Fifty Equal States - The Intrepid

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fifty Equal States

50 Equal StatesAlaska and Hawaii are part of the states of Olympia and Coronado, respectively.

Several days ago, I saw a map created by Neil Freeman on Andrew Sullivan's blog that redivided the U.S. into fifty equal states (each with a population of approximately 5.6 million).

Based on data from the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election, I thought it might be interesting to see how a re-division like this would affect the electoral map.

Since all the states are equal, I've given them each one electoral vote. With fifty states, it now takes twenty-six electoral votes to win.

50 Equal States Electoral MapElectoral map.

Here are some conclusions:

  1. Since this re-division creates an even number of electoral votes, a lot more Presidential elections would probably be decided by Congress.

  2. Freeman's proposed re-division almost perfectly mirrors the popular vote. In 2008, Barack Obama (D) won 53% of the vote and John McCain (R) won 46%. Under a re-division, the Democrats would have picked up 26 electoral votes (52%), while the Republicans would have picked up 24 (48%).

  3. The Democrats seem to be the losers here, as solid Democratic areas like the Pacific and the Northeast are now splashed with red, while traditional Republican areas have mostly stayed the same. The Democrats only pickups are in south Texas, thanks to Latino voters, and in Utah (now part of the state of Great Basin), which is tempered by Democratic voters from Nevada and Colorado. Though both of these new states would probably be better classified as toss ups.
Of course, any re-division on this scale would greatly change the political climate, moderating some areas of the country while sharpening partisan divisions in the other.

On the state level, I suspect that regional special interests would have a lot more power, as there would be fewer competing interests, while on the federal level, their influence would probably be weaker.

Here are the state by state voting results:

  1. North New England – Democratic (Strong)
  2. South New England – Democratic (Strong)
  3. Boston – Democratic (Strong)
  4. Long Island – Democratic (Strong)
  5. New York – Democratic (Strong)
  6. Susquehanna – Republican (Barely)
  7. Jersey – Democratic (Strong)
  8. Philadelphia – Democratic (Strong)
  9. Erie – Republican (Strong)
  10. Potomac – Democratic (Strong)
  11. Allegheny – Republican (Strong)
Democratic: 8 Electoral Votes
Republican: 3 Electoral Votes

  1. Michiana – Democratic (Leaning)
  2. Detroit – Democratic (Strong)
  3. North Coast – Democratic (Strong)
  4. South Ohio – Republican (Leaning)
  5. Wabash – Republican (Leaning)
  6. Lincoln – Democratic (Leaning)
  7. Chicago – Democratic (Strong)
  8. Green Bay – Democratic (Strong)
  9. St. Croix – Democratic (Leaning)
Democratic: 7 Electoral Votes
Republican: 2 Electoral Votes

  1. High Plains – Republican (Strong)
  2. Bitterroot – Republican (Strong)
  3. Great Basin – Democratic (Barely)
  4. Llano Estacado – Republican (Strong)
  5. Brownia – Republican (Strong)
  6. Missouri – Republican (Leaning)
  7. Rio Grande – Republican (Barely)
  8. Pecos – Democratic (Barely)
  9. Houston – Republican (Strong)
  10. Dallas – Republican (Strong)
Democratic: 2 Electoral Votes
Republican: 8 Electoral Votes

  1. Olympia – Democratic (Leaning)
  2. Willamette – Republican (Strong)
  3. Sao Jaoquin – Democratic (Leaning)
  4. S.F. Bay – Democratic (Strong)
  5. Mojave – Republican (Strong)
  6. Los Angeles – Democratic (Strong)
  7. Orange – Republican (Strong)
  8. Coronado – Democratic (Strong)
Democratic: 5 Electoral Votes
Republican: 3 Electoral Votes

  1. Chesapeake – Democratic (Leaning)
  2. Cumberland – Republican (Strong)
  3. The Delta – Republican (Strong)
  4. Great Smokey – Republican (Strong)
  5. Pamlico – Democratic (Barely)
  6. Savannah – Republican (Strong)
  7. Atlanta – Republican (Strong)
  8. Tombigbee – Republican (Strong)
  9. Sabine – Republican (Strong)
  10. Okfenokee – Republican (Strong)
  11. Ocala – Democratic (Leaning)
  12. Everglades – Democratic (Strong)
Democratic: 4 Electoral Votes
Republican: 8 Electoral Votes

Final Totals
Democratic: 26 Electoral Votes
Republican: 24 Electoral Votes

Original map by Neil Freeman.


humble biped said...

I'm the creator of the map. I'm impressed by your political breakdown, coming as it is without any detailed knowledge of the state boundaries.
I didn't create the map with a mind to furthering any party or group; it's really just an intellectual exercise. Furthermore, its conception and creation predates Obama's Senate campaign, so current political trends were not on my mind at all. Perhaps that only makes it more interesting to look at how the past election would have played out.
You're underestimating how much this would shift power towards the residents of big metro areas, who are generally Democratic. In the 2008 election, this map would have produced a 27-23 result, in Obama's favor. Obama would have won 19 over those states with more than a 10 point margin, McCain would have won only 9 states by that wide of a margin.

Stephen M. said...


Which states do you think I've gotten wrong?

humble biped said...

The results for Erie, Susquehanna, Mojave, Willamette and Pecos would have gone the other way from your guesses. I see that I mistyped above, the result would actually have been 29-21. (The numbers for strong Obama/McCain states are correct). The closest state would have been Missouri, decided by fewer than 3000 votes (0.1%). Obama would have done best in Chicago and the Bay Area (each 76%), and worst in Brownia (39%).

Stephen M. said...

Ha ha. So, I was way off then.

Originally, when I was putting this together, anything I labeled weak I designated as a toss up. With Pecos and Susquehanna, I just made an educated guess. Looks like I was wrong.

I also made educated guesses in other areas of the country I'm less familiar with, such as Mojave, Willamette, Erie, and Pamilco.

Switching all the states I got wrong pretty throws my third conclusion out the window. All of the Northeast stays blue, and with the exception of Orange, all of the Pacific coast remains blue.

humble biped said...

This past election was a pretty big win for the Democrats. I think you're right that Susquehanna and Erie would be swing states. If you can stir 2004 results, broken down to the county level, I'll run those numbers.

Stephen M. said...

Here's a link to an excel file containing the county by county results from the 2004 and 2000 Presidential elections.