Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Colorado As Bellwether: Is It Swinging The Other Way

Posted May 13, 2010 at 1:06 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack has consistently argued that Colorado can be seen as a bellwether of sorts in recent years, offering clues to the political direction of the rest of the country. Over the past six years, Democrats have made significant gains in the states, as the party's fortunes nationally have risen, culminating in President Obama's victory in the state in 2008. Recent polling in the states, now suggests that the bellwether may be swing in the GOP's direction.

The New York Times reports that in the state of Colorado, "Republicans are now well positioned for a statewide resurgence, threatening several Democratic seats in the midterm elections and raising questions about whether the opening chapter of the Obama administration has eroded gains that Democrats had been making here for the previous six years." For more of the Times' analysis, click here. 


Bellwether Colorado: Are The Democrats In Trouble?

Posted Sep 10, 2009 at 12:19 AM by Maurice Berger

The Washington Post wonders whether Colorado, a new and potent bellwether of national partisan support, is slipping away from the Democrats: "In 2008, Colorado became a symbol of the changing politics in a region once firmly in Republican hands -- and also of the grass-roots power and energy fueling Barack Obama's candidacy. Today, the state embodies the uneasiness spreading throughout Democratic ranks as Obama struggles with major challenges and the 2010 midterm elections approach."

Colorado has been one of the Democratic Party's major success stories. Between 1968 and 2004, Republican presidential candidates carried the state in all but one election. Last year, Obama crushed John McCain in Colorado, part of a broader shift in the balance of political power in the Rocky Mountain West. Obama's victory and earlier Democratic wins here have transformed the state. Early in the decade, Republicans controlled virtually everything -- the governor's office, almost all other statewide offices, the congressional delegation and both houses of the Colorado legislature. Today, Democrats are in control of all of those. A year ago, Denver enthusiastically hosted the Democratic National Convention, which culminated with Obama's acceptance speech before more than 80,000 people at the Denver Broncos' football stadium. Legions of volunteers, young and old, fanned out across the state throughout the fall to rally the vote for Obama's campaign."

"Today, the energy that powered Obama to victory has begun to dissipate. Some of his supporters remain on the sidelines; others are, if not disillusioned, questioning what has happened to his presidency. As they look toward 2010, Democrats are nervous. Gov. Bill Ritter, appointed Sen. Michael F. Bennet and at least one Democratic member of the House will probably face difficult election campaigns next year."

Sen. John McCain Officially Wins Missouri

Posted Nov 19, 2008 at 2:48 PM by Maurice Berger

More than two weeks after the election, Sen. John McCain officially wins Missouri. The final electoral count for Election 2008: Obama-365, McCain-173. The state's 104 year-streak of serving as the nation's bellwether (missing only 1956) may be coming to an end, as its demographics are tilting slightly Republican in recent years.

Where Are The Bellwethers: Missouri, Ohio, Nevada?

Posted Nov 04, 2008 at 3:56 AM by Maurice Berger

Where are are three bellwethers on election day? Obama is up in Nevada; Missouri and Ohio remain too close to call. Does the status of the latter two--Missouri is virtually tied this morning, with McCain up by +0.7%--suggest a close election? Hard to say. Interestingly, in the Missouri Democratic primary back in February, on "Super Tuesday," Obama won the state by 1.4%; his popular vote lead for all the primaries and caucuses was under 1%, like MO very close indeed. Yet, in the past few cycles, Missouri has actually trended Republican, affording Bush a higher margin of victory than the national totals and in 2000, he won MO but lost the popular vote. Ohio was relatively close in both elections, so the state's demographics trend towards close presidential races. If the numbers in Nevada hold, they could be a harbinger of a modest, but comfortable win for Obama.  Polltrack's nagging historical question: will Missouri pick the eventual winner tonight, as it has done in all but one presidential cycle since 1904? Or will Nevada emerge as the new reliable national bellwether?

Where Are The Three Bellwethers: Missouri, Ohio, Nevada?

Posted Oct 26, 2008 at 4:25 AM by Maurice Berger

As PollTrack has written (6 October 2008, Nevada: The New Bellwether?), three states have been bellwethers in presidential cycles over the past fifty years: Missouri, Ohio, and  Nevada. Missouri has voted with the winner in every presidential election since 1904 (save 1956), Ohio has picked the eventual victor since 1964 (no Republican has won the presidency without it, and only twice has a Democrat), and Nevada, beginning in 1980, has gone with the national winner, both in close elections (2000 and 2004) and blowouts (Reagan vs. Mondale in 1984). How are the candidates doing in these important indicator of the national mood? In two, Missouri and Nevada, Obama leads by a tiny margin. In Ohio, the state now leans slightly to Obama. So from the perspective of electoral bellwethers, it's now three up, Obama--a good place to be 10 days before a national cycle, though the race remains "Too Close To Call" in MO and NV.

Nevada: The New Bellwether?

Posted Oct 06, 2008 at 1:28 AM by Maurice Berger

Since 1904, every victorious presidential candidate has won Missouri, save Eisenhower in 1956. In that cycle, favorite son Harry Truman asked the voters of his beloved state to support Democrat Adlai Stevenson (and show the nation that they still loved Truman, who left office four years earlier, battered in the polls). They did. One other deviation, re: Missouri: Bush won the state in 2000; but Gore won the national popular vote that year. Still, the state voted for the eventual victor in the race. And a caveat: Missouri has been trending Republican in recent cycles, though Democrat Claire McCaskill won its closely fought US Senate race in 2006. Ohio has been a bellwether of sorts for one party: no Republican has won the presidency without it. It has also picked the eventual winner in every election since 1964. The question: are there any new bellwethers on the horizon. Perhaps, one: Nevada. In the last seven presidential cycles, beginning in 1980, the state has gone with the national winner, both in close elections (2000 and 2004) and blowouts (Reagan vs. Mondale in 1984). With its population rapidly expanding--and its demographics shifting accordingly--the Silver State is starting to look more like the rest of America. How does the presidential race look in Nevada these days? All but tied up (+1.8% DEM), with Obama and McCain exchanging leads over the past month. I would keep my eye on Nevada. (Though it might not be a bad idea to keep Missouri and Ohio in your sights, as well.)