NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BLUE AND RED STATES?

November 8, 2004

What the difference between the so-called blue and red states? Jerry Bowyer of the New York Sun has found some notable, objective differences.

When ranked according to the percentage change in population from 1990 to 2000, the states that have grown the fastest tended to vote for Bush while those that have grown the slowest tended to vote for Gore.

  • In the 2000 election, 9 of the 10 fastest growing states were won by Bush, while 7 of the 10 slowest growing states were won by Gore (including the District of Columbia, the only electoral area that actually lost population).
  • In the 2004 election, 9 of the 10 fastest growing states were again won by Bush, while 6 of the 10 slowest growing states were won by Kerry, 3 were won by Bush (North Dakota, West Virginia, and Ohio), and 1 is undecided (Iowa).

In states that gained electors as a result of population shifts, Bush fared well in both 2000 and 2004.

  • In both elections, Bush won all 4 states that gained 2 electors from 1990 to 2000 (Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Florida).
  • Bush won 3 of the 4 states that gained 1 elector from 1990 to 2000 (Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina and California).
  • In the two elections, Bush and the Democratic candidate evenly split the eight states that lost only one elector.

The population shifts and consequent electoral trends may be accounted for by the economic climate in these states, says Bowyer. Those states rated economically freest on the index of state economic freedom published by the National Center for Policy Analysis favored Bush. In 2000, 9 of the 10 economically freest states were won by Bush, and in 2004, he won 8 of the 10.

Source: Update by the National Center for Policy Analysis; based on Jerry Bowyer, "Why the Blue States Are Blue," November 1, 2004.

 

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