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 The map is unfortunately somewhat outdated, but as recently as 2006, Stu Rothenberg wrote that "the Ohio River has become a focal point of American politics recently, and that isn't likely to change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
Presented by

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.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Politics

Just In