Population, Party and Voter Registration Dominance

I love my new cartogram. I’ve added some political values to the cartogram, and it’s pretty interesting. This map, I think, answers the question of where presidential campaigns might focus their efforts–if they have efforts in Connecticut at all.

Two years ago I made a map showing which towns were dominated by which parties, at least according to voter registration. Here is the result:

Map of Connecticut towns showing party domination by registration

The map has a few flaws. For instance, independents aren’t shown. Of course, a map showing dominance of independents would be dull, dull, dull–since independents dominate in all but 19 towns. There are more Democrats than independents in Berlin, Bloomfield, Bridgeport, Derby, East Hartford, Hartford, Middletown, New Britain, New Haven, Stamford and Union; and more Republicans than independents in Darien, Greenwich, Hartland, Morris, New Canaan, Ridgefield, Weston and Wilton. Also, we can’t see just how useful it is to campaign even in a town where your party is dominant, since we don’t know from that map how many people live where.

That’s where the cartogram comes into play, and here it is:

Cartogram showing Connecticut towns by population and voter registration domianance

Note where the concentrations of party dominance are. Imagine you’re a Democratic presidential campaign–where do you focus your efforts? The traditional answer is Fairfield County, but this map suggests you might get more bang for your buck along the I-91 corridor. If you’re a Republican, you obviously don’t want to go anywhere farther east than, say, Fairfield. You certainly don’t want to get anywhere near the Connecticut River (the dark blue line running from north to south in the right half of the map).

Which leads me to the question: if Hillary Clinton’s support is centered in Fairfield County and Obama’s is in the I-91 corridor, does that give the win to Obama? Maybe. It seems likely, in fact. We’ll see if that’s the case on February 5th. Obama’s support may not be as strong as he’d like in the valley, but I imagine that the valley is where the state will be won for Dems.

For Republicans, Rudy Giuliani’s advantages are obvious. A lot of Republicans live near New York, in the west of the state. It’s also obvious why Mitt Romney, who lives next door in Massachusetts, could never get much traction here. There are simply not enough Republicans living in the north of the state.

How about John McCain? The primary map from 2000 shows him doing well exactly where he needed to do well–in the south and west of the state. Will those voters turn out for him again? If they do, he could certainly win Connecticut–especially considering how poorly Rudy Giuliani has been faring of late.

So it’s an interesting map. One other thing the map shows us is just how dominant the Democratic Party has become in this state. That doesn’t mean that Republicans can’t win here, of course. Independents aren’t shown here, and until November they don’t matter. But in November, they are absolutely crucial.


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