This is the final part of three posts analyzing the congressional districts President Barack Obama underperformed in. It will focus on the movement in Appalachia and the South Central United States. The previous parts can be found starting here.
The 2010 Midterms
Let’s take one last look at those districts in which Mr. Obama did worse than Senator John Kerry:
One sees again, as clear as ever, the diagonal pattern of Republican movement in South Central America and the Appalachians.
These districts differ from the northeastern and Florida-based regions examined in the previous post. Unlike those congressional districts, the districts in South Central and Appalachia vote strongly Republican.
These districts differ from the northeastern and Florida-based regions examined in the previous post. Unlike those congressional districts, the districts in South Central and Appalachia vote strongly Republican. Many of them were never much loyal to the Democrats in the first place; those that did vote Democratic generally stopped doing so after President Bill Clinton left the ticket.
Nevertheless, a number of these South Central and Appalachian districts are still represented by Democratic congressmen. This is readily apparent if one looks at a list of congressional districts in which Mr. Obama underperformed Mr. Kerry. This is how these districts looked prior to the 2010 midterms:
There were a surprisingly high number of Democrats on this list. As one might expect, the Democratic-voting districts all elect Democrats (except, ironically, for the most Democratic one). Yet more than half of the Republican-voting districts on the list also were represented by Democrats.
That is actually an amazing statistic. These are places in Appalachia and South Central which are already voting Republican, which are fast becoming even more Republican, and which were electing Democratic congressmen.
For Democrats, congressional districts like constituted ticking time bombs. They would have been the first to fall in a Republican wave. There was literally no way the party can continue holding the majority of seats in Arkansas, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
And 2010 was that a Republican wave year. Before 2010, Democrats controlled 14 Republican-voting seats in which Barack Obama did worse than John Kerry. Of these 14 seats, today Democrats only control five: OK-2 (Boren), AR-4 (Ross), WV-3 (Rahall), PA-4 (Altmire), and PA-12 (Critz). Republicans swept the other eight seats.
Today Appalachia seems to be going a conservative realignment that has no end in the foreseeable future.