Electoral Map:

You can look at the electoral maps for all previous presidential elections at sites like this and this. The electoral map that bears the closest resemblance to the predictions for 2008 is 1896. And it is a pretty close resemblance. There is one small difference, though: the parties have flipped. The core of the Democratic party in 1896 was the South and the Interior West (the plains states west to Nevada, but not including California and Oregon). The rest of the country went to the Republicans. I'm not the first to note this inversion, and political scientists have competing arguments about its significance, but it is striking that the core of the Republican party is now the same area (South and Interior West) that once were the core of the Democrats.

The relative patterns in 1896 and 2008 and their partisan inversion can be predominantly explained on the basis of race.
11.3.2008 8:49pm
Since the 1896 and 2008 incarnations of each party have little to do with each other except for retaining their names, this is hardly surprising.
11.3.2008 8:55pm
The party of parochial-focused rural voters, willing to be racist in its campaigning, vs the party of world-focused urban voters, willing to appeal to every ethnic minority's chauvinism.

What's interesting is that the demographics have shifted so little.
11.3.2008 8:57pm
Allen G:
It's interesting that California and Kentucky both gave one electoral vote to the other party... faithless electors? or some other thing that blocked winner-take-all?
11.3.2008 9:22pm
Asher (mail):
Better site, with county maps going back to 1960:
11.3.2008 9:31pm
David Warner:

"The relative patterns in 1896 and 2008 and their partisan inversion can be predominantly explained on the basis of race."

Also 6 and 8 are even numbers.
11.3.2008 9:45pm
David Warner:
Pretty ironic that Rove ended up being the anti-Hanna.
11.3.2008 9:46pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Evidently you were sleeping during the 1960s
11.3.2008 10:41pm
MatthewM (mail):
Angus and JB,

Ugh. Moronic comments. Neither the Republican or Democratic parties of 1896 could be considered "pro-black" in any extent. The Republicans were not "world-oriented cosmopolitans"; they believed in tariffs and isolationism (much like Democrats today.)
11.3.2008 11:24pm

I urge you to go back and read some history about the Democratic party in the 1890s and its strong anti-black, anti-semitic, anti-indian, and anti-urban sentiments. The parties switched places over the 1964 &1968 elections and have been there ever since.

But I won't stop you from trumpeting the limits of your historical understanding in public.
11.4.2008 2:27am
Syd Henderson (mail):
It wasn't that either party was pro-black, it was that one was anti-black.

That doesn't explain the shift in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain states.
11.4.2008 2:31am
The shift in the Great Plains and Rockies is the byproduct of anti-urban prejudice, which the more Populist Democrats of 1896 had in abundance, and which today is one of the hallmarks of the Republican party.
11.4.2008 7:51am

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