While Mitt Romney lost Pennsylvania in 2012, Barack Obama did not increase his raw vote county in any county. In fact, Obama performed worse than John Kerry in terms of the raw vote in 40 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties. This is not all good news for the Republicans, but offers some rays of hope.
The first column contains the counties where Obama 2012 received more raw votes than Obama 2008. Obviously there is no counties that occurred so its blank and remains there merely for illustrative purposes. The second is the same but replace Obama 2012 with Kerry 2004. The third column is the counties where Obama 2008 outperformed both.
We see something of a pattern here. Obama might have lost votes in every county, but he has left the Democratic Party stronger in the central part of the state. Specifically the Pennsylvania German region of Pennsylvania sees a near universal improvement for Obama 2012 over Kerry 2004. The question is what is driving Obama's gains compared to Kerry in this region. I suspect it is a little bit of improving Democratic turnout operations in the minority pockets in these counties coupled with Republican brand issues. In addition, I suspect we are also seeing the Democrats perform better among minority voters in these areas in general. Historically speaking, minority voters in rural Pennsylvania have voted like their white neighbors. Far and few between in many areas, they were pretty well assimilated when it came to voting. That appears to be ending.
On the other hand, Obama lost significant numbers of voters in many counties. Some of this can be explained by population loss as most of them are seeing pronounced population loss among older voters who historically are more Democratic in these areas, i.e. western Pennsylvania, but it also seems the Democrats have seen a significant shift against them.
Part III will examine the relationship between Romney and Obama compared to Bush and Kerry. This will be the most interesting part of the series as it seeks to find a pattern for what appears to be a real issue for both parties in Pennsylvania
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