Here Are the U.S. Counties Most Like North Korea (in Terms of Voting)
Kim Jong-Un's overwhelming victory this weekend — 100 percent of the vote — is an outlier. But overwhelming support (if not 100 percent) for a candidate even happens here.
Kim Jong-Un's overwhelming victory to represent his district in North Korea's parliament this weekend — 100 percent turnout, 100 percent of the vote — is an outlier in electoral politics. (To the extent that it seems … suspicious.) But overwhelming support (if not 100 percent) for a candidate even happens here in the United States.
In 2012, 238 counties gave at least 80 percent of their votes to either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama. Of the counties Romney won (over 2,400), 7.6 percent he won with at least 80 percent of the vote. Of his 1,500-plus counties, Obama won 3.43 percent with at least that margin.
Romney's best county was King County, Texas, which he won with 95.9 percent of the votes cast — but there were fewer than 200 votes in total. His widest margin in a county of more than 10,000 votes was Madison County, Idaho, where Romney got 93.3 percent.
Obama's best county was Shannon, South Dakota (somewhat suprisingly), where he got over 93.4 percent of the vote. His widest margin of a county casting more than 10,000 votes was in Washington, DC, which he won with 91.4 percent of the vote.
All of the 80-percent-plus counties are mapped below. You'll notice some geographic delineations.
In the aftermath of the 2012 race, some attention was drawn to even more North Korea-esque areas, polling precincts in which Mitt Romney received precisely zero votes. Given the outcome and the fact that this generally occurred in more urban districts, there was a brief flurry of conspiracy theory mongering. (For example.) But there were a number of places, mostly in the South, where Obama got zero votes.
This is an artifact of the democratic process: sometimes low turnout or overwhelming support can make an election look rigged or unfair. Which is very different than actually rigging an unfair election by, say, only listing the name Kim Jong-Un on the ballot.