Western States Round-Up: On The Comeback Trail?

It certainly looks that way according to the trend lines. I’ve been keeping tabs on movement in the West, and the positive shifts we have seen this year point to a very different electoral environment than what we faced in November of 2008.

Most notably … the generic congressional ballot. Given our volume of national survey work, POS has the unique luxury of examining merged data across multiple national surveys. This provides significantly larger, and more stable, cell sizes for our examination of Western states.

In our national data set merging national studies conducted in 2009, the generic Republican candidate trails by just two points (41{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} GOP/43{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Dem). In Western States, the generic Republican now leads by a 49{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-41{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} margin.

This marks a shift back to a voting pattern more typical of 2004. It is quite possible that the elections of 2006 and 2008 were aberrations and symptomatic of a frustrated electorate now showing signs of rebounding back into the GOP column.


Importantly, the tilt toward the GOP holds in the “New Southwest” states of Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, the key battleground states in the West. In our 2009 data set, the Republican candidate holds a 49{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-42{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} margin over the Democrat.

Likewise, this shift represents a rebound into what might be classified as a more typical voting pattern for voters in Southwestern states. Arguably, voters are returning to the GOP fold following their brief flirtation with Democrats in the 2006 and 2008 elections.


What does it mean? Voters in the West may now have second thoughts about the steps they took in expressing their frustrations with GOP leadership. With Democrats firmly in control in Washington, voters may be moving back to their roots … or looking for greater balance.

More to come on this topic next week… stay tuned.

NOTE: For the purposes of this analysis, we have not included California in the group of Western states. Western states include: AZ, CO, ID, NV, NM, ND, OR, SD, UT, WY, WA.

Public Opinion Strategies