While Gallup reports that results from the state-level analysis are consistent with national polls finding that a majority of Americans affiliated with any political party leaned toward or identified as Dems in 2008, election results suggest a robust population of Democratic sympathizers is not enough to guarantee that a state will actually vote for Democratic candidates. As the report explains,
Given that most states had a Democratic advantage in party affiliation last year, to some degree it can be argued that Barack Obama could have won many more electoral votes than he did. In fact, Obama won 28 states (plus the
) to John McCain's 22 in the 2008 election. District of Columbia
There are several reasons for possible disparities between the party affiliation data and the voting outcomes in a given state. First, turnout has typically been an equalizer in U.S. electoral politics because Democrats almost always have an advantage in identification, but Republicans have been competitive in national and state elections over the last three decades because Republicans are usually more likely than Democrats to vote. Second, one's partisan leaning is not a perfect predictor of voting in a presidential election, in which candidate-specific characteristics can influence a voter's choice. (Emphasis added.)
More momentum: Americans (heart) Democrats!
A report published today by Pew Research finds that the Democratic Party has a "vast favorability advantage" over the GOP among the American public. Overall, 62 percent of
Further parsing of the survey data shows that Americans believe historically excluded & ignored constituencies -- including African Americans, the poor, children, women, gays & lesbians, environmentalists, union leaders, and ordinary folks ("people like yourself") -- will gain significantly more political clout under President Obama's administration compared to the last eight years. The biggest losers in the influence department, Americans predict, will be business corporations, conservative Christians,
Another high note from the Pew study: in January 2009, 70 percent of Americans surveyed approved of the way President Obama explains his policies and plans. Opinion was sharply divided along partisan lines, however, with Democrats (92 percent) and Independent voters (67 percent) giving Obama a higher approval rating than Republicans (44 percent). Over 80 percent of Americans have heard "a lot" (33 percent) or "a little" about President Obama's economic recovery plan, and a majority -- 57 percent -- think the proposal is a good idea.
There's plenty more enlightening fodder for Democratic data geeks in the full report.