What are the tipping points in the states likely to decide the 2016 presidential election?
Bellwether counties in swing states show that the demographic gulf between the Democrats’ more urban coalition and the Republicans’ base of rural and blue collar whites is poised to grow ever larger in 2016.
To pinpoint the factors that could decide the places at the fulcrum of the struggle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, The Atlantic, working with Polidata, an election analytics firm, examined voting trends in several key swing states to explore how their vote has shifted in recent elections.
In Ohio, Florida and Colorado, the analysis compared the county-by-county vote in 2004, the last time a GOP presidential nominee carried the state, with the results during President Obama’s victories in those states in 2012; in North Carolina, it compared the results between 2008, when Obama won the state, and 2012 when Mitt Romney took it.
This analysis found a clear pattern that suggests the stark demographic divides of the 2016 race will accelerate and intensify the patterns of voter allegiance already visible in recent elections. Looking across the four states, the greatest increases in Democratic votes consistently emerged from among the largest counties, places that almost universally had a high minority population, above-average numbers of college graduates or both. Simultaneously, over the same period, Republicans typically deepened their advantage in smaller, more heavily white counties across these states.