Ryan Sager Will Have His Revenge on Salt Lake City


It used to be Utah that reported back the biggest Republican landslide every year. Bill Clinton actually came in third there in 1992, behind Ross Perot. But as of this week, Oklahoma is now the most Republican state at the presidential level. The Mountain West has moved toward the Democrats. And it wasn't just Hispanic-heavy states such as Nevada and Colorado. Check out the four most reliably Republican western states, which went for McCain.

Idaho: Bush won 68-30 in the popular vote and all but one county. McCain won 62-36 in the popular vote and all but three counties. Most populous county: Ada (Boise), which went 61-38 for Bush but only 51-48 for McCain. Also, Democrats gained the first House district, the western Idaho sprawl that contains Coeur d'Alene and the Boise suburbs.

Montana: Bush won 59-39 in the popular vote and 50 of 56 counties. McCain won 50-47 in the popular vote and 44 of 56 counties. Most populous county: Yellowstone (Billings), which went 62-36 for Bush and 52-46 for McCain.

Wyoming: Bush won 69-29 in the popular vote and 22 of 23 counties. McCain won 65-33 in the popular vote and 21 of 23 counties. Most populous county: Laramie (Cheyenne), which went 65-33 for Bush and 59-39 for McCain.

Utah: Bush won 72-26 in the popular vote and swept all 29 counties. McCain won 63-34 in the popular vote and 27 of 29 counties. Most populous county: Salt Lake (Salt Lake City), which went 60-38 for Bush but only 49-48 for McCain. (If Ralph Nader voters had broken for Obama, he would have become the first Democrat to take this county since LBJ.)

Again, this wasn't about Hispanic votes. In 2004, John Kerry carried 24 percent of the white vote in Utah. This year Obama carried 31 percent. So what happened?