The Bush backlash gap?

Crunching the numbers from Super Tuesday (and the preceding primaries), I noticed that Hillary Clinton has done especially well in counties that swung toward the Republicans in the 2004 presidential election. Among counties where Bush increased his percentage of the vote by at least five points, Clinton has received 57 percent of the vote to Barack Obama’s 37 percent. (Bush increased his percentage nationwide by about three points.) By contrast, Obama has received 55 percent to Clinton’s 38 percent in counties where Bush’s share of the vote dropped when he ran for re-election.

As always, it’s risky to make assumptions about the general election based on data from the primaries, but I wonder whether Clinton would work on pulling Bush votes back into the Democratic column if she were the nominee, especially in the swing states of Florida and Missouri and, perhaps, in Tennessee. Obama might concentrate on trying to get more votes (and maybe new voters) in areas that had already begun to sour on the Republicans four years ago. The trouble is that California is already solidly Democratic and South Carolina is a long shot for the Democrats no matter who they nominate. (Bush didn’t make big gains there in 2004, but he didn’t need to.)

It will be interesting to see what happens in next week’s primary in the swing state of Virginia, which has one of the largest counties in the US where Bush lost ground in 2004 (Fairfax) but also some rural counties where there was a Bush surge. Likewise in the swing state of Ohio, where the heavily urban counties of Cuyahoga (Cleveland) and Franklin (Columbus) moved toward John Kerry in 2004 but were countered by Bush gains elsewhere.

Bushjumpcounties   Bushjumpcountiesne

Bushdives Bushdivesne