Who Will T-Paw Pull From?
Well, not too long ago, over on race42008, there was a pretty heated discussion about Pawlenty’s potential to damage 2008 Republican candidates: namely, does a serious Pawlenty hurt Huckabee or Romney more? Let’s take a look. First of all, I think it’s useful to look to states where Mitt and Huck were both competitive, in 2008, as a proxy for their appeal. Let’s take a look at the the 2008 Georgia primary; Huck won 33% there while Romney won 30%. McCain scooped up 32%. Since it’s not clear to me that McCain’s supporters, especially in a state like Georgia, would split more towards one candidate or the other, this seems like a decent look at the respective candidates relative strengths. Uselectionmaps has the numbers on county by county breakdowns. Romney ran at least 9 points ahead of Huck in Cobb County, Fulton County, Dekalb County, and Glynn County. What do we know about these counties? Let’s look at per capita incomes. Cobb County: 33k, Dekalb County: 24k, Fulton County: 30k, Glynn County: 22k. How about population density? Cobb County: 770 per square mile, Dekalb County: 974 per square mile, Fulton county: 1544 per square mile, Glynn County: 77 per square mile. What are the state averages for both of these measures? The statewide per capita income, in Georgia, was 33.5k. The statewide population density was 141 people square mile. Ok…interesting. Now what?
Well, we see that all of these counties are below the average state per capita income. We also see that, with the odd exception of Glynn County, all of these counties are far more urban than Georgia as a whole. So Romney does well with urban voters and…poorer voters? Not quite. I don’t want to run through all of the numbers, but suffice it to say that those urban Georgia counties are heavily black. Cobb County has a 29% black population, while the other two have nearly plurality black populations.
Unsurprisingly, the per capita income of blacks is lower than the per capita income of whites. I haven’t been able to find numbers for Georgia, specifically, but we can make guesstimates based on the data we do have. In 2000, in NJ, New York, Hawaii, and California, whites made between 66% and 90% more than blacks. Also, unsurprisingly, the Republican primary in Georgia, in 2008, didn’t have too many black voters: CNN’s exit polls peg it at 2% of the electorate. Adjusting for race, then, we find that the Republican primary electorate in 3 of these 4 counties was urban AND relatively wealthy.
It’s no use looking at the heavily pro-Huckabee counties in that kind of depth; there are too many of them and they’re all incredibly small. But, take my word for it: I have looked at a few of them, cursorily, and I can that they’re almost uniformly rural and down-scale economically. The Huckster pulls in blue-collar rural voters; Romney pulls in white-collar urban voters. The exit polls confirm this impression. Romney does well in Atlanta and the Atlanta suburbs, while Huck does well in Northern Georgia. Romney wins voters making over 100k; Huck cleans up with voters making under 50k. Now, where has Pawlenty drawn his supporters from, in the past?
It has been surprisingly hard for me to find any county by county information on the 2002 Republican Gubernatorial primary in Minnesota, so a straight comparison probably isn’t possible. Still, I think we can achieve approximately the same effect by looking to where Pawlenty outperformed in the general election. I.e, where did Pawlenty do unusually well for a Republican? Luckily, I have that data handy from analysis I did last year. I created a couple of nifty maps at the time, which put it plainly. Here’s one of them, from the 2002 general election.
The area enclosed by red represents the Twin cities, while the green around that red encompasses the Greater Twin Cities. As I noted, in 2002, Pawlenty ran 20 points ahead of Bush in these areas. In 2006, with a weaker independent candidate, Pawlenty ran 9 points ahead of Bush here . Elsewhere in the state, Pawlenty either ran behind Bush both years- mostly in the rural areas of upper North-western Minnesota- or he ran even with Bush, when you account for the overall victory margin. In other words, the Twin Cities IS Pawlenty country.
It’s easy to get bogged down in details, so let’s just glance at a few counties where T-Paw did particularly well. He did very well, relative to Bush, in the traditional Republican suburban counties. He performed admirably in Washington, Dakota, and Anoka. These counties are less urban than some of the state’s, but they’re far from rural, and they range from the state’s per capita income to just above the per capita income. But, he also performed well- very well, in a particularly Democratic area- Ramsey County. In 2002 he ran 21 points ahead of Bush here (as compared to 20 over the entire Twin Cities) and in 2006 he ran 12 points ahead of Bush here (as opposed to 9 points over the entire Twin Cities). In fact, Ramsey is probably Pawlenty’s best county, relative to Bush (again, I’m guesstimating, rather than crunching each number).
And what does Ramsey look like? Well, it’s by far the most densely populated county in the state with 3281 people per square mile. It’s also almost EXACTLY at the state’s per capita income of 23.5k per year. And there no real significant number of minorities in Minnesota; Ramsey has a few, but they’re more Asian (who skew income stats up, if anything) than black. So Pawlenty’s basically outperforming in an extremely urban, perfectly middle-class Democratic area of the state. Within this Twin Cities bubble, in contrast, Pawlenty underperforms relative to Bush in less urban (under 275 people per square mile) counties like Wright County. In other words, the Pawlenty profile doesn’t look much like either the Romney or the Huckabee profile. He’ll probably steal more from Romney, simply because Huckabee’s epicenter almost vanishes as the cities encroach, but he’ll mostly pull from someone else entirely; he may be pulling from a new pool of voters.