According to data just released by the Gallup Poll, there are only five states where a statistically significant plurality of adults identify themselves as Republicans.
All told, 29 states and the District of Columbia had Democratic party affiliation advantages of 10 points or greater last year. This includes all of the states in the Northeast, and all but Indiana in the Great Lakes region. There are even several Southern states in this grouping, including Arkansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky.
An additional six states had Democratic advantages ranging between 5 and 9 points.
In contrast, only five states had solid or leaning Republican orientations in 2008, with Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Alaska in the former group, and Nebraska in the latter.
So, what does this mean? An anomaly based upon Obama’s charisma? According to Gallup, the implications are a bit more ominous than that for the Repulbican Party.
The political landscape of the United States has clearly shifted in the Democratic direction, and in most states, a greater proportion of state residents identified as Democrats or said they leaned to the Democratic Party in 2008 than identified as Republicans or leaned Republican.
As recently as 2002, a majority of states were Republican in orientation. By 2005, movement in the Democratic direction was becoming apparent, and this continued in 2006. That dramatic turnaround is clearly an outgrowth of Americans’ dissatisfaction with the way the Republicans (in particular, President George W. Bush) governed the country.
Just more evidence as to how irrelevant the Republican party has become. The ground has shifted, leaving those of us who live in what Nate Silver calls “the Mormon Belt” behind. Of course, the Republicans will eventually “reinvent” themselves and become a vital force again. But, whatever the reinvented party might look like, I can’t see the rigid ideology that defines them now surviving.