.5
OH-15 Kilroy 3 58 61
AZ-05 Mitchell 23 38.5 61.5
PA-03 Dahlkemper 8 54 62
OH-16 Boccieri 27.5 40 67.5

More over the flip…

In describing this method to DavidNYC, he quite rightly asked “Wait, does this thing actually work?” So, after a lot more data entry and some testing based on how well the 2006 numbers would have predicted the 2008 results, I can conclude it does work fairly well. Here is what the 2006 numbers would have predicted for GOP held seats in 2008.

District Rep. Margin
NM-01 Wilson 3 7 10
NY-25 Walsh 9 5 14
PA-06 Gerlach 7 9 16
CT-04 Shays 16 2 18
WA-08 Reichert 14.5 8 22.5
NV-03 Porter 10 13 23
IL-10 Kirk 24 4 28
NJ-07 Ferguson 8 20.5 28.5
OH-15 Pryce 4.5 24.5 29
MI-09 Knollenberg 22 16 38
OH-01 Chabot 20 18.5 38.5
NC-08 Hayes 1.5 38.5 40
PA-15 Dent 33 11 44
FL-13 Buchanan 1.5 46.5 48
IL-06 Roskam 12.5 36.5 49
MI-07 Walberg 41 10 51
NY-03 King 17 34 51
AZ-01 Renzi 28 30.5 58.5
IL-11 Weller 34 24.5 58.5
NY-13 Fossella 45 14 59

One problem leapt out at me: the role of open seats, and the accompanying loss of the benefits of incumbency. So, I performed a tweak that took open seats into account (by taking out the margin, and just leaving the open seat’s strength based only on its PVI rating). That takes it a little closer to the way things actually shook out. 13 out of the top 20 were pickups, which seems like a good but not amazing rate of prediction.

Without doing a lot of putting your thumbs on the scales of individual races, I don’t know how you’d build a model that somehow predicted, say, Tom Feeney’s implosion, or the fizzle in the open seat in NM-02, or Dave Reichert’s confounding staying power, or Bob Roggio’s amazing lack of name recognition… or that Bill Sali was vulnerable (he was #106) if only because of sheer malice and stupidity. Any good prognostication has to include at least some kind of qualitative analysis of candidates’ levels of, well, suckiness.

By the way, in case you’re wondering what this formulation means would happen to Peter King’s seat if he bails out to run for NY-Sen, it would vault up to #2 on the list if it were open. (It’s the 7th most Dem PVI of any GOP-held seat, so for 2010 the score of 7 would slot an open NY-03 right before LA-02.) So, a year from now, once we have a sense of where seats will open up, I’ll have to revisit this project.

District Rep. Margin
NY-25 Open 0 5 5
NJ-03 Open 0 6 6
NM-01 Open 0 7 7
NY-13 Open 0 14 14
PA-06 Gerlach 7 9 16
CT-04 Shays 16 2 18
MN-03 Open 0 18.5 18.5
NJ-07 Open 0 20.5 20.5
VA-11 Open 0 20.5 20.5
WA-08 Reichert 14.5 18 22.5
NV-03 Porter 10 13 23
IL-11 Open 0 24.5 24.5
OH-15 Open 0 24.5 24.5
IL-10 Kirk 24 4 28
AZ-01 Open 0 30.5 30.5
MI-09 Knollenberg 22 16 38
OH-01 Chabot 20 18.5 38.5
NC-08 Hayes 1.5 38.5 40
NY-26 Open 0 42 42
PA-15 Dent 33 11 44

Finally, here’s what the 2006 numbers would have predicted for the Democratic-held seats in 2008, including the tweak for open seats (of which we didn’t have many). Three of the top 10 did, in fact, fall. Plus, LA-06 isn’t on the list because it changed hands during a special election. However, my back-of-the-envelope calculation for Cazayoux based on his 3% margin in the special election and an R+6.5 would’ve given him a score around 24, good for 4th place. On the other hand, the fifth Dem seat to fall, LA-02, clocks in at #187!

District Rep. Margin
GA-08 Marshall 4 9 13
AL-05 Open 0 17 17
KS-02 Boyda 11 11 22
IN-09 Hill 15 12.5 27.5
PA-10 Carney 18 10 28
TX-22 Lampson 29 4 33
NC-11 Shuler 23.5 12.5 36
WI-08 Kagen 6 30.5 36.5
TX-17 Edwards 39 1 40
FL-16 Mahoney 5 38.5 43.5
IL-08 Bean 21 23 44
AZ-05 Mitchell 14 30.5 44.5
UT-02 Matheson 43 2 45
NY-19 Hall 12.5 36 48.5
PA-04 Altmire 7.5 41 48.5
IN-02 Donnelly 25 26 51
IN-08 Ellsworth 44.5 8 52.5
CA-11 McNerney 20 33 53
TX-23 Rodriguez 26 27.5 53.5
OR-05 Open 0 55 55

58 thoughts on “Vulnerability Index for House Elections”

  1. Over 50 seats in two elections, it’s only natural to see the target list get tougher.  However, I’m impressed that our defense list doesn’t look much more vulnerable then theirs.  Yeah, Minnick and Kratovil are in trouble, but the others all faced top-tier opponents and prevailed.  Of course if things really go south guys like Perriello and Massa could find themselves swept out, but even in a neutral environment I think they hold on.

  2. My district isn’t on there because corrupt Feeney ost in a landslide.  Kosmas will probably draw a solid challenger, but should survive.

  3. Are the most endangered and also appear to be well on their way to being the worst members of Congress on our team this session.  Some seats you can’t win with Democrats.

  4. I for one don’t see Tom Perriello going anywhere. He is one of the more energetic, inspiring, and impressive candidates I’ve ever seen. He has done nothing but impress people in this district with what he’s done once he won (he has already introduced legislation to increase access to higher education.)

    He is also an organizer at heart. His focus will remain almost entirely on the rural southern part of the district.

    He’s only 34, and I think that this seat is Tom’s for as long as he wants it.

  5. Just b/c it’s Alabama?!?  The district is 33% african american, it was drawn by the dem legislature to be a democratic district.  Segall is 29 years old and a newcomer, made Red-to-Blue but didn’t get a dime, and was outspent 2-1.  The dem performance is in part based on the fact that presidential candidates haven’t run campaigns in Alabama and we didn’t run strong candidates in 06 and 04.  The guy has done NOTHING in congress.  

  6. is reporting that Todd Tiahrt (KS-04) is planning to join the melee for the open Senate seat in that state.  It’s hardly fertile territory for Democrats (59-40 for McCain) but the right Democrat, in an open seat situation, could make it a race.

  7. One possible concern is open seats may have too much of an advantage when the margin is set to 0.  To adjust for this, the margin could be considered missing data for open seats, with the total based solely on PVI (which in effect is the way it is calculated now).  But, for non-open seats, the margin and PVI would be averaged instead of summed.

    On the other hand, open seats are always the most likely to switch, so the way it is calculated now could be a better predictor of vulnerability.

  8. Cao’s district is the most Democratic Republican-held district by twenty points. Granted, you were only trying to rank by vulneariblity, but I’d like to see this tool try to predict more than relative order. After all, relative order means pretty much nothing excepts for us stats geeks – everybody else just notes who won and lost.

    Is there any kind of clever regressional analysis or similar you could do to take into account PVI (rather than just relative PVI) and size of margins over several cycles (rather than just order of margins over one cycle?)

  9. Outside of Cao, and exceptional candidates to take on Gerlach, McCotter and possibly Tiberi, realistically we are looking at the need for retirements to open up some legit targets.

  10. Hence the need for the qualitiative ‘suckiness’ (or non-suckiness) variable that I mentioned. Lance is a good fit for the district… maybe a little like Reichert in that way, in that he plays differently well in the different sub-districts of the district (his moderate Country Club Republicanism is fine for the rich eastern part of the district, and he’s from the rural, more conservative western part of the district so he already has a base there).

  11. I imagine some of those on the list will definitely head for comfortable lobbying jobs knowing they have targets on their backs.

    I think we could also get Dent, Dreier, and Bilbray with good candidates.

  12. My assessment at this point is that absent major retirements, D+5 is looking like the upper limit in the House for 2010.  D+0 might be more realistic.

    Which is not necessarily a problem IMHO, since replacements in fairly safe districts and quiet shifts leftward by incumbents tend to be where we get the increase in solid Democratic votes.  Roughly +10 per session/election.

  13. It’s hard to see 2010 being as good a year for us as 2006 or 2008.  We’ve already gotten most of the easy targets; the remaining Republicans in the House are either guys who are good fits for their district (i.e. Kirk) or they’re in very Republican districts.  Aside from that, Republicans who were able to survive both 2006 and 2008 are the kind of guys who tend to be very difficult to beat.  Look back at the Democrats who survived 1994 and see how many of them are still in Congress (or if they retired, how many of them were replaced by other Democrats.)  Here in Tennessee, Bart Gordon barely survived in 1994 and beat the same challenger in 1996, and hasn’t really had a close race since then (redistricting helped to be sure.)

  14. there’s any such thing as a neutral environment. If the “new normal” of 2006 and 2008 continues, we won’t lose more than a handful. If Obama takes a beating, all bets are off.  

  15. The 29th is certainly not a Dem-friendly district, but it’s occupants before Kuhl seemed pretty moderate. Houghton held roughly the same territory in the Southern Tier, I think, and was one of the most liberal House Republicans during his tenure.  So, what are we seeing here?  Vulnerable southerners and west-end Great Plains Democrats (Markey) being in serious trouble makes absolute sense, but when our fortunes on three of the four coasts (lncluding the Great Lakes) are booming so heavily, I really wonder about Massa. His district is much more Democratic than Carney in PA and yet he still seems almost as vulnerable.

  16. the state GOP knows that would be lose-lose (i.e. still lose the Senate race and lose open WA-08 too). Mmmaybe he’d get the green light if one of the Washington Senate seats were open for some reason, but even for an open seat a likable Republican (and Reichert and McKenna are the only ones they’ve got) starts behind the 8-ball for a statewide run in Washington.

  17. He’s voted with us on S-CHIP and one of the two major bills regarding fair wages.  That’s not a bad start at all.

  18. 1. The can vote with the party all the time and become just one termers

    or 2. they could work on entrenching themselves and slowly transition themselves to moderate/Gene Taylor like Dems

  19. I think one adjustment that would need to be made would be to account for the difference between Democrats running for open seats and those who knocked off an incumbent.  A Democrat who beat an incumbent Republican (particularly a 12-year incumbent) by less than one percent of the vote is different from a Democrat who won an open seat by less than one percent (i.e. Kilroy.)

  20. We don’t really think of anything in Alabama as intuitively likely to flip.  Rogers won his first election after redistricting and then won in 2004 and 2006 by 22 points, but relatively weak opposition had a lot to do with that.  Based on his vote for S-CHIP, though, Rogers certainly seems to think he’s vulnerable.

  21. Is that things will settle down and barring any big event that severly damages either party we’re going to hold somewhere between 240-260’ish seats for the next few cycles.  After that depends on what the GOP does.  If their party moderates it’s stances to attract a wider array of voters, notably Hispanics, they could see a real comeback.  If the GOP continues over the next few decades and changes it’s overall ideology little to none they are only going to see their share of the House and Senate erode further, pushing Democrats into the kind of super-majorities we held in the 1960’s and 70’s.  Though the super-majorities would be far more progressive given the southern conservative Dems no longer hold sway as they did in the post New Deal era.

  22. But you can never write off a race in Kansas given the KS GOP’s ability to eat it’s own.  Brutal primaries between the conservative and moderate wing of the Kansas GOP could allow a good Democratic candidate to steal an open race.

  23. Does anyone know Dan Glickman’s whereabouts these days?  His seat was Wichita-based too, I think. Also, any bench in the State House or Senate?  Looks from the map like we have State Rep. Ed Trimmer of Winfield, State Rep. Vincent Wetta of Wellington, and some Wichita legislators in the House and only State Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau in the upper chamber. Any of these folks any more than just low-lying backbenchers?

  24. Honestly, I can’t think of any instances of a Democratic congressman starting off his career conservative and moving left outside of cases where favorable redistricting caused the congressman to shift left.  Tauscher in California is an example of that.  

  25. When this district was created, Dem State Party Chair Turnham lost by, maybe, three points.  It’s only around R+4.  This should have been the focus, not AL-02, though I don’t begrudge the DCCC finding someone they saw as a really unusually strong candidate in Bobby Bright.  Not that he’ll come through that often, but…

  26. Sounds like a pretty good life…a damn sight better than being recruited into an increasingly Republican south Kansas district.  By the way, did the district look that much different when he held it?

  27. We’re at 257-178 currently, are we not?

    I do not think we have to wait a few decades for us to push to greater majorities.

    Not only will very unfavorable redistricting be undone in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan, but they still have people holding on to districts up north that they don’t exactly have a very full bench to turn to for successors.

    Exactly how old is Mike Castle now, anyway?

    We still have a number of Republican held seats in the old North that we can add to our majority or wipe out.

    New York has a couple of more, and we control the process completely there.  

    Gerlach’s seat is not going to last much longer, even if he stays.  If he leaves it open, we definitely take it.  Dent’s district is Democratic leaning to begin with.  It can easily be made more so.  

    Given the progress we’ve seen in other places, Obama going 47.7-51.4 in Pitt’s 16th district, the number of seats we can win over the next decade alone might be more than even some our more optimistic members here think.

    If you convince people that we can, we can.

    The GOP unchanged over two or three decades?  What GOP would be the real question then.

  28. there are a slew of well known well financed Republicans with a reputation for being moderate who can run against him in this district. With the State Senate in Democratic hands, once soon-to-be powerful rising star Republicans from the Southern Tier may try to take on Massa; George Winner, Catharine Young. Assemblyman James Bacalles has developed a pretty wide reputation in the area. He’s been in the Assembly for 14 years and represents the heart of the 29th.

    But I’m not so sure Massa is all that vulnerable. I think Massa is in a Chris Carney/Jerry McNerney/Jason Altmire situation, which is to say he seems more vulnerable than he actually may be.  

  29. The district boundaries havn’t changed much.  But the people who live there are much more batshit crazy then they were when Glickman represented them.

  30. Assuming Carney survives in 2010, which he probably will, he should get at least a somewhat more favorable district in 2012.  To be honest I’m shocked he was able to not just hold on in 2008, but win handily against a decent challenger.  After his fluke win in 2006 due to Sherwood’s ethical problems I assumed he’d be sure loser in 2008.

  31. Ironically our current majority is exactly 1 seat less than we had following the 1992 elections, just before the 1994 disaster.  Of course our current majority is miles more progressive on most issues because the new Democratic majority is concentrated in the northeast and western states rather than in the south as to a lesser extent midwest as it was pre-1994.

    As for the future, the states with the highest growth, gaining the most seats will be in the southeast and southwest.  Most of the growth is Hiapanic and other minority growth.  If the GOP continues on the path it’s on with those groups they have a very dim future.  Thankfully they’ve shown no signs of adapting their party to this new reality.

  32. and his stances on issues helped. He has a reputation for not being all that partisan. He didn’t endorse in the presidential primary until the end and was critical of both Clinton and Obama, he’s pro-life, anti-gun control, and against marriage equality and wants to lower the estate tax.

    The Republicans had nothing to attack him on except his party registration and that didn’t seem to matter.

  33. which isn’t bad for this district.  My guess is that the district for Carney in 2012, probably going from Elk Co/State College/Lockhaven to Scranton will be one that Obama won narrowly.

  34. but the DCCC didn’t really fund him.  Segall probably would have been one of the more progressive white Congressman in the South had he won.  Would have been a much better investment than Bright.

  35. which makes the district you describe a bit difficult. Probably what will happen is that the most difficult bits of the district will just be removed. What you add in their place is a difficult question, but I’m not convinced that adding Scranton back in is the right answer.  

  36. to the other parts of the 5th, or a sliver of Centre County that contains Thompson’s home can be removed.  

    But I think State College and Lockhaven needs to be in Carney’s district in 2012.

  37. and anyone in Alabama will be against gay marriage.  He was an intern for Paul Wellstone coming out of college.  Segall also caught some flack because he was Jewish and that his dad was on board of the ACLU in Alabama.

  38. I don’t think it would be too difficult to remove GT’s home from the district.

    He’s in Howard.  String Howard and Curtain Townships in Curtain with Beech Creek and Grugan Townships in Clinton and you have connected GT’s home to extremely rural northwestern part of Lycoming County.  He’s still in the 5th district, then.  You could always leave the entire western part of Clinton County, East/West Keating to Grugan and Beech Creek Township, and take the rest of Clinton and Centre Counties into the 10th.

    If it is all about stringing Democratic areas together, than you could carve out the Taylor to Union Township stretch of Bald Eagle Valley out for the 9th and tack on part of eastern Clearfield, that Route 53 corridor from Coalport up.  There are a few other things you could do in that direction just to boost Democratic numbers.

    There are a number of ways to carve GT’s home out of the way.

    Actually, it would be just as easy to take Howard Township, the neighboring Marion-Walker area, along with the whole Penns Valley area and remove that from the district.

    Either way, you could still stretch Carney’s district to cover both State College and Lock Haven.

    However, the latter means throwing GT into the 9th.

  39. I don’t know the political geography of central PA so well beyond the fact that Centre county is swingy and the rest is pretty red.

    BTW, I’ve found that you can connect anything to pretty much anything, even if something else seems to get in the way, by using point contiguity.  

  40. “Segall opposes not only gay marriage and civil unions but also federal hate crimes legislation and federal anti-discrimination laws for gays and lesbians.”

    Anti-gay rights. Period. Just to be clear about it.

    He’d have been better than Bobby Bright, I agree, but I can’t say I would have welcomed this viewpoint.

  41. but not surprising given that district.  Still, I think Segall would have been among the best of the white Congresspeople from the South.  

    How someone whose father is on the ACLU board and worked for Paul Wellstone can be that hostile to gay rights, I do not understand.

  42. On a side note, the term “central PA” is interesting.

    In Centre County, they call their region “central PA”.  If you’ve ever heard any stations from Sundbury or Mount Carmel or Williamsport, they call their own area by that name.  The Harrisburg Patriot News refers to the capitol area as “central PA”.

    Sort of bizarre.

    However, as for the political geography of central PA as we are referring to it, it is not too hard to figure out.

    The whole State College area, the town and the surrounding townships are getting much bluer rather fast.  It is swinging, fast and in our direction.  You see that glorious blue spreading out.

    Rush Township and Philipsburg are historically Democratic, and Obama did take some of the precincts there.  He did underperform Democrats of the past and other Democrats this time.  I hate to suggest that race had a hand in that, but I have a feeling that is the case.  However, guys like Carney would have no trouble there.

    Bellefonte went for Obama.  It is Democratic, and State College is having a good influence on that area.

    That whole Snow Shoe/Mountaintop area has plenty of Democrats up there, and is in the same boat as Rush/Philipsburg.  Definitely conservative Democrat.  Also, some of Obama’s comments about coal were distorted and played up there.  That did not help.

    It is those large rural farming areas in the county that are very, very red.  The Bald Eagle Valley from Taylor all of the way up to Howard is very red.  Boggs West is NOT in the valley.  Liberty and Curtain are different, for some reason.  The whole Marion-Walker area is very red, as is the Penns Valley area, until you get to Miles East, which is mostly wooded, and I suspect a far different type of people out there.

    Centre County has some very red parts and some conservative Democrat sections.

    Then you got Bellefonte and the whole State College area, and they are blue, with State College’s bluing influence spreading.

    It is that last part that gives Centre County its swingy reputation.

    However, Clinton County barely went for McCain, and it has its own blue patches.  If you take out those rural precincts, you get a stretch of territory that would have gone for Obama.

    Going north, yes, Cameron County is red and Potter most certainly is.  Going east, Union County is red, has always been so.  Carney still won it, though.  There is no doubt that Mifflin and Juniata are very red.  Given that this factors in Lewistown, I would venture to say that the rest of Mifflin is extremely red.  

    Huntington County is very red, though the borough of Huntington itself went for Obama, and rather comfortably at that, due to Juniata College, I would imagine.  Mount Union, due to its African American population went for Obama, and you have a little old industrial patch up in the mountains, by Broad Top City and Coalmont, that went for Obama.  The rest is very red.

    In Blair County, you got a continuation of that very red valley.  I was surprised by the number of precincts in Altoona that went for McCain.  Definitely red territory.

    In Clearfield County, Obama did improve on Kerry and Gore’s numbers.  It still went for McCain.  However, it does have its own blue stretches, and places like Coalport are definitely Democratic.  It would not be too difficult to carve out the Democratic spot, or rather carve around some very red places.  The Democratic spots are nothing more than a continuation of places like Patton and Carrolltown and Barnesboro, that went for Obama.

    No, you are correct that Centre County is surrounded by so much red territory, but Centre County itself has some red territory of its own, and there are blue areas around it, if you look at the region.

  43. It’s hard to find precinct results maps from the whole state. One thing I notice is just how red Perry County is. Tim Holden didn’t win it this year, or apparently ever. I think it’s all got to be thrown back into the 9th next time. I think the trio of Mifflin, Juniata, and Perry went huge for Bush in ’04, and they continue to be pretty red.

  44. You’re right.  Perry should be thrown back into the 9th.

    We might as well make the 9th as red as possible, and gobble up as much unfavorable territory is it can.

    That trio includes some of the worst territory.  Only Potter, Fulton, and Bedford Counties were worse than they were.

    What are those three counties?  

    Well, half of Bedford’s municipalities are dry, and one of Fulton County’s municipalities actually has an elected official from the Prohibition Party!  Potter County is best known for some skinhead organization that set up shop up there.

    Not exactly shining examples.

    One thing that might be interesting to see is what happens with immigration reform.

    In Juniata County, there are a couple of kosher (yes, kosher) meatpacking plants that hire mainly Hispanics.

    It will be interesting to see if their numbers go up, and, if so, how they effect the current balance, given that it is a rather small county.

    It is also amazing how much education and higher educational institutions make regions more Democratic.

    From Slippery Rock in Armstrong County to Juniata College in Huntington to IUP in Indiana, you see these pockets of strong Democratic voters in very red territory.

    IUP, of course has, the biggest effect of those three.  The reason that Obama did better than Kerry was that Obama did better in Indiana and the surrounding region.

    Penn State with State College is just a much larger example of that situation.

    Lock Haven University has had a campus just east of Clearfield borough for just a few years now, and they are still building it up.

    I have no doubt that it will have the same effect, which makes me hopeful about that region.

Comments are closed.