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Even in Democratic year, Republicans demonstrate strength in Congressional Elections & at State Level

Today, in his statement on the fiscal cliff and tax rates, President Obama said that “on Tuesday night we found out that the the majority of Americans agree” with his plan for people “making over $250,000” to pay more in his taxes.  Now, to be sure, that was one of the few concrete proposals he did make in the campaign.

If the American people really did agree with him, how come the majority of Americans voted for legislators opposed to this approach?[*]  “Republicans“, reports Michael Barone in the Wall Street Journal

. . . won or are leading in 236 of the 435 House seats, down just six from the 2010 midterm. And they achieved this despite losing five seats because of partisan redistricting in Illinois and another five in California thanks to a supposedly nonpartisan redistricting commission that the Democrats successfully gamed.

And it’s not just the federal legislature where Republicans made a strong showing.  In state legislative races, Republicans also held their own, meaning that Democrats are, as I noted earlier today, are “even further behind” their post-2008 standing at the state level.Right after President Obama’s election, in twelve swing (or near-swing) states, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, Democrats had complete control (Governor, both houses of the legislature) in five, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin, Republicans in just one Florida.

Today, Democrats only have complete control in two, Colorado and Minnesota, and hold both houses of the legislature in Nevada while a Republican sits in the governor’s chair.  Republicans have complete control in six, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, almost complete control in Virginia, holding the governor’s chair, the state House and with a split state Senate.

Since 2009, in those twelve swing (or near-swing) states, Republicans have lost only the governor’s chair in Minnesota.  Democrats have lost the governor’s chair in Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, the state Senate in New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia (from majority to tie) and Wisconsin, the state House in Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.  While some state legislatures (e.g. Colorado House, New Hampshire House and both chambers in Minnesota) flipped from Republican to Democrat this year, none that were in Republican hands in 2009 flipped back to the Democrats this year.  None.

In an election year that favored the Democrats at the national level, Republicans are not just in a stronger position in the states than they were right after Obama’s victory in 2008, they are also in a stronger position there than Democrats were right after that banner Democratic election.  In a D+6 election, Republicans did very well down ballot.

And the only governor’s chair to flip this year was in North Carolina where it flipped from Democrat to Republican.

Hardly a sign of a party in decline.


*UPDATE: Ann Althouse takes issue with Obama’s claim.  It’s short and well worth your time.



  1. My concern is the western states are threatening to go Democratic like Colorado and New Mexico. Some Republican governors like New Jersey Chris Cristie can be considered a nominal Republican. In Nevada, the governor is presiding over a Democratic House and Senate.

    Republican hold of the States and House is tenuous at best.

    It is a bad sign for Republicans to lose more Senate seats. We need to have better candidates. As much as I like Romney, we sort of ignored his weaknesses as a candidate. In retrospect, his performance at the 2nd and 3rd debate allowed Obama to come bad and win. Romney’s 47% gaffe was his actual strategy, which left many potential votes on the table. He ignored the social conservatives by not emphasizing the mandates of Obamacare.

    These Presidential campaigns need better advisers. I still can’t believe Steve Schmidt, Former McCain Adviser, out there working on other campaigns.

    Comment by anon322531 — November 9, 2012 @ 5:46 pm - November 9, 2012

  2. Republicans have complete control in six states, but none of them could deliver a win for Romney. I´m tired of hearing about the weakness of Romney´s campaign. Maybe he need better advisors. Romney still had far more substance than Barak Obama. It´s just that more Americans are becoming used to the nanny state. Remember Occupy Wall Street? Gimme, gimme, gimme.

    Comment by Roberto — November 9, 2012 @ 6:03 pm - November 9, 2012

  3. anon, I think you’re right about 47%. It was a very tone-deaft strategy.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — November 9, 2012 @ 6:05 pm - November 9, 2012

  4. VERY INTERESTING. Three Separate Maps of County by County vote and vote trends in the 2012 Presidential Election…

    Comment by Steve — November 9, 2012 @ 8:07 pm - November 9, 2012

  5. “If the American people really did agree with him, how come the majority of … legislators opposed to this approach?”

    Comment by Passing By — November 9, 2012 @ 8:43 pm - November 9, 2012

  6. I think that this is all well and good. But what about here in Cali? What are we going to do to get the GOP back as a serious party? How are we going to stop the registration bleeding? Are we on our way of becoming the GOP in Massachusetts? New York? I worry about that. We have to be much more than Dem Lite. It has not been good. We need to be more agressive. We need to have real one-on-one outreach to Hispanics and Asians. They are the fast-growing groups. I hate indentity politics. Victim politics. BUT, I think that if every one of us 28% that are registered Republicans made a real effort to talk to that one Asian and Hispanic that is a friend and explain why we are Republicans and conservatives, it would be a good start. We can not depend on media, technology and other things alone.

    Comment by Mark J. Goluskin — November 10, 2012 @ 12:38 am - November 10, 2012

  7. The GOP control 30 governors & numerous state legislatures (from 2012 & 2010); this will have dramatic ramifications in 2014 & beyond. Obama himself is still on shifting sand. And the Democrats should be concerned…

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — November 10, 2012 @ 10:54 am - November 10, 2012

  8. But what about here in Cali? What are we going to do to get the GOP back as a serious party?

    You can’t. You opened your borders, and you gave welfare and votes to everybody who crossed them. What did you think was going to happen?

    How are we going to stop the registration bleeding? Are we on our way of becoming the GOP in Massachusetts? New York?

    No, you’re already there.

    Comment by V the K — November 10, 2012 @ 11:27 am - November 10, 2012

  9. Mark,

    What you propose is pollyannish. Instead of explaining to that Hispanic or Asian friend, better to ask them why they aren´t Republican and or conservative. Knowing their feelings then you go from there. Next the Party must understand that one size does not fit all. There is a need to understand ethnicity and nationality. Koreans are different from Japanese, and the former has resentment against the latter for the over 40 years occupation by the Japanese. Vietnamese are different from Chinese. Look at San Francisco, the largest Chinatown outside of China. What has been voting trends there? A Mexican is different from a Salvadorian. Mexicans have ruled by PRI a socialist party for 70 years. Petroleum industry is government owned, there is universal health care and last but not least the tortilla subsidy. The two right wing PAN presidents were abject failures. As for Central Americans, who have lived through the various civil wars of the 70´s & 80´s and migrated as political exiles. Each side not too sure of the eventual outcome. Those who supported the communists will be Democrats and those loyal to the government are usually Republicans. Puerto Ricans are different from Cubans even though their both Carrabeans. The former has been a territory of the U.S since the Spanish American Wat, and are treated as citizens so they enter the mainland where they can get all the benefits like unemploymnet, etc. Cubans have been very entreprenuerial and have hate for the Castro Brothers all though this past election defies this. Blacks march lock step because the have leadership, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton. Mexicans now have Mayor Antonio Raigoza who as a college student was a member of MENChA, a racist organization which he has never repudiated. He is emerging as a leader. When I was a member of the Republican County Central committee in L.A. I tried to get this message across. They´ve a mental block, Family Values. For several generations of Mexican Americans, freebies trumps vgalues almost all the time.


    Did you read my comment #2? None one of them could deliver a win for Romney. If they couldn´t do it now, what makes you think they will be able to do it in 2014. I´ll put my money on the TEA Party.

    Comment by Roberto — November 10, 2012 @ 11:48 am - November 10, 2012

  10. @Roberto, you are right about the Tea Party. TEA PARTY people, I think many of us are, have done a better job bringing out, for lack of a better term, people of color. It is why we MUST be aggressive in getting the fossils out of GOP leadership EVERYWHERE. I also think that one way to address what is part of the freebie mentallity-and hey, it is NOT just Mexicans/Hispanics. After all, there is a group known, again for lack of a better term, White Trash. But one thing I notice in coversations with Hispanics is that they really do care about education. THERE is a real social issue. Maybe it is the ones I know. But I know some of the freebie mentality too. What ever it is not going to be an election cycle project. And I won’t give up. @ V the K, we are ALMOST there. Part of the problem is that they ARE LEAVING FOR OTHER STATES!!!!! Yet crickets will chirp when they come back-and they will-for more taxes. Because THEN, they will have to stick it to the “regular” folks.

    Comment by Mark J. Goluskin — November 10, 2012 @ 6:22 pm - November 10, 2012

  11. Mark,

    There is a difference between the mexican culture and White Trash. Mexicans were nurture under socialism. I would bet that any european who came here and didn´t have entrepreneurial aspirations would also be a Democrat because of socialist governments. The nanny state is very enticing. White Trash, which was primarily Occupy Wall Street, just wants to sit their collective ass and get everything free.

    Comment by Roberto — November 11, 2012 @ 3:50 pm - November 11, 2012

  12. The RNC ran the elections–not the Tea Party; the RNC alienated the Tea Party in many ways. Therefore, they didn’t show up on election day.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — November 12, 2012 @ 3:52 pm - November 12, 2012

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