Thursday, August 7, 2008

Democratic Candidates Showing Strength In Southern States

The Republican fortress in the South, which started with the Goldwater campaign in 1964, has been an impregnable voting block of conservatives for 40 years.

Now, the Democratic Party is running its most competitive campaign across the South in 40 years, fielding potential winners along a rib of states stretching from Louisiana to Virginia.

As recently as July 2006, the year Democrats took control of Congress, a Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll showed Southern voters bucking national sentiment, saying they preferred Republicans over Democrats by 47% to 40%.

In early 2007, both parties expected only 35 to 40 House seats out of 435 to be truly competitive. However, in the latest Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll, conducted last month, Southern voters said they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress over a Republican one by a 44% to 40% margin, a reversal of the long-term historical patterns.

Presidential Election Results
Collin County

2004 71.2% 174,435 28.1% 68,935
2000 73.1% 128,179 24.4% 42,884
1996 63.0% 83,750 28.5% 37,854
1992 47.0% 60,514 19.0% 24,508
1988 74.3% 67,776 25.1% 22,934
1984 81.6% 61,095 18.2% 13,604
1980 67.9% 36,559 28.2% 15,187
1976 60.0% 21,608 39.0% 14,039
1972 78.0% 17,667 21.1% 4,783
1968 39.9% 6,494 36.4% 5,918
1964 29.8% 3,341 70.0% 7,833
1960 42.2% 3,865 57.1% 5,229

In the spring of 2008, Democratic candidates won special elections for U.S. House seats in heavily Republican parts of Mississippi and Louisiana.
  • MS Democrat Travis Childers beat Republican Greg Davis 54% to 46% in a U.S. House special election in a red Republican district.
  • LA's 6th district Democrat Cazayoux Woody Jenkins, won a special election 49% to 46%, for a seat held by a Republican for two decades.
Plus, last year, while not a southern race, it is significant that Democrat Bill Foster won the suburban Chicago House seat held for 21 years by Republican Dennis Hastert, the former House Speaker.

Democratic voter turnout consistently outpaced Republicans across the South in this year's presidential primaries, often by wide margins, even in Texas. In the 20 largest counties in Texas, 19 had more Democrats turnout than Republicans. Democrats outvoted Republicans in Republican strongholds like Collin County and Williamson County by at least 20,000 votes.

During the 2008 Democratic Primary more people voted on the Democratic Primary Ballot in Collin Co. than voted for John Kerry (68,935 votes for Kerry in Collin Co.) in the 2004 Presidential general election. More than 20,000 people attended the Democratic Party's 2008 Precinct Conventions on March 4th all across Collin County and approximately 4,000 people attended the Democratic Party's 2008 County Convention in Collin County. These are all historic record turnouts for the Democratic Party in Collin County.

In the 2008 election cycle several Republican-held House seats across the South, including rural districts in Virginia, North Carolina, Louisiana and South Carolina, that were once considered "safe" are looking more competitive as election day approaches. That could increase Democratic advantage of 19 House seats in the current Congress to an advantage of possibly up to 75 House seats over Republicans in the next Congress.

That edge could grow even larger if Collin County Democrats can turn out in large enough numbers to help Tom Daley, age 44, Democratic Candidate for the U.S. 3rd Texas Congressional District win against Republican incumbent Sam Johnson, age 78, and Glenn Melançon, age 42, Democratic Candidate for the U.S. 4th Texas Congressional District win against Republican incumbent Ralph Hall, age 85.

Read more about "The New Southern Strategy" in The Wall Street Journal.

Related Postings:

GOP Drops While Dem Voter Rolls Grow Across U.S.
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U.S. Senate Candidate Rick Noriega Latest Polling Info

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