Volatility at an Historic High

If Democrats and Republicans can agree on one thing, it's that they both want "change." Barack Obama called for it in 2008, and Republicans are calling for it now. What that "change" means is of course up for debate, but one thing's for sure: 2010 will be the third straight change election. 

Chuck Todd made this observation recently and noted that "in 2006, Democrats won control of Congress. In 2008, Democrats won the White House. And in 2010, Republicans appear poised to take back control of Congress." Chuck added that only three times since World War I have 20 or more seats flipped in three straight elections -- after World War I, during the Great Depression, and after World War II. 

The map below shows fairly steady voting patterns from 1976-2000 through most of the nation, with the Mississippi River Valley and the Ohio River Valley standing out as the nation's preeminent battlegrounds. The map is unfortunately somewhat outdated, but as recently as 2006, Stu Rothenberg wrote that "the Ohio River has become a focal point of American politics recently, and that isn't likely to change this year." 

He was right--the Ohio River Valley is still a major battleground. The only difference is that the rest of the nation has embraced its thirst for change. Volatile Counties, 1976-2000
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Patrick Ottenhoff has been writing The Electoral Map blog since 2007. A former staff writer for National Journal Group and project manager at New Media Strategies, he now attends Georgetown's McDonough School of Business. More

Patrick Ottenhoff attends Georgetown McDonough School of Business in the Class of 2012. He previously served as a project manager in the Public Affairs Practice of New Media Strategies and was a staff writer for National Journal Group. Patrick has been writing The Electoral Map blog since 2007. As the name implies, the blog covers news and commentary at the intersection of politics and geography, but it also analyzes the stories, people, culture, sports, and food behind the maps and the votes. Patrick is a native Virginian and graduate of Union College in New York. You can follow The Electoral Map on Twitter and Facebook, and follow Patrick on YouTube.

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