A question that people are going to be asking this morning is: Does Barack Obama have coattails? The answer, at least in Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District, is yes.
Here’s the map (based on unofficial results):
Let’s compare this to 2006 and 2004:
Himes actually won with far fewer towns than Farrell carried in 2006–in fact, he managed to lose Farrell’s hometown of Westport, which had gone for her in both previous elections. He did manage to pick up the part of Shelton that is in the district, but carried none of the swing towns in the middle of the district. If this had been 2004 or 2006, he would have lost.
But this wasn’t 2004–the last presidential race, and the most apt comparison. Himes picked up about 3,000 more votes in Bridgeport than Shays managed in 2004, while turnout remained about the same as it had (33,000 votes for the congressional race). Turnout was lower for the congressional race in Stamford, which allowed Himes to win by about 6,000 instead of by the 3,000 Farrell won the city by in 2004.
Himes also did what Farrell did in 2006, which was to hold the margins for Shays down in towns that favored him, like Greenwich. In the end, it looks like Himes won by about 7,000 votes or so, and he found them mostly in Bridgeport and Stamford. He didn’t win in the swing towns (although he did win in Shelton, which was unexpected) and GOP margins were smaller in traditionally Republican towns.
To put it another way, Himes did only a little better outside the cities than Farrell did in 2004–and in some areas he did much worse. But the margins in the cities put him over the top. He can thank the presidential race, and Barack Obama, for that.