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Why Is Md. So Blue? Demographics Tell the Story, Magazine Says

This rates as a “dog bites man” story in a certain way, but the particulars are worth contemplating just the same.

A recent survey by (soon-to-be defunct, alas) Governing magazine found that demographics determine how a state will vote in most elections. And that explains why Maryland is such a Democratic stronghold, most of the time.

This is not a surprise, but it’s worth unpacking. The magazine used federal data to rank the most rural states to the most urban states, the most white states to the least white and those with the lowest rate of undergraduate degrees to the highest. From that Governing determined how likely the states are to vote Democratic or Republican.

Using those factors, the survey shows Maryland to be the fourth state in the union that most favors Democrats demographically, just ahead of Massachusetts and behind Hawaii, California and New Jersey. The five most Republican states, demographically: West Virginia, Kentucky, Maine, Wyoming and Arkansas.

Maine, of course, is an outlier, because it’s a purplish blue state whose congressional delegation is three-quarters Democratic. The state just elected a Democratic governor in 2018, and the last time it went Republican in a White House election was in 1988.

“The purple-to-blue states of Maine, New Hampshire and Minnesota are the three most obvious places where Republicans ought to be doing better than they are according to demographic factors,” Governing columnist Louis Jacobson writes. “And the historically redder states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Texas should all be more friendly to Democrats based on demographics alone.”

The presidential battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina are right in the middle when it comes to demographic factors that may determine political outcomes, the magazine found.

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