| When we at SSP first hatched the idea of compiling some numbers for presidential election results for congressional districts, we were thinking we'd be lucky to get to 60 or maybe 100 districts. After all, we couldn't track down precinct-level data for hundreds of counties, sort out what precinct goes into what district, and pick apart large metro counties with thousands and thousands of precincts... could we?
Well, with the aid of SSP's crack cadre of some of the brightest and most tenacious elections geeks out there -- in particular the relentless number cruncher jeffmd and master BoE cajoler Democratic Luntz -- we're closing in on completing all 435 districts. With another 54 added to the pile today, we're near the 90% mark, with only 51 remaining incomplete. If you want to see all district percentages so far, the link is here; you can also check out the diaries where we released the numbers in more detail here, here, and here.
||McCain #||Other #||2008 %||2004 %||2000 %|
Some points of interest to check out in this batch: look at PA-06, with some of the steepest improvement in all of Pennsylvania. Any question why Jim Gerlach may be planning to cash it in and run for governor in 2010? It might be because his district just shot past PA-07 and PA-08 to become the bluest all-suburban district in the Philly area.
We have data for most of upstate New York (except for Erie County, where Buffalo is), and it's striking that Obama improved on Kerry at a much greater clip upstate than in the NYC metro area. One thing that might give us some optimism heading into the NY-20 special election is the nearly 6-point improvement, as well as the fact that the Dem candidate actually won the district in the first time since, well, probably Barry Goldwater. But this is pretty typical across upstate NY, as we also flipped NY-23 and NY-24, moved NY-25 from swing to pretty safe D, and almost even won in New York's reddest district of NY-29. Compare this with, say, the whiter urban districts, like NY-08 or especially NY-13 (Staten Island and white ethnic parts of Brooklyn), where Obama lost narrowly while barely improving on Kerry's numbers, and thus nearly overtaking NY-29 as New York's reddest district.
The biggest improvements here, as in previous installments are in the Mountain West. This is plain to see in Colorado, not just in the 2nd (where the improvement over 2000 is gigantic, although that may have to do with the huge Nader effect among Boulder's granola-munching crowd) but also in the 4th, where Obama lost by less than a point where Gore lost by 20. And although we didn't come even close in Utah, some of the biggest percentage gains were there. Look for UT-03 to lose its worst-PVI-in-the-nation status, as Obama made up 9 points there on Kerry.
Is there any bad news to report here? Well, we came oh-so-close to flipping OH-14 in Cleveland's suburbs (fewer than 1,000 votes), while not moving the numbers much there. And we lost ground in AL-05, the Appalachian portion of Alabama, and PA-04, which, like PA-12, is in the collar counties around Pittsburgh where the Rust Belt fades into the Appalachians.
Probably least appetizing are the numbers out of Oklahoma, but even it provides some interesting insights into the changes from the old Democratic coalition to the current Democratic coalition. Most of the state stayed in neutral over the decade, but compare OK-02 (rural NE Oklahoma around Muskogee) vs. OK-05 (Oklahoma City). We're getting absolutely hammered in the 2nd, a traditionally Yellow Doggish area that Gore almost won. On the other hand, we shot up in the 5th, the most cosmopolitan part of the state.
So what's left to do? Our main task is, at this point, getting data from counties who have been unresponsive or are charging an arm and a leg for it. If you're interested in helping out, check out this diary for a primer; here's our database of elections boards to contact. And, as always, here's our master crowdsourcing database... although, as you might notice, most of those blanks have been filled in! Thanks to you guys, of course.
One final caveat: these numbers are subject to change slightly, as we refine the data. In fact, in a few days I'll be posting a list of several dozen updated districts. None of these changes should amount to more than a fraction of a percentage point, but caution is warranted where a fraction of a percent would make a lot of difference in how the district is perceived (for instance, PA-03, where a very small revision could make all the difference in terms of McCain's 17-vote margin in the district).