Thursday, January 15, 2009

Obama Victory Analysis: Pre-Inauguration Edition Part 1

With the inauguration around the corner, I figured now was about as good a time as any to look at how Barack Obama got the job he will take over on Tuesday. After the election I posted on how he picked up electoral college votes everywhere. I know want to talk about how that happened. I'm going to look at how three voting blocks put Obama over the top: young voters, Blacks, and Latinos. I'll look at the youth vote in this post.

A lot of pundits were skeptical of Obama's ability to actually get young voters to the polls, however, the evidence is fairly clear. He did it. Let's look at some key counties in some key states, starting with Alachua County, Florida home of the University of Florida. Alachua is a great county to look at because it is in essence a college county dominated by the college town of Gainesville. Here are the results for 2004 and 2008 side by side followed by the increase in Democratic support from 2004 in the couny and in the state as a whole:

2004 62,504 47,762
2008 73,134 47,025

County Increase in Democratic support: 17.01%
Statewide Increase in Democratic Support: 15.63%

What is interesting is that the Republican doesn't go down. It remains flat. What Obama did was find 10,500 new Democratic voters. Given the fact that 18-24 year olds make up almost a quarter of Alachua County's population (a higher percentage of its voting population), we can safely assume that most of this increase is from students. Given the massive turnout efforts in other parts of the state, the fact that Alachua County outperformed the state, is impressive. If we look at Johnson County, Iowa home of the University of Iowa, we can discount the idea of African-Americans accounting for the difference Alachua. Same comparison:

2004 41,847 22,715
2008 50,708 20,639

County Increase in Democratic support: 21.17%
Statewide Increase in Democratic Support: 10.29%

While there is a slightly larger drop in Republican support, the increase in Democratic numbers is still impressive, in this University dominated county which is only 2.9% Black. Here the difference between the county and the state is huge. For a more dramatic result let's take a look at Monroe County, Indiana home of Indiana University. Indiana was probably Obama's most impressive turn around victory. Monroe county was a large part of that. Once again 2004 v. 2008:

2004 26,965 (54%) 22,834 (45%)
2008 41,332 (66%) 21,083 (33%)

County Increase in Democratic support: 53.28%
Statewide Increase in Democratic Support: 41.12%

A lot of people attribute Obama's victory to massive turnout among African-Americans in Indianapolis and in the suburbs of Chicago in the Northern part of the state. However, Monroe County which is all of 3% African-American delivered a 20,000 vote margin for Obama. Obama won Indiana by less than 26,000 votes.

In all three cases the counties with major universities saw massive increases in Democratic voters while Republican support snak only marginally. Obama had these kinds of results in university towns across the country and it is a big reason why he will be President of the United States this time next week.

1 comment:

the Professor said...

At the end of the day Barack Obama will be the United States 44th President. This is a pivotal point in the history of the United States for many reasons. I would like to invite you and each of your readers to visit and become active in a social blog covering the Obama Presidency and the incoming Administration. We are looking for all parties to be represented on this blog not just Democrats. So if you are a Republican, Constitutionalist, Greene, Libertarian or even a Democrat, we would like to have your input, your views and your thoughts on the day to day operations and movements of the 44th President and his administration during the next 1,461 Days
Your inclusion would add the Canadian perspective of the new administration.

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