Ryan Sager Will Have His Revenge on Salt Lake City

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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?

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46 responses to “Ryan Sager Will Have His Revenge on Salt Lake City

  1. The Mormons are pissed about Romney, that’s what.

  2. ‘Cause he’s da man.

  3. What happened? The John McCain and the GOP sucking really bad happened.

  4. I think it partially has to do with the populist (economic) instincts of segments of the population. Democrats are just more “trusted” on the economy than Republicans are. Why that is I have no idea.

  5. 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?

    Four more years of Bush happened. Torture, wiretapping, Wall Street bailout, …

    I don’t see this election as a realignment as much as a repudiation. A desire to punish the GOP for crappy performance probably moved more votes than anything else.

  6. Why that is I have no idea.

    See 1996-2008. Clinton gets far more credit for the uptick on his watch than he deserves. Bush on the other hand gets far less damning for the downslide on his watch than he deserves as well.

    With “friends” like this, who needs enemies?

  7. Seward: Because Clinton was president during the dot com boom, and had a budget surplus when he left office. And the whole Bush fiasco of pretending to believe in free markets while over-regulating, subsidizing and nationalizing everything in sight. They basically use anecdotal evidence to argue against the logic and historical success of free markets.

  8. I wonder if Obama could have won Montana if he had taken my advice and tagged Brian Schweitzer. But like everyone else does, he ignored me.

    Actually, Schweitzer probably didn’t have enough national standing but I really do think that Bill Richardson would have helped Obama in the west.

    Would he have helped him over the top in any of those states? Who knows? I just think he’d’ve been a better pick than you-know-who.

  9. “I don’t see this election as a realignment as much as a repudiation. A desire to punish the GOP for crappy performance probably moved more votes than anything else.”

    You are exactly right. Republicans are kidding themselves if they think this is just about Obama being charismatic and Democrats are delluding themselves if they think those people voted against Republicans because they want far left policies.

    People are much less likely to identify with a party now than they used to be. That means they are more open to vote for the other side and more likely to vote against their usual party if they are pissed off.

    That is actually a good thing because it means the days of big, long term (twenty and thirty year) reallignments are over and shockingly politicians might just be held accountable once in a while.

  10. My hubby is from Idaho..military living in VA

    His guess is:

    1. Transplants from WA, OR and CA

    2. Double voting from those who split residences

  11. Bill Richardson would have helped Obama in the west.

    I should have added, “not that he needed it in the end, but his victory was not always a foregone conclusion.”

  12. Mormons people, Mormons. They wanted Romney to be VP.

  13. I think some of the explanation is Kerry being a New England liberal. The Clintons were very unpopular in parts of the Rocky Mountain states because of their handling of public lands. Kerry didn’t look like much of an improvement. Obama didn’t have the same baggage.

    As for Oklahoma, it seems to be determined to be the distilled version of North Texas. Evangelism, conservatism, high military vote, farm policy and energy policy all worked against Obama. Probably some racism but not as much as you might think. He didn’t even try to contest it. Note though every county went against Kerry here, and Kansas and Nebraska also went heavily for Bush and McCain. (Except for Nebraska-2 that is.)

  14. I just think he’d’ve been a better pick than you-know-who.

    Ironically I think that even Lord Voldemort would’ve been a better pick than Biden.

    So, as we see here:

    Richardson > Voldemort > Biden

  15. Mormons people, Mormons. They wanted Romney to be VP.

    Yeah, well, fuck ’em anyway. They bankrolled Yes on 8. It still blows my mind that churches get a tax exemption.

  16. I agree, churches should be taxed. But don’t look for it to happen in our lifetimes.

  17. I’ve lived in Oklahom all my life. It’s always been a very republican state, for better or for worse. There’s pockets of liberalism here and there, mostly in certain bars where the stupid hipster kids hang out, but it’s largely a conservative state. It’s no surprise to me that Obama didn’t get many votes here.

  18. Hell with the fiscal crises state and local governments are having, taxing church lands and income would be a real quick way to reap income.

  19. “Ironically I think that even Lord Voldemort would’ve been a better pick than Biden.”

    There is nothing ironic about that at all. Voldemort can at least put two sentences together without saying something stupid. Please God let the Secret Service do a good job of protecting Obama.

  20. I’m more shocked that Obama managed to win Indiana.

  21. “Hell with the fiscal crises state and local governments are having, taxing church lands and income would be a real quick way to reap income.”

    First, that isn’t happening. Second, the states that are in the worst shape fiscally, California, New York, Michigan are not exactly the red states. As Dem dominated states start to grow broke, maybe their populations will wake up to the fact that “gee maybe we can’t have free healthcare for all and 25% raises for all state employees”. Things are going to be very interesting in the States over the next few years.

  22. I don’t think any states are exactly swimming around in money right now.

  23. “I don’t think any states are exactly swimming around in money right now.”

    But states like Oklahoma and Kansas and Texas are not going bankrupt the way New York and CA are about to.

  24. I don’t know about OK and KS, but wasn’t the mortgage crisis pretty bad in places like Georgia, Texas, and Arizona? I’d say FL too but it is a blue state now.

  25. And housing crisis=lower tax revenue.

  26. It is hitting hard BDB, but it looks like CA and New York may really go bankrupt as in default on their debts. Those other states will just have to go through the normal round of budget cutting. I am talking about something different. In states like NY or Maryland or CA, the public employee unions are so powerful that it is impossible to stop spending. They really are going to kill the host if they are not careful. I don’t think Florida will go broke. They will just scream and cry and do what is necessary. New York, not so much.

  27. Hey Stupid — it’s the economy.

  28. I live in central OK, and all I can say is…what housing crisis?

  29. In doing a bit of bored research on California’s infamous Proposition 8, I found an interesting anomaly. In pre-election polls, 73% of prospective Obama voters said they would vote against it. Yet, it passed with 52% of the vote in a state that gave 61% of its votes to Mr. Messiah. I hereby nominate the name the “Sulu Effect” to refer to the unique phenomenon of saying you support gay rights to pollsters then stabbing them in the back in the voting booth.

  30. I wonder if Obama could have won Montana if he had taken my advice and tagged Brian Schweitzer. But like everyone else does, he ignored me.

    Actually, Schweitzer probably didn’t have enough national standing but I really do think that Bill Richardson would have helped Obama in the west.

    Would he have helped him over the top in any of those states? Who knows? I just think he’d’ve been a better pick than you-know-who.

    Joe Shit the ragman would have been a better pick than you-know-who. Nothing quite says CHANGE! like a 66 year old drug warrior, union beholding career beltway politician.

  31. It is hitting hard BDB, but it looks like CA and New York may really go bankrupt as in default on their debts.

    Sigh. If only a better-managed state could buy out California and lay off some of our legislators.

  32. So what happened?

    Yeah, the numbers are totally mystifying. Unless you look at them before you repeat them.

    The percentage of Republicans who wouldn’t leave the house to vote for McCain is high enough to have made him lose, and highest in the places that are most Republican. Weird, eh?

    Some of them came out just for Palin, whose approval among Republican voters is near-universal, but it wasn’t enough to offset McCain disdain. He was about a 10-point net drag on the ticket in very “red” states, and proportionally less in proportionally more “blue” ones.

    Just like the numbers say.

  33. I think Joe Biden was a sop to liberal comedians. It gives them an easy target akin to Bush or Clinton. Obama’s too straight laced to easily make fun of, but Biden is comedy gold.

  34. Oh and at the time I think Richardson would have been a bad pick because I think doubling down on minorities would hurt Obama. However, with the red-assed beating Obama handed McCain, He could have won even with the minority double down.

  35. But states like Oklahoma and Kansas and Texas are not going bankrupt the way New York and CA are about to.

    Well, Red states tend to suck much harder on the federal teat, so that’s not all that shocking.

  36. Old Bush will make sure he protects any states that have republican governors. That’s why some states are not as bankrupt as others. There’s a lot of money going under the table at the GOP table since Bush is on his way out.

  37. As Dem dominated states start to grow broke, maybe their populations will wake up to the fact that “gee maybe we can’t have free healthcare for all and 25% raises for all state employees”.

    Maybe their populations will also wake up to the fact that they’re being bled dry by all the red states, and demand that the red states either start pulling their own weight or start living in the grinding poverty that their freeloading ways have created.

  38. A lot of people imagine Salt Lake City as teeming with bonnet-wearing Mormons who each have 13 matching children trailing behind them. I know I harbored some stereotypes before I lived there.

    I’ve since lived in SLC three times for various reasons and it’s actually a very liberal city/surrounding area, and has become increasingly liberal in the last four years. Wandering around Sugarhouse (a neighborhood of SLC), you’d never realize you were in Utah. I know a number of ward-attending Mormons who voted for Obama.

  39. Isaac Bartram | November 7, 2008, 2:10pm | #

    I wonder if Obama could have won Montana if he had taken my advice and tagged Brian Schweitzer. But like everyone else does, he ignored me.

    Schweitzer almost certainly would have turned down a VP slot.

  40. Oh, to be sure. As I said he really doesn’t have the national stature.

    If picking Richardson would have been “doubling down on minorities” picking Schweitzer would have been “doubling down on ‘inexperience’“.

    McCain would have had a field day. Might not have helped him but it would have made for some even shriller rhetoric.

    I would’ve just liked to see someone besides a tired old eastern establishment liberal hack.

  41. Couple things happened in Utah:

    The LDS percentage of population has been slowly ratcheting down over time.

    Romney.

    McCain is a socialist on economic issues, and from an LDS perspective, bad on social issues.

    The Republicans have been steadily trashing their brand since 2000.

    My LDS home teacher was agonizing over whether to support McCain or just stay home, and he’s a rock-solid conservative vote-every-election Republican.

  42. Salt Lake City is this odd enigma — the center of Mormon cultural conservatism at Temple Square, surrounded by a big city that, like most big cities, is relatively liberal (at least by LDS standards). For example, check out

    today’s craigslist Casual Encounters for SLC.

    Go out into the rural farming communities, and it’s like 90%-95% LDS Republicans.

  43. Isaac Bartram | November 7, 2008, 5:37pm | #

    If picking Richardson would have been “doubling down on minorities” picking Schweitzer would have been “doubling down on ‘inexperience'”.

    Nah. Schweitzer could have countered “You Betcha” with a three minute long answer about the Middle East.

    In fluent Arabic.

  44. In doing a bit of bored research on California’s infamous Proposition 8, I found an interesting anomaly. In pre-election polls, 73% of prospective Obama voters said they would vote against it. Yet, it passed with 52% of the vote in a state that gave 61% of its votes to Mr. Messiah. I hereby nominate the name the “Sulu Effect” to refer to the unique phenomenon of saying you support gay rights to pollsters then stabbing them in the back in the voting booth.

    I think you need to recheck your math before jumping to this conclusion.

    61% Obama voters X.73 = 44.5% NO votes

    39% McCain voters X .09 = 3.5% NO votes

    44.5% + 3.5% = 48% NO votes overall

    Not saying McCain voters necessarily went 10-1 for Prop. 8, but it’s mathematically possible for all the Obama voters to have been truthful. Throw in a healthy margin of error due to small sample size for that 73% number you quoted, and we’re talking about something that doesn’t defy common sense.

  45. As someone who lived in CdA, ID for years, the results aren’t surprising at all. You’re only going to be surprised about North Idaho voting for a Democrat if you know jack shit about North Idaho. Of course, that goes for pretty much all of the rest of the country, who assumes North Idaho is full of the same Bible-beating assholes as southern Idaho.

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