Time for another installment in the slicing ‘n’ dicing of our presidential-election-results-by-congressional district dataset. One interesting thing I noticed (that has sort of a “well, duh” feel to it if you think about it for a minute) is that the districts that had the largest raw numbers of votes for Obama or for McCain were rarely the same districts that gave them the best percentages.
The raw vote numbers instead can point to a variety of factors: districts that experienced rapid population growth since redistricting, districts that started out the decade with high population (for instance, some at-large districts haven’t grown much, but have always been very big), districts in civic-minded states (like Wisconsin and Oregon) where turnout is always high, and low-income minority-majority districts (where, despite increased turnout for Obama, overall turnout is still comparatively low).
The biggest Obama vote totals tended to come in districts that don’t necessarily have the highest PVIs, but are the some of the most stereotypically “liberal” districts centered on mostly-white cities with left-leaning traditions (Seattle, Madison, San Francisco, Portland). Some of the more relatively affluent African-American-majority districts round out the list. (The lowest Obama totals did in fact come from the districts with the worst Obama percentages, with one big exception: TX-29, which Obama won easily, but has the fewest total votes of any district.)
The highest McCain vote totals mostly came in rapidly growing suburban districts that lean Republican (MT-AL is also here, simply by virtue of its size). Half of these districts are ones where Obama got at least 40% of the vote, so these aren’t necessarily the most right-wing territory (heh, except for AL-06). However, these are districts that will need to shed population with 2012 redistricting, so their Republican lean may leach out into currently neighboring districts. (The districts with the most pitiable McCain totals tend to overlap the districts with the highest PVIs.)
For context, here are the districts with the highest and lowest total number of votes. The districts with the greatest numbers of votes are mostly ones we’ve already seen, depending on whether they lean Democratic or Republican. The lowest totals are in Hispanic-majority districts, where citizenship and language barriers are at issue.