Monday, April 13, 2009

The Dayton Tea Party & Local Political Culture

The Dayton Tea Party! A protest against the stimulus package specfically and big government in general. One has to be impressed with the organizers. They have put together a good speakers list of various folks and also have this pretty good poster out, too, on their website:

The timing of their ralley is smart, too, as it's after work, so the average Joe can attend.

What's even more impressive is that they have over 5,000 RSVPs for possible attendees! If they even get a quarter of that number to actually attend this would be largest political demonstration in Dayton within recent memory (not counting partisan political rallies for specific candidates).

Perhaps this widespread grassroots support is yet another illustration of the basic conservative political culture in the region.

Obama & Regional Political Culture

It's difficult, without fairly detailed surveys, to measure this. Perhaps one way are the readers comments at the Dayton Daily News website. Recent ones have pointed out declining subscriptions may have something to do with the DDNs' liberal/Democratic op-ed positions as much as to online news sources. One notes alternative (and comparatively conservative) Cincinnati Enquirer has moved into the market, readily available in suburban locations here.

Another way is to look at the margin of victory in the past presidential election. As we know Obama usually won urban counties, that is counties with central cities and most of the suburbs. So let's see how this looks for Dayton (Montgomery County) and nearby urban counties in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky:

As one can see Dayton gave Obama his third lowest margin of victory. McCain actually won Allen County, which is Fort Wayne and suburbs. And Obama squeaked by in Lexington/Fayette County.

Whats interesting is that Cincinnati and Louisville were more favorable to Obama, Louisville by over 5 percentage points over Dayton. But one can see a sort of Ohio Valley trend here, with Dayton more akin to the lower margins of Cincy, Lexington, and Louisville (and Fort Wayne, which is more the midwest factory town).

What's interesting is how different this spread was compared to Toledo, which one would think is comparable to Dayton in some ways.
What about Greene County?

One thing that should be noted is that due to the peculiarities of geography, Dayton is not at the center of its' county the way, say, Indianapolis and Columbus are. Instead it is closer to the eastern county line.

So fairly large suburban areas of Beavercreek, Fairborn (and Sugarcreek Twp a bit, too) are not being counted. If these suburbs were actually within Montgomery County the point spread migh actually drop to the Lexington range, or even Fort Waynes', with McCain winning here.

Dayton vs Ohio

This very telling graph shows how Dayton had the weakest Obama support in the state for urban counties, the big seven urban counties of the state:

Which indicates that Obama is not that popular here, and, of all urban areas in the state, Dayton would be the one where a grass-roots opposition to his policies would arise.

More Tea Party Blogging from Daytonology.

Since a theme of the Tea Party is oppposition to big goverment, the next few posts will look at big government in the Dayton metro area, measuring this in various ways using some readily available data.


The Urbanophile said...

Didn't like 5,000 people show up for the Cincy tea party a while back?

Brian said...

It's interesting to see the sway in cities with similar size an economies.. I had suspected (with no evidence whatsoever) that Dayton would have swung a little more Democratic this year around but I guess I was wrong. My native Toledo has always been strongly Democrat as far back as I can remember, and it's even surprising to see the contrasts in Cincinnati and Cleveland, which I thought would be similar in their voting, regardless of whether it was democratic or republican.

It would be fair to note though that Toledo itself is considerably larger than Dayton (though the Dayton metro area is larger than Toledo's) and Toledo's suburbs aren't quite as big of an influcing in that respect. (since urban areas typically tend to vote more democratic.) Although on the other hand, only a handful of surrounding suburbs of Toledo aren't in Lucas County, so maybe there is just a more general inclination politically based on geography. I'd be more ready to accept that if, say it were regarding Vermont and Texas, but the contrasts in Ohio are plesantly surprising.

Anonymous said...

The hours are irrelevant, as most of the attendees are unemployed angry white men who spend their aimless days and nights watching the fascist... I mean, Fox Network. As for Cincinnati, it had one of the largest chapters of the German-American Bund--which identified with National Socialism. The FBI shut it down during WW2, but, if you look at SW Ohio's Congressional delegation, didn't put it out of business.

Statistikhengst said...

With all respect:

This data is misleading. Or better put, with respect, the way you are presenting it is very misleading.

The most reliable statistics come from complete county counts, which are provided by the sos.

First off, you did not list exactly which "urban" counties are in the mix. Dayton istelf is within Montgomery Co. which is a mostly urban county, but also a suburban county, and even a small part of it is rural. There is no urban county of any size that touches the border to Montgomery county. Warren county, which borders to the south, is a deep, deep red county, and Lebanon is a SMALL city. Preble and Darke are not urban counties at all. Butler is somewhat of an urban county (Obama picked up 10,000 votes over Kerry from 2004 in Butler county). Clarke county is a small urban county with Springfield and is always a battleground county: it splits 50-50 virtually every time. Miami county has Troy, but is essentially a rural county. So, alone, your table definition of "urban counties surrounding Dayton" is very, very misleading.

I have done an exhaustive analyis of OHIO from the GE 2008, in three parts, I would encourage you to read it. This is based on the hard numbers and is an exact statistical comparison, county-by-county, between 2008 and 2004. It just doesn't get more exact than this.

Part IPart IIPart IIIthe complete raw data, in excel format.

FACIT: Montgomery Co., which is a good bellwether for the democratic party and a very good mirror bellwether in GOP cycles, went for Obama with 52.32% to McCain's 46.12%, a winning margin of +6.20%, which is close to his national winning margin of +7.27% and almost identical to his winning margin in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Also, Obama's winning percentage in Montgomery Co was very close to his national percentage of 52.88%.

Obama gained exactly 3,000 votes over Kerry's take from 2004, while McCain lost 9,692 votes under Bush's take from 2004, making a raw vote swing of exactly 12,692 votes.

Mirror bellwether: Kerry took Montgomery Co. in 2004 with 50.60% to Bush's 48.97% (margin: Kerry +1.64%) which is almost a perfect mirror image of Bush's OHIO win from 2004: Bush 50.81% / Kerry 48.71% (margin: Bush +2.11%).

So, I am not sure what you are trying to prove by pointing the Dayton margin as so much lower than the rest of the state, when in reality, Montgomery Co. as a whole is responding as a bellwether (or mirror bellwether, depending on the election cycle) exactly as it has all the way back to 1964.

Statistically, Montgomery Co. is high on the list of counties to watch in a presidential election.

That being said, the county lost on electoral strength in 2008, somewhat: in 2008, the total votes out of Montgomery county in the presidential race (279,031) represented 4.88% of the total popular vote in OHIO. In 2004, it was 5.02% (282,584), a loss of 0.14% (-3553 votes). This is due 100% to McCain not attracting the GOP vote in this county as Bush did 4 years ago, in spite of the fact that he announced his VP candidate at the Nutter Center at WSU and kicked-off his fall campaign right from Dayton.

Oh, and btw, I have done just as extensive an analysis of IN,which went for Obama with the largest cross-partisan shift of the year (+21.71%). It is also in three parts:

Part Ipart IIPart IIIEXCEL spreadsheet with all raw dataFACIT: INDIANA was the only former red state or current DEM pick-up where every single county in the state trended democratic, including the counties that McCain won. This means that the GOP lost ground in EVERY SINGLE county, as much as up to 38%. This includes those oodles of small, predominantly white rural counties.

Jefferey said...

This data is misleading. Or better put, with respect, the way you are presenting it is very misleading.

The most reliable statistics come from complete county counts, which are provided by the sos.

First off, you did not list exactly which "urban" counties are in the mix.
I list the counties on the graphs, which are the core counties of the various metro areas. By this I mean the county that includes the central city plus most of the surrounding suburbs.

Which is might not be a good measure if the metroa area is fairly large. But I think for most of these cases this is a pretty good geographical comparison.

I then took the difference between Obamas' & McCains'percentage on Leips' online atlas. This isn't an official source but OK for me for a quick comparison.

This way I can see the comparative strength of the Obama vote in these counties. This tells me that Dayton and its' suburbs gave Obama a relatively low margin of victory compared to the other counties in Ohio with central cities (except Hamilton and Summit..Cincinnati and Akron).

This confirms my personal observations that Dayton is a relatively conservative community. It is compared to othe places I have lived in the US, but I chose to do a regional comparison vs a personal comparison since it would be of more interest to the readers of this blog, who are mostly from the area.

Statistikhengst said...

".I list the counties on the graphs, which are the core counties of the various metro areas."

Those counties hardly surround Dayton. The statement is misleading.

Second, the winning margin in Montgomery Co. (to be extremely exact) 6.21% or 6.20%, depending on your method, and not 4.2%. A 2 percent error in margin calculation is a large error in the world of statistics. Go back to Leip and check the newest updates. Dave and I often trade information on raw vote updates.

Third, the very reason the margins tend to be lean is because, as I explained, Montgomery Co. is a good bellwether or mirror bellwether for the national statistics and has generally been so since 1964, and generally the county has gotten closer and closer to the national statistics with practically every cycle. This means that a moderate win nationally means a moderate win in Montgomery Co. The county went easily for Johnson with 63.8% in 1964 (2 points above his national). Carter took Montgomery County with 50.4%, 0.2% above his national percent. Reagan took Montgomery 59-41 in 1984, very close to the national numbers. Gore took Montgomery Co. 49.6 to 47.2, close to Bush's 50-46.5 for the state, but not so close to the national numbers due to the extreme and unpredictable closeness of the national race. Also, Carter's second win in 1980 did not mirror the national as well as the rest.

Which is why, based on statistical precedent from 1936, 1956, 1972, 1984 and 1996 (all presidential re-election cycles), it is most likely that Obama will take Montgomery County 57-41-2 in 2012.

Jefferey said...

Those counties hardly surround Dayton. The statement is misleading.The are the core counties of the metropolitian areas surrounding Dayton, not the counties surrounding Dayton.

For example, to the north is Toledo, to the west is Indianapolis and to the east is Columbus. Lucas is the core county of the Toledo metro area, Marion is the core county of the Indianapolis metro area and Franklin is of Columbus, and so forth.

The intent was to compare the point spread between Obama and McCain in these counties.

I understand and accept your other points about updated data and bellwhether counties, and I am not going to debate this with you further.

Statistikhengst said...

First, thanks for stopping by my blog.


"For example, to the north is Toledo, to the west is Indianapolis and to the east is Columbus. Lucas is the core county of the Toledo metro area, Marion is the core county of the Indianapolis metro area and Franklin is of Columbus, and so forth."Yes, I understand what you are trying to do, but there is actually too much geographic proximity between Dayton and those other urban areas to draw any kind of conclusive comparative results. But the fact that you thought out of the box and over the border is in and of itself worth a compliment, for political thought rarely ends at a geographically imposed border.

When you look at a county map of OHIO and look at the electoral history of this state, you will more often than not see Montgomery Co. as an island of blue within a sea of red.

Now, go look at Summit county. Akron and Dayton, as cities, are demographically very, very similar. In fact, you will rarely find two cities in the Union that are as similar to each other as these two, I think. And see that summit county is also a blue county, but close to a number of other blue counties. All of those outlying townships between Summit and Cuyahoga Counties (excluding "death penalty" Brecksville), including very rural townships, have a longstanding democratic voting history. This is what makes the major percentage and margin difference between Dayton and Akron and Cleveland.

Similar story with Mahoning county on the OHIO side and Pittsburg and environs on the PENNSYLVANIA side.

Now, go read that INDIANA analysis and really study the excel document and see what amazing inroads a black democrat made in almost 100% white, rural counties that have not voted democratic except for 1964, 1936 and 1912. Just amazing stuff, and stuff of great concern for an already severely damaged GOP.

You have a good thing going with your blog, but be very picky with yourself about statistics. I think you have a talent for this and can assist, should you have questions.

Soon, my VIRGINIA analysis will be out. VA is, electorally speaking, a very different composite win for Obama than either IN or OR, and the demographic-ideological-geographic mix that led to this win, which just four years ago would have been statistically very unlikely, may offer the keys to understanding the electoral shift that is happening right now in our Union and where it is likely to continue.

You can also feel free to email me here. Best to you,


Statistikhengst said...

Should you happen to watch some of the tea party stuff, would love for you to post some photos.

Today is likely to be a very embarassing day for the right. I suspect that this tea party stuff will backfire. This is stuff that is just waiting for a hungry press to eat it up.