These states most closely match the U.S. electorate. How did Pa. do? | Monday Morning Coffee

March 2, 2020 7:34 am

Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers. 

Welcome to a new week. Super Tuesday is just 24 hours away. Fourteen U.S. states, representing about a third of all Democratic presidential delegates are up for grabs. And by the time the dust clears, the final shape of the 2020 nominating race could be pretty well determined.

But, as we know all too well, the Democratic primary electorate isn’t necessarily the American electorate at-large. We also know that a handful of states, Pennsylvania among them, could determine the eventual winner of the White House.

So it’s a question worth asking: Which U.S. states most closely reflect the American electorate as a whole? Fortunately, the wonks at the financial literacy site have done the hard work for us, weighing 31 different metrics across five, broad topic areas — socio-demographics, economy, education, religion, and public opinion — to find those states that most closely mirror the American electorate.

Read on to learn the Top 5 most representative and Top 5 least representative — and where Pennsylvania stacks up.

Source: WalletHub

So this is one of those times when being oh-so-basic actually works to Pennsylvania’s advantage. The nation’s sixth-most populous state finished 6th on WalletHub’s ranking list. And like french fries on a wildly overrated sandwich, that should cement Pennsylvania’s status as a coveted battleground state.

Now if we could only figure out how to pronounce ‘paczi,’ the day absolutely would be complete. While we wait for one of you to school us on that, here’s WalletHub’s list of the Top 5 most — and least — reflective states.

The Top 5 Most Reflective:
1. Illinois
2. Florida
3. Michigan
4. Arizona
5. Ohio

The Top 5 Least Reflective:
1. Vermont
2. Mississippi
3. Utah
4. West Virginia
5. Massachusetts

(Image via

Asked whether states that mirror the national electorate come earlier in the primary process, University of Michigan political science professor Anna Kirkland offered an unequivocal “yes.”

“Candidates shape their messaging around the voting populations of the early states, and it is neither fair nor good practice for getting the strongest candidates at the end of the process to have their energy mismatched to the overall population,” Kirkland told WalletHub. “Candidates choose the issues to focus on the most based in part on the early stages, and they introduce themselves to the entire nation through a prism of the early states’ voting populations. Once voting begins, there is a story about momentum and popularity that inevitably emerges even though the early state is just a small part of the overall vote share and delegate allocation.”

Kirkland continued: “Political scientists always point out that the rules for a process matter and rules advantage some people and disadvantage others. The current voting structure advantages the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire — their interests, their concerns, their local problems, and their sense of national and cultural identity — over other voters and these voters are much older and whiter than the country overall and the Democratic party in particular.”

The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (Capital-Star photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

Our Stuff.
Capital-Star Correspondent Nick Field
 was in Bensalem, Bucks County, over the weekend. There, he caught up with Gov. Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro making their 2020 pitch in a must-win part of the state.

Turns out if you make it easier for people to vote, they’re inclined to take you up on the offer. Associate Editor Cassie Miller has the details on the success of Pennsylvania’s new mail-in ballots.

On our Commentary Page, attorney Rory Fleming says public defenders shouldn’t be punished for doing their jobs.

The Pittsburgh skyline (Pittsburgh Current photo by Jake Mysliwczyk)

Pittsburgh City Paper introduces you to the Latino service group working to ensure that everyone is counted in Census 2020.
Democratic 10th Congressional District candidates Tom Brier and Eugene DePasquale met for their second debate of the spring campaign on Sunday. PennLive has the story.
The Times-News looks at the contributions that women have made to the spiritual life and leadership in Erie County.
The Inquirer explains why Gov. Tom Wolf is in for a heavy lift with his push for full-day kindergarten in every Pennsylvania school district.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

Pennsylvania doesn’t require well-water testing. Why is this not surprising? (via the PA Post).
President Donald Trump is set to visit Scranton on Thursday night for a Fox News town hall, the Times-Tribune reports (via the Morning Call). 
looks at the growing tension between dairy producers and plant-based milk companies.
President Donald Trump and the 2020 Dems are in a dead heat in Pa., according to a new Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll (via PoliticsPA).
Politico looks at Mike Bloomberg’s ‘secret weaknesses.’

What Goes On.
Budget hearings roll on in the House & Senate this Monday morning. Here’s today’s rundown.

Senate Appropriations Committee (Hearing Room 1, North Office Building). 
10 a.m.: Dept. of Agriculture
1 p.m.: UPenn School of Veterinary Medicine
3 p.m: Penn State Ag Research and Ag Extension

House Appropriations Committee (140MC).
10 a.m.
: Dept. of Education
1 p.m.: Dept. of Education (continued)
3 p.m.: PHEAA

Attorney General Josh Shapiro
 kicks off National Consumer Protection Week in the state with an 11 a.m. event in Strawberry Square, across from the Capitol.

Gov. Tom Wolf 
has no public schedule today.

You Say It’s Your Birthday.
Best wishes go out to PSERS spokesman Steve Esack, celebrates another trip around the sun today. Congrats, sir.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s an old favorite from The Jam to get your work week started. Consider this your Monday battle-cry. It’s ‘Start!’

Monday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
 picked up its sixth straight win on Sunday, vanquishing the Rangers 5-3 at the Garden.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.