Southwest Regional Trend
Southwestern states are: Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Based on voting patterns since 1992, 2 of these states are within the margin for trending, one is trending Republican and one is trending Democrat. However, if you compare data going from the 2000 election to the 2004 election, Texas and New Mexico are trending slightly to the Democrats while Arizona is slighting trending rightward. Nevada is clearly trending towards the Democrats in both analysis, and Nevada is the fastest leftward moving state out of the current red states. All of these states are seeing booming minority, specifically Hispanic, population increases. These voters are starting to move leftward, especially second and third generation immigrants that aren't as religious as the first generation. Texas is the most red state in terms of population, and it is seeing more of its counties trending towards the Democrats than towards the Republicans. 12 out of Nevada's 16 counties are moving leftward at a fairly quick pace. As the population of Hispanic voters continues to increase, these Southwestern states will continue their trend. The GOP is beating itself on the head in this region because of its anti-immigrant tones. The Republican party will continue to alienate voters who may be more socially inclined to side with their party by taking the hard-core anti-immigrant stance to appease its other base. I think the Republican party has grown to large to appease all its constituent bases, and the Southwest will continue to trend Democratically, especially if the Democrats continue their move to a more Populist platform.