Close this search box.

Map: The Partisan Makeup of the Keystone State

Map-PA MunicipaltiesWhile browsing through the results of the New Hampshire primary, I came across this excellent map of the Northeast United States.

Christopher J. Kempf of the University of Connecticut broke down the 2012 presidential results by municipality for Pennsylvania (as well as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine).

This map is a terrific portrait of the Acela-Appalachian divide in PA, that I’ve written about recently.

Each municipality is colored a different shade of blue or red to represent the degree to which it went for either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.

As you can see, central and western PA is deeply red in many places (more so than anywhere else in the Northeast) with the exception of a few metropolitan areas. Pittsburgh, Erie and Harrisburg stick out like blue sore thumbs. Other cities like New Castle and State College are also clearly visible.

The eastern half of the commonwealth, though, is quite different. There’s a blue streak from Wilkes Barre to Scranton in NEPA, while Reading and Bethlehem are also easy to spot.

The most intriguing section, though, is in the Southeast along the Acela corridor.

 Acela Corridor

This Democratic strip runs from Washington to Boston, but it’s strongest area is between Philadelphia and New York, as the blue line cuts right through central New Jersey.

You also get a detailed view of the “collar counties” around Philadelphia that were once a Republican stronghold but have now become the key to statewide victory for the Democratic Party.

Democrats have migrated into nearly half of Montgomery and Delaware Counties. Lower Bucks keeps that county in the blue column while Chester (which first went Democratic in 2008) is slowly turning into its neighbors.

Thanks to this terrific display, we have a more detailed look at the fascinating political dynamics present throughout this large commonwealth.

7 Responses

  1. This map also explains why I have heard people refer to Southeastern Pennsylvania as Pennsachusetts.

  2. This actually doesn’t speak to what a “fair reapportionment process” mught produce. It’s a map that shows the partisan intensity of the vote in every municipality, not the number of voters in each municipality. A town with 1,000 voters who voted 55% Republican shows up the same as a town that has 25,000 voters that voted 55% Republican.

  3. This really highlights why cleaning up the congressional district lines probably only gives the Democrats a seat or two more and why a bipartisan Redistricting as seen in the General Assembly gives you a Republican dominated legislature.

  4. Man, Upstate New York has a reputation for being very conservative, but compared to Central and Western PA, it might as well be a socialist republic.

    Also, interesting how the US-202 Corridor in Chester County resembles a mini I-95 corridor.

  5. Man, Upstate New York has a reputation for being very conservative, but compared to Central and Western PA, it might as well be a socialist republic.

    Also, interesting to see the US-202 Corridor in Chester County looking like a mini I-95 corridor.

  6. It would be interesting to see how this map compares to a map of the results of the 1986 gubernatorial election. At that point in time, Westmoreland County was the third largest Democratic area. Now it is showing as a republican area while Montgomery County is the third largest Democratic county. Also would be interesting to see population density on a similiar map.

  7. This map demonstrates the reason central/western PA is referred to as Pennsyltucky, or sometimes Pennsylbama.

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

    Loading ... Loading ...
Continue to Browser


To install tap and choose
Add to Home Screen