Showing posts with label 1984 elections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1984 elections. Show all posts

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The 1984 Electoral College Spectrum

This is part of something bigger that FHQ is working on, but we will roll it out piece by piece starting with 1984.

The 1984 Electoral College Spectrum1
1Follow the link for a detailed explanation on how to read the Electoral College SpectrumThe darker the color of the cell, the higher the margin was for the winning candidate (Light: < 5%. Medium: 5-10%, Dark: > 10%).

2The numbers in the parentheses refer to the number of electoral votes a candidate would have if he won all the states ranked up to that state. If, for example, Mondale had won all the states up to and including Michigan, he would have gained 275 electoral votes. Mondale's numbers are only totaled through the states he would have needed in order to get to 270. In those cases, Mondale's number is on the left in italics and Reagan's is on the right.

The electoral votes for Washington, DC are included in the first cell at the top left. Conveniently, the district is historically the most Democratic unit within the electoral college which allows FHQ to push it off the spectrum in the interest of keeping the figure to just 50 slots.

Michigan is the state where Reagan crossed the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidential election. That line is referred to as the victory line.

1) The colors are fun to look at here if only to see what an essentially spectrumless spectrum looks like in an electoral college and popular vote landslide. But they (the colors) are far less consequential in the grand scheme of this exercise than the ordering of the states.

2) It is also worth noting that some cycle-to-cycle shuffling of states has to do with the idiosyncrasies of any given election. Too much, then, should not be drawn from the shifts over time. ...not yet anyway. Stay tuned for subsequent updates for a more robust picture.

3) Notice where the tipping point state (Michigan) is. In 1984 that was slightly further left -- five spots -- than in 2012; in the second column instead of middle (third) column. The rightward shift indicates that the concentration of population and thus electoral votes has shifted toward the right (into the west and south) due to reapportionment but also because of some shuffling of states.

4) Check out where the 2012 swing states are. New Hampshire and Nevada are all the way over in the column to the far right. Colorado, Florida and Virginia, too, are further to the right of the tipping point. Iowa and Pennsylvania, on the other hand, are further to the left of Michigan. Ohio, surprisingly or not, is huddled up against the tipping point state.

5) Still overwhelmingly red -- owing to the advantage President Reagan held in the electoral college in 1984 -- West Virginia has shifted in the three decades since all the way from the far left column to the far right column of the spectrum. If rankings are assigned, the Mountain state shifted from the tenth slot in 1984 to the 47th position in 2012!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

1984 Presidential Primary Calendar

Monday, February 20:
Iowa caucuses (both parties)

Tuesday, February 28:
New Hampshire primary

Sunday, March 4:
Maine Democratic caucuses

Saturday, March 10:
Wyoming Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, March 13:
Alabama primary
Florida primary
Georgia primary
Hawaii Democratic caucuses 
Massachusetts primary
Nevada Democratic caucuses 
Oklahoma Democratic caucuses 
Rhode Island primary
Washington Democratic caucuses

Wednesday, March 14:
Delaware Democratic caucuses 
North Dakota Democratic caucuses (through March 28)

Thursday, March 15:
Alaska Democratic caucuses

Saturday, March 17:
Arkansas Democratic caucuses 
Michigan Democratic caucuses
Mississippi Democratic caucuses 
South Carolina Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, March 20:
Illinois primary
Minnesota Democratic caucuses

Saturday, March 24:
Kansas Democratic caucuses
Virginia Democratic caucuses (and March 26)

Sunday, March 25:
Montana Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, March 27:
Connecticut primary

Saturday, March 31:
Kentucky Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, April 3:
New York primary
Wisconsin primary (Republicans only)

Saturday, April 7:
Wisconsin Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, April 10:
Pennsylvania primary

Saturday, April 14:
Arizona Democratic caucuses

Wednesday, April 18:
Missouri Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, April 24:
Vermont Democratic caucuses

Wednesday, April 25:
Utah Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, May 1:
Tennessee primary

Saturday, May 5:
Colorado Democratic caucuses
Louisiana primary
Texas Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, May 8:
Indiana primary
Maryland primary
North Carolina primary
Ohio primary

Tuesday, May 15:
Nebraska primary
Oregon primary

Thursday, May 24:
Idaho primary and Democratic caucuses (primary was a beauty contest with no delegates at stake;
    delegates were allocated through the caucuses)

Tuesday, June 5:
California primary
Mississippi primary (Republicans only)
Montana primary (Republicans only)
New Jersey primary
New Mexico primary
South Dakota primary
West Virginia primary

[Primaries in bold; Caucuses in italics]

States that are split vertically had different dates for different party contests. The shade to the left of that line corresponds with the month in which the Democratic contest took place and the right side represents the Republican contest.

[Source: Congressional Quarterly and news accounts from 1984. The latter was used to double-check the dates or discover missing ones.]

A few notes:
1) 1984, and to a lesser extent 1992 and 1996, are frustrating years for cataloging the full calendar. The Democratic calendar is much easier to put together, but the Republican calendar is harder to come by simply because Ronald Reagan ran virtually unopposed in his bid for the GOP nomination that year. In other words, we know when the GOP primaries were, but have a more difficult time ascertaining when the caucuses were held. This is less a problem in 1992 and 1996 because that data is readily available, though harder to find than, say, the Republican calendar in 2004. As such, this is a tentative map and calendar. It will be augmented as soon as I incorporate the Republican calendar. That information isn't a vital portion of my research question, but it will certainly be something to account for in the future. There are some potentially secondary questions there.

2) The 1984 calendar is an awful lot like the one in 1980. 15 of the 26 primaries (excluding the Idaho beauty contest for the Democrats) held occurred after the beginning of May.
3) However, the date on which the greatest number of delegate selection events were held was March 13; much earlier than in 1980 when the last week had nine contests. Granted in 1980, the first Tuesday in June had nine total contests to the second Tuesday in March's seven, whereas four years later those numbers were in reverse. In other words, there wasn't a large overall shift of contests to earlier dates.

3) Overall, the month of March saw six more contests in 1984 as compared to 1980. But the fact that there were no January contests and four fewer February contests in 1984 was the main factor driving this increase; not movement from the later states of 1980.

Recent Posts:
More on the Potential August Arkansas Primary

1980 Presidential Primary Calendar

Arkansas Senate Unanimously Passes Primary Bill

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Jesse Helms and the Current American Political Climate

I'm late on this, but I needed a few days to sift through my thoughts on the former North Carolina senator following his passing on Friday. Helms represented a rare dichotomous political figure. Obviously this dichotomy wasn't of the flip-flopping variety that many associate with Washington politics, but more representative of the two sides of the man himself. There were no gray areas with Jesse Helms. People either loved him or hated him. And in the electoral arena, that can come back to bite you. But it never quite did for Helms. He lasted 30 years in the Senate, but never got more than 55% of the vote in any of his election (or re-election) bids.

But what I find interesting is the coalition(s) that he cobbled together every six years. Now the way the media has played it and the way his death and the details of his life have been knocked around the blogosphere have certainly focused upon the more racial aspects of his public career. And that is certainly part of that dichotomy I referred to above. The other part is the service aspect. And both combined to provide Helms with enough of an edge throughout all four of his re-election bids to retain his senate seat.

Well, what do you know? You're just some 30-something from Georgia speculating about the guy from afar.

True, but I grew up in the Old North State and count the events of the 1984 Helms-Jim Hunt senate race as among my first memories of politics (And you're studying presidential elections?) and one of the major roots of my interest in political science. I also had a front seat to both Helms-Gantt I and II and received my bachelor's degree from the University of Negroes and Communists (I still haven't figured out whether I fit in one, the other, or both groups in the familiar moniker Helms hung on the University of North Carolina.). And during my life in North Carolina, I heard quite a few stories about Jesse Helms. Many brought up his nightly editorials on WRAL in Raleigh in the 1960s or his actions on the floor of the Senate as proof of his bigotry and racism and still others spoke of his service to the residents of North Carolina; his constituents.

Those relating the former always voted for his opponent, whoever it was, while those who told stories of his constituent service were often willing to overlook the racial half of the man to vote for him. And it was this group, I'd argue, that formed the swing electorate in those elections. Republicans voted for him (He helped bring many Jessecrats to the party following the southern conservative Democrat exodus from the Democratic Party after civil rights.) and liberal Democrats voted against him. And while there were many overt racists who undoubtedly supported Helms, I don't believe that the majorities supporting him were racist themselves. Many just simply wanted to put the past behind them and look at the good Helms had done. And it was the small, going-out-of-his-way sorts of things that helped those voters overlook what seemed to many of the more progressive Democrats to be people voting against their own interests.

But in my experience and in the outpouring of thoughts on the man following his death last week, there has been account after account of those sorts of actions. The types of actions that David Mayhew would have called advertising in his book on the electoral connection. In Helms' case, this advertising went a long way and accumulated over 30 years helped sway a vote or two in his direction.

Helms' death and the discussions of his life's work come at an interesting time in United States political history. Yes, Obama is the first African American presidential candidate from one of the two major parties, but that isn't really the direction I'm heading in with this. The 2004 presidential election represented on one level, a contest between a stick-to-your-guns candidate and a Washington flip-flopper. George W. Bush, as president, has very much been in a similar vein to what Jesse Helms was in the Senate for 30 years, a never wavering from your positions politician. 2008, by contrast, is a change election where flip-flopping is being tolerated a bit more. That's partly because both Obama and McCain have been accused of changing positions, but also has much to do with an electorate ready to embrace a leadership style that is willing to change given the problems that face the nation. I don't mean a politician that blows with the prevailing political wind necessarily, but one willing to make a move to build a consensus in the middle. In that sense, both of the candidates in this race differ from both the current president and Jesse Helms.

Recent Posts:
The Electoral College Map (7/6/08)

Blog Note

Happy 4th of July!!!!