Election Predictions

Election predictions for all national races in the United States, as well as governor election predictions. Check back daily for updates.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

West Coast Regional Trend

The West Coast states are, you guessed it, California, Oregon, and Washington. All three states are continuing their leftward trend. California's quick leftward movement can be attributed to the large influx of minorities to the state. Furthermore, almost all population growth in California has been around the major cities. These areas are heavily trending to the Democrats. Maybe this is because all the liberals are flocking to California, but that is probably just Republican hope. In fact, Californian Republicans are more fiscally conservative than socially, aka Reagan Democrats. The Republican party's increasing emphasis on social issues has swung these voters towards the Democratic side. An influence on social values could be partially attributed to Hollywood and it's liberal-ness. Up and down the West Coast, however, the trend towards the Democrats cannot be explained by an influx of minorities and Hollywood. The biggest influence on trend has been the environmental movement. These three western states have been the most ambitious towards achieving environmental goals, especially California and Washington. Sustainable development is all the rage in the Northwest, and the Bush administration's, and other Republicans, staunch opposition to any environmental laws that impede development has pushed these voters away from them. The conservative argument would be that you are infringing on the rights of the people by making these laws. However, West Coast residents are rebuking them by saying: we should have the right to be free from sprawl, excessive air pollution, and have the right to have a clean environment that benefits the economy, our health, peace of mind, tourism, and future generations. Republicans that have been elected recently on the West Coast, if you notice, have been more pro-environment than the average Republican. As the Democratic party continues to make the environment an important issue, more West Coast voters will leave the Republican party. I don't see the Republicans ever taking back these three states, unless they clean up their environmental act. They could also stop hammering social issues. For example, Oregon has an assisted suicide law that was just ruled as trumping federal law. While you may not agree with assisted suicide, you can evidence from that the mindset of West Coaster's in terms of social issues. These states also have some of the most abortion friendly medical laws. Out of California's 36 Republican counties, 17 of them are trending Democrat. Out of California's 22 Democratic counties, only 4 of them are trending Republican. Out of Oregon's 27 GOP counties, 23 are trending Democrat. Not one of its 8 Democratic counties are moving rightward. Finally, out of Washington's 28 Republican counties, 25 are trending Democrat. One out of it's 13 Democratic counties are moving rightward. This region is a safe haven for Democrats and will only grow safer.


  • At 5:25 PM , Blogger Sara said...

    Some thoughts from a native Left Coaster (Californian):

    I agree with your analyses on the leftward trends (especially on the environment, being an environmental sciences major), but I think there is something else that at least drove California leftward - immigration. Former Republican Governor Pete Wilson embraced an anti-immigration platform as governor and when running for president in 1996, not really in good taste in the state with the highest concentration of immigrants (28% in the latest census stats). The rightward shift of the Republican Party in California (which was once the party of Goodwin Knight and Earl Warren) drove minorities and moderate Republicans slowly into the Democrat Party. These days, Republicans in Central and Northern California detest the "Hollywood" Republicans. Wilson also had big intra-party fights.

    All 3 West Coast states are also very socially libertarian on most (though not all) social issues:

    - The High Court upheld Oregon's euthanasia law.

    - All 3 states are overwhelmingly pro-choice (over 80% of Californians do not want Roe overturned).

    - Oregon and California also have medical marijuana legalized statewide.

    Religious issues may also play a role in the "Left Coast's" leftward tendencies: the religiously diverse states do not like the rule of Christian fundamentalism.

    An interesting fact: Washington has the highest proportion of non-religious people, 27%. Oregon is tied with Vermont for 2nd place with 24%. California is also up there with 20%. In fact, every state with 20% or higher non-religious is a Western state save Vermont.

  • At 7:31 PM , Blogger Mark said...

    I was surprised to see how much better Bush did in 2004 than 2000 in the LA area, such as Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, along with Orange County which trended rightward again after a couple election cycles of shifting away from the GOP. Considering the rising Hispanic population in these areas (particularly San Bernardino County, where Bush's margin rose from two points in 2000 to 11 points in 2004), the Democrats had better not the mistake of taking Hispanics for granted or the 2004 numbers could prove to be more than an aberration.

  • At 8:06 PM , Blogger Sara said...

    Update: Euthanasia law under consideration in California:


  • At 4:04 PM , Blogger Conservative Schooler said...


    The reason California appears to be trending leftward is becasue Arnold Schwarznegger has done a terrible job pushing his ideals. It's not that the state is getting any more liberal.

    Consider the extremely high approval ratings for State Senator Tom McClintock, a very staunch, conservative Republican. When conservatives present their ideas in an effective way, we can win very easily in California.

  • At 10:20 PM , Blogger Tom said...

    Mark, do you happen to have seen any news on Mejias lately?

  • At 12:48 AM , Blogger Sara said...

    California's leftward trend started long before the Arnold years. After going solidly for hometown boy Reagan in 80 and 84 (and GOP in every pres election since the Johnson landslide), CA went to Bush 1 by just 3% in 88, and then to Clinton in 92 (even without Perot Clinton would still have won CA) and 96, and solidly for Gore and Kerry. Not only that, but Barbara Boxer has faced increasing margins of victory in her Senate runs.

    I am not surprised that McClintock has high approval ratings...the ratings are from his own district. Republicans in California can still win in specific districts, but it has become harder for them to win statewide unless they come off as moderate, like the California GOP once was (the party of Earl Warren). (Side note: I don't like extremist Democrats either; I am neither Dem nor GOP.)

    It only seems even harder for a staunch conservative to win statewide in California these days, considering only a third approve of Bush.


  • At 9:54 AM , Blogger Mark said...

    Tom, no news about Meijas. I haven't been following it too closely. Tim J is the native Long Islander so he probably has better insight on the matter.


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