Why so blue? New study finds Pa’s demographics favor Dems | Wednesday Morning Coffee

August 21, 2019 7:12 am

Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

This one is mostly for the trainspotters among you. But that doesn’t mean it’s not kinda fascinating.

As our friends at the soon-to-be defunct (this is very bad news) Governing report, demographics determine how a state will vote in most elections. And it goes some distance to explaining Pennsylvania’s primarily purplish tendencies.

The magazine used federal data to rank the most rural states to the most urban states, the most white states to the least white and those with the lowest rate of undergraduate degrees to the highest. From there, Governing’s highly trained squadron of number-crunchers determined how likely the states are to vote Democratic or Republican.

Pennsylvania finished just about dead-center in the national ranking at No. 28, despite Democrats mopping up in the 2018 elections, taking nine of 18 congressional seats and re-electing both Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., by comfortable margins (That the latter were running against utterly hapless opponents in a Democratic wave year also doubtless helped).

(Dsw4/WikiMedia Commons)

For those of you playing along at home, the five most Republican-friendly states (based on Governing’s demographic secret sauce) are:

1. West Virginia

2. Kentucky

3. Maine

4. Wyoming

5. Arkansas

And the five most Democratic-friendly states are:

46. Massachusetts

47. Maryland

48. Hawaii

49. California

50. New Jersey

Gov. Tom Wolf at his 2016 budget address. (Gov. Tom Wolf/Flickr.)

“The purple-to-blue states of Maine, New Hampshire and Minnesota are the three most obvious places where Republicans ought to be doing better than they are according to demographic factors,” Governing columnist Louis Jacobson wrote “And the historically redder states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Texas should all be more friendly to Democrats based on demographics alone.”

Given Pennsylvania’s battleground status, its appearance in the middle ranking isn’t a terrible shocker. It was joined there by Michigan (No. 22) and North Carolina (No. 25). That other Rust Belt state so key to President Donald Trump’s 2016 chances, Wisconsin, finished at 18 in the Governing list.

“The makeup of key presidential battleground states illustrates why some have moved away from one party and towards another in recent elections,” Jacobson wrote. “These states, ordered from the most demographically friendly to Republicans to the most demographically friendly to Democrats, are Maine, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Florida, Virginia and Colorado.”

WikiMedia Commons

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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.