Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Landslide counties, where a candidate won by at least 20%, on the rise, especially in rural U.S.

Republican votes by county (Yonder graphic)
While the final results of the presidential election were close, in an increasing number of counties one candidate won by at least 20 percentage points, the standard definition of an electoral landslide, Bill Bishop reports for the Daily Yonder. That was especially true in rural areas, where Republican Donald Trump had many lopsided victories. It's a trend that Bishop wrote about in The Big Sort, co-written by Robert Cushing, in which they looked at how many U.S. counties have become landsliders, either Republican or Democratic.

Bishop reports that 60.4 percent of Americans live in a county where this year's election was decided by 20 percentage points or more, continuing a decades-old trend. The number of landslide counties has grown from 26 percent in 1976 to 37.7 percent in 1992, to 48.3 percent in 2004, to 50.6 percent in 2012.

The trend has been more pronounced in rural counties, which have sided with Republican candidates, Bishop writes. "In this election, more than three out of every four rural voters lived in one of these politically lopsided communities—in an election nationally decided by a fraction of a percentage point."

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