In 2008, Obama only won Ohio with 51.2% of the vote, even with a D+8 electorate and an 8 point advantage with Independents.
How come? It is very significant that McCain won 92 percent of Republicans, but Obama only won 89 percent of Democrats. In other words, McCain won over significantly more Democrats than Obama won over Republicans in 2008.
That’s the only swing state where that happened. Everywhere else Obama won over more Republicans than McCain won Democrats. If McCain hadn’t done so poorly with Independents, he would have won Ohio in 2008.
Note: If you check the New York Times 2008 Election Map, you can see how parts of east and southeast Ohio became more Republican over Kerry’s run in 2004. The same effect can be seen in adjacent parts of southwest Pennsylvania.
The voting shift toward the Republicans in 2008 (this was at the peak of Obama’s popularity) blazes from pink in southeast Ohio to a deeper shade of red through West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, Tennessee, North Alabama, Northeast Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
I can’t wait to see how the partisan vote shifts across Greater Appalachia, particularly in Ohio and Pennsylvania, in the 2012 election. Remember, Obama had a lot of trouble in Greater Appalachia in the 2012 Democratic Primary.