The path for President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012 will be slightly harder after a new study found the number of solidly Democratic states has decreased since 2008.
According to a Gallup poll, 14 states were considered solidly Democratic in 2010 compared with 24 states in 2009 and 30 states in 2008. The results were based on the party affiliations people gave to the pollsters with Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents outweighing Republicans by at least 10 percentage points.
Despite the number of solidly Democratic states decreasing, that does not mean the number of solidly Republican or Republican-leaning states has seen major increases, according to the poll. In 2008, four states were considered solidly Republican and one was Republican-leaning. In 2010, the number of solidly Republican states only increased by one with another five becoming Republican-leaning – the number of states that were Democratic-leaning increased from six to nine from 2008 to 2010.
What the poll results also found was that the number of states considered “competitive” increased from 10 states in 2008 to 18 states in 2010.
All together, even though fewer states are solidly Democratic, the number of states either leaning or being solidly Democratic stands at 23 compared with the number of states leaning or being solidly Republican standing at 10.
“Thus, while the losses have clearly hurt the party’s positioning compared with what it was as President Barack Obama was taking office, its strength is generally back to where it was in the mid-2000s, before a series of events including the Iraq war, high gas prices and the recession eroded public confidence in George W. Bush and the Republican Party,” the polling company said.
While it is difficult to predict what the political climate will be by the time 2012 gets here, the Gallup poll suggests the road to the White House for President Obama might have to take a different path than in 2008 and might be more competitive as well. Difficulties might also come from the fact that the poll found between 2008 and 2010 every state and the District of Columbia showed a decrease in the number of residents who identified themselves as Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents.
The states with the greatest change in Democratic identification were Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine. The states with the smallest change in Democratic identification were Arizona, Mississippi and North Dakota.
The District of Columbia led the pack as having the greatest Democratic advantage followed by Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont as being the most solidly Democratic states. The most solidly Republican states are Wyoming, Utah and Idaho.
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