Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Maryland's Presidential Map

Obama ran up an impressive 61-37 margin over McCain in the Old Line State. However, it is how he did it that should worry Republicans.

According to unofficial returns, the core Democratic counties somehow managed to get even more Democratic. Montgomery went 71% for Obama compared to 66% for Kerry. An incredible 89% and 88% of voters in Prince George's and Baltimore City, respectively, voted for Obama compared to 82% for Kerry. These shifts make it harder for the GOP to win even if they pull off gains elsewhere.

And where those gains will be made appears less and less clear. Charles County appears to have completed the political shift into the solid Democratic camp which was apparent at the last state election. While Kerry won just 51% of the vote in Charles, Obama managed an impressive 63%. Howard also shows signs of moving from lean Democratic to solid Democratic, ramping up the share of the vote for the Democratic nominee from 54% to 60%.

Ironically, the political map of Maryland by counties conceals a bit more than it reveals as Obama did quite well even in areas colored red on the map, particularly in the fast-growing outer suburbs. Frederick County, supposedly part of the Republican core, gave 48% of the vote to Obama and just 50% to McCain--a sharp change from the 39% won by Kerry.

Anne Arundel gave Bush 56% in 2004 but McCain just 51% in 2008. Calvert similarly gave just 53% to McCain after voting 59% for Bush. Even Harford and Carroll drifted about 5% in the Democratic direction even if McCain still racked up stronger margins there. Obama also ran strongly in Kent, Somerset and Wicomico on the Eastern Shore, exceeding 45% of the vote in all three counties.

Obama gained just 1% over Kerry in Garrett, a county with a Republican pedigree dating back to the Civil War--a result that mirrored national trends of Republican gains in Appalachia. However, I somehow doubt that will give Maryland Republicans too much comfort.