As Josh noted yesterday,
the most dramatic change in the Illinois presidential map between 2004 and 2008 is the blue-ing of the collar counties. Solid Bush terrain
four years ago, every single county swung for Barack Obama on Tuesday.
Here's a data comparison (click &...
As Josh noted yesterday, the most dramatic change in the Illinois presidential map between 2004 and 2008 is the blue-ing of the collar counties. Solid Bush terrain four years ago, every single county swung for Barack Obama on Tuesday.
Here's a data comparison (click "Sheet 2" to see the popular vote margins):
A few things seem fairly obvious from the returns Tuesday night. The first is that the "Emerging Democratic Majority" -- which started to develop in the 1990s but was stunted by Sept. 11 -- appears to have arrived. The New Republic's John Judis explains in his sharp election analysis published Wednesday:
The new Democratic realignment reflects the shift that began decades ago toward a post-industrial economy centered in large urban-suburban metropolitan areas devoted primarily to the production of ideas and services rather than material goods. (In The Emerging Democratic Majority, Ruy Teixeira and I called these places "ideopolises.") Clustered in the regions that have undergone this economic transition are the three main groups that constitute the backbone of the new Democratic majority: professionals (college-educated workers who produce ideas and services); minorities (African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans); and women (particularly working, single, and college-educated women).
The Chicago area is a prime example of this transformation. Immigrants and professionals with graduate degrees have flooded the collar counties, as they have metropolitan centers like Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, Denver/Boulder, and Raleigh. And among those voters, Obama did exceptionally well. Exit polls showed the Democrats "sharply increasing their share of white, college-educated voters. Bush carried this group by 11 points, but Obama narrowed that deficit to four, continuing a trend away from the Republican Party by college-educated professionals that has been underway for at least a decade." Latinos also heavily favored Obama. Two-thirds cast ballots for the Democrat and more Latinos voted for Obama than had voted for John Kerry in 2004 by 13 percentage points.
In the Prairie State specifically, the political shift among these demographic groups was undoubtedly sped along by the popularity of favorite son Obama. But disgust with President Bush is just as important. Angela demonstrated yesterday how poorly Illinois immigrants have responded to the GOP's rightward shift. Among white suburban residents, a similar phenomenon is taking place. “Bush made it possible for people to say this agenda is completely messed up," Dupage Co. resident Amy Tauchmann told us in March, "and it does not represent at all what I have understood our country to be, in DuPage or anywhere else.”
Of course, with Obama atop the ticket and the economy tanking as fast as the Republican "brand," some may consider this year an anomaly. I'm one to believe that the GOP's strong showing in the area's congressional races had more to do with the power of incumbency than anything else, but we will have to wait another few years to find out.