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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Politics of Acreage

In analyzing House elections, political scientists do not pay enough attention to district characteristics. In that light, it is useful to think about some data from CQ:

Obama defeated McCain in 92 of the 100 congressional districts with the smallest land areas, according to a CQ Politics analysis that matched the election results with Census Bureau data on the square mileage of congressional districts. Democratic candidates for the U.S. House also cleaned up in these high-density districts, winning 87 of 100.

The more wide-open spacious a congressional district, though, the better McCain did. McCain defeated Obama in 73 of the nation’s 100 largest districts by land area. These areas also tend to be less racially and ethnically diverse and more conservative on cultural issues than the nation as a whole, and are virtual polar opposites of the tightly compact inner-city districts where Obama ran up the score.