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FiveThirtyEight: How 2016 Can Shift PA’s Electorate (Maps)

fivethirtyeight-paWhat does the future hold?

David Wasserman, Reuben Fischer-Braun and Ritchie King of FiveThirtyEight sought to find out. The trio built a county-by-county model that examined what would happen if there was a major shift in the electorate.

Specifically, they wanted to see what would happen if non-college educated whites drifted further to the GOP and the Dems continued to make gains among non-whites and college educated whites.

The map of Pennsylvania above charts the percentage in each county of non-college educated whites that voted for Barack Obama and non-whites as well as college educated whites that voted for Mitt Romney.

If the Dems have more potential votes in the county under this shift, that county is shaded blue. If Republicans have the upside, that county is shaded red.

As you can see, the GOP would gain the most benefit in Lackawanna (+28%), Carbon (+21%), Fayette (+21%), Elk (+19%), Erie (+19%), Luzerne (+19%) and Schuylkill (+19%) Counties.  

Meanwhile, just six counties would trend towards the Democrats: Chester (+13%), Butler (+6%), Cumberland (+4%), Centre (+3%), Montgomery (+3%) and Union (+2%).

Nationwide, however, this swap wouldn’t change the results in many states including Pennsylvania. In fact, the FiveThirtyEight analysts tested these numbers against the 2012 results and found a minimal impact on the Electoral College. They project Ohio, Iowa and Maine’s 2nd Congressional District (Maine and Nebraska divide their electoral votes by congressional district) would go red while North Carolina would go blue.

They ran this same projection on a county basis and found just two PA counties would shift from their 2012 position. Luzerne County would go from blue to red while Chester County would move from red to blue.


Interestingly, the voter registration numbers back up this calculation as the Democratic advantage in Luzerne County and the Republican lead in Chester County are rapidly declining this year.

6 Responses

  1. Chester County is one of the most segregated counties in the state. Look it up. Poverty has INCREASED over the years. Look it up. The only ones who have done well are the R pols and their cronies who get whatever development rights they want. The new housing here is the crappiest I have seen anywhere in the state. Fortunately, the demographic change that happened last decade in Montco is already happening here, and will turn it Blue in 5 years or less. Look that up too, Ayn Rand mini brain.

  2. @John: I’m not sure what you mean by ‘overly cumbersome’ endorsement process. I think their process is transparent and straightforward. My point is look at the level of education, quality of schools, housing market, open space, etc. Republican leadership has benefited the county as a whole. ChesCo is years ahead of most counties in the commonwealth.

  3. @John Galt: Any success Republicans have had in Chester County is only due to the self-fulfilling prophecy that results when you literally have to be registered as an R to win an election in the county. When Democrats become viable, the actual human beings that choose run for office will feel free to run under the party they actually align with ideologically, but will still be just as talented at public service with a D next to their name. This is the opinion of many current Republican committee people – who, once the D’s are viable, will actually be happy to switch to D because of the Rs’ overly cumbersome endorsement process.

  4. Chester county has done exceedingly well under Republican leadership dated back to Reconstruction. I would hate to see how the Democrats would retard progress should they gain control of the county.

  • Does the NYC Verdict Make You More or Less Likely to Vote For Trump in 2024?

    • Less Likely (36%)
    • More Likely (34%)
    • Makes No Difference (30%)

    Total Voters: 112

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