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Saturday, August 28, 2021

US House Elections in GA-06 from 2014 to 2020

Today I'm re-upping this great series of maps shared by Twitter user @zhizhierbuzhier in May.  These maps of the US House elections in Georgia's 6th Congressional district illustrate the suburban shift that has happened over the past several years, as well as highlighting the Atlanta area as a particularly politically volatile place at the moment.

In 2014, this House district was largely off the radar.

In the immediate aftermath of President Donald Trump's election, with Representative Tom Price being elevated to Secretary of Health and Human Services, Democrats hoped to flip the district and poured millions into the race, but narrowly lost the runoff.

In the wave year of 2018, facing a better Democratic candidate in Lucy McBath, Republican Representative Karen Handel was unable to hold on.

 For now, Georgia's 6th is looking like a fairly comfortable Democratic hold.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Swing Between the 1796 and 1800 Presidential Elections in Maryland

Welcome back to the blog, apologies for the unannounced hiatus.  Today I'm sharing Election Cartography Corner's third swing map, by Twitter user @ElpisActual.  She takes us way back to the early days of the United States republic by mapping the swing in the presidential vote in Maryland from the 1796 presidential election to the 1800 presidential election.

Thanks to President George Washington declining to run after his second term, 1796 was the first time the USA had a contested presidential election, with multiple candidates and parties actually trying to win.  Washington was officially non-partisan, but leaned Federalist, so President John Adams who succeeded him in 1797 continued that party's control of the executive.  Therefore, when President Thomas Jefferson beat Adams in 1800, it was the first time in American history that there was a peaceful transfer of power between two parties.

The map shows dramatic swings, which makes sense given the primordial nature of partisanship at the time, as well as the much smaller voting population.  Maryland as a whole did flip from Federalist in 1796 to Democratic-Republican in 1800.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Progression of Tennessee House District 13

co-authored by Jack Vaughan

Let’s explore “the most interesting State House district in Tennessee,” as co-author Jack Vaughan put it. Tennessee House District 13 is one of the 26 out of 99 seats in the lower house of Tennessee’s legislature held by a Democrat and has consistently hosted the most competitive races in the state. This first set of maps shows the last five elections for this seat, and it has in fact gone back and forth:

As Vaughan says in his tweet sharing the map:
Knoxville, like many metro areas across the country, is trending Democratic. The part of the district north of the Tennessee River has managed to outweigh the more conservative, rural southern areas of Knox County added to the district by the Republican legislature in the 2010 redistricting cycle in an attempt to swing the historically working-class district to the right. The recent shift is most notable after the election of President Donald Trump in 2016, where the district went from being within a percentage point or two to being above a 5% margin for the Democrat.

State Representative Gloria Johnson has also proven herself to be a strong candidate in Knox County, such as in her 2012 win despite GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carrying the district by 4.6%

The margin shifts visible in this second set of maps shows that even the Republican-leaning southern portions of Knox County included in HD 13 are moving a little to the left. The significant shifts, though, have occurred in the portions of west and north Knoxville that make up the northern half of HD 13, such as the margin shift of 37% towards Democrats in the West Knoxville neighborhood of Sequoyah Hills and the double-digit shifts in North Knoxville.

HD 13 is somewhat of a microcosm of Knox County: composed of an urban & suburban core with a sizable rural population. The district’s trends mirror those in the county, exceeding double-digit shifts in favor of Democrats the past decade.

Redistricting for 2022 is a complete unknown, however, and Rep. Johnson may face another unfavorable district. She succeeded in 2012, and she may well do it again.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Arkansas Gubernatorial Election 2018

Since the Clinton administration, Arkansas has trended more and more Republican.  Twitter user @yeahitsJ0sh points out that Governor Asa Hutchinson increased his margin upon re-election.  Similarly, and despite a Biden gain on Clinton by 43,438 votes, President Donald Trump surpassed his 2016 margin in 2020 by nearly a percentage point in an already very red state.  Josh says:

 This is a finely detailed precinct map, so definitely zoom in and check out the insets:

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Iowa's 1st Congressional District Elections 2018 and 2020. A.K.A. the Rise and Fall of Abby Finkenauer

I think that Representative Abby Finkenauer is one of the most interesting freshman of the 2018 House.  Second youngest woman ever elected to Congress by just under ten months, she never attracted as much media attention, positive or negative, as her classmate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  However, her 2018 win was arguably more impressive.

Finkenauer's Iowa House district was based in the southern half of Dubuque, Iowa, which gave her a strong base of support in the 2018 Democratic primary.  However, 15 out of the 20 counties, including Finkenauer's home base of Dubuque County, in Iowa's 1st Congressional District as drawn in the 2010s are "pivot counties", counties that voted for Obama twice then flipped to Trump in 2016.  Democratic enthusiasm was incredibly high in 2018 but Republican enthusiasm nearly met it, making Finkenauer's 16,900 vote win (5.1%) in the swingy 1st District an awesome feat.

These great maps by Twitter user @bob37689044 show how she ended up losing the next cycle:

In her 2018 election against 2-term incumbent Republican Representative Rod Blum, Finkenauer visibly succeeded in keeping the more rural areas of her district competitive, even winning Winneshiek County. Meanwhile, she ran up the votes in the urban and suburban counties of Dubuque, Black Hawk, and Linn.

During a presidential election year, Finkenauer couldn't benefit from the "throw the bums out" effect of a midterm.  She lost ground in Dubuque, while her performance across the rural counties plummeted, including a flip in Winneshiek.  Also, the Republican Party did a good job recruiting a strong challenger in now-Rep. Ashley Hinson, a former news anchor, like Finkenauer an Iowa House member, and a woman of the same generation.

Simply put, Republican turnout went up across the board, and so down went Finkenauer.  However, I'll leave you with this tantalizing bit of gossip:

Saturday, May 29, 2021

The Scottish National Parliamentary Elections of 2026?

You read that right, folks.  It's 2021 and we've got a map from the future.  I'm very excited to share the blog's first speculative map, as well as its first non-USA map.  This one comes to us from Twitter user @bdn0369, who proposes a brand new electoral system for Scotland after its independence in 2023.  I recommend reading their breakdown of the political parties later in this Twitter thread:

A proportional regional list system is a system where the country is divided into a number of electoral regions.  Within those regions, each party has a list of candidates, and in a nationwide vote, everyone chooses a party, rather than an individual candidate.  Within each electoral region candidates are elected from the tops of their parties' lists in proportion to the percentage of the vote earned by that party in that region.

This is quite different from Scotland's current Parliament, which is elected via a mixed-member proportional system, or Scotland's representation in the UK Parliament, which is based on a first-past-the-post system traditional to British-style governments.  @bdn0369 has maintained the current electoral regions, although seats are allocated by population rather than each getting seven members.

Will we see an independent Scotland in the near future?  What kind of electoral system would be best for the again-independent nation?  What do you think?

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Partisan Control of State Governments: 1938 v. 1939

Today's maps are on a very interesting topic: control of state governments.  And not only that, but it's another set of historical maps!  This pair from @Mill226 on Twitter show the fascinating political time period of the late 1930s USA.  The threat of war in Europe and Asia was growing, while the US continued to suffer from depressed economic conditions.  As the first map shows, the Democratic Party was still riding high on FDR's re-election in 1938.

A point of interest on both maps is Nebraska, which has used a "non-partisan" unicameral state legislature since 1936.

However, after the 1938 midterm elections, Republicans had gained in New England, the Midwest, and the Great Plains.

One thing I really appreciate about these maps is the calculations of what percentage of the US population was governed by each party.  To me, that is a fascinating metric of the parties' relative strengths.  I'm not sure, but I'd guess that the 1938 map shows one of the highest concentrations of state and population control in the hands of single party in the nation's history, perhaps only rivaled by the early-1800s Era of Good Feelings when the Democratic-Republicans were ascendant.