- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

For the first time in eight years, there are more “red” states than “blue” states in the country, according to new analysis of political party affiliations in the U.S. from Gallup.

In 2015, there were 20 states that were solidly Republican or leaned Republican, compared to 14 that were solidly Democratic or leaned Democratic, with 16 “competitive” states, according to the analysis released Wednesday.

That’s the first time since Gallup started the analysis in 2008 that red, or Republican, states outnumbered blue, or Democratic states.

In 2014, there were 17 Democratic states and 15 Republican states. In 2008, there were 35 Democratic states and just five Republican states.

The polling organization defined states “solidly” favoring one party as when they had a greater-than-10-point advantage in party affiliation, and “leaning” states are those where the party advantage is more than five points but less than 10 points.

Thirteen states’ classifications changed from 2014 to 2015. Maine, Pennsylvania and Michigan moved from Democratic-leaning to “competitive,” where the parties are within five points of each other.

New Hampshire, West Virginia, Missouri, South Carolina, and Texas all moved from competitive to leaning or solidly Republican.

Alaska and Oklahoma also shifted from leaning Republican to solidly Republican, and Delaware shifted from solidly Democratic to leaning Democratic.

Gallup rated Wyoming as the “most Republican” state; 60 percent of Wyoming adults identified as Republican or leaned Republican, with 28 percent identifying as Democrats or leaned Democratic.

Vermont and Hawaii, meanwhile, were the most Democratic states, with Democratic advantages of more than 20 points.

Ohio, North Carolina, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Florida were the most evenly balanced states, with less than one point separating the party preferences.

Tying the numbers to 2016, while there are more states in the Republican column, the 20 red states account for 152 electoral votes, while the 14 blue states, plus Washington, D.C., account for 187.

“Republicans typically have an advantage in voter turnout in elections, and they will need to at least match Democratic turnout in competitive states in which they have a slight party advantage among all adults, such as Georgia, Virginia and Arizona,” wrote Gallup’s Jeffrey M. Jones. “And the GOP will likely need to exceed Democratic turnout to win some of the larger, most politically balanced states like Florida, Ohio and North Carolina.”

Gallup also noted that despite the numerical advantage for Republicans, Democrats held a slight advantage in partisanship in 2015, with 43 percent of all adults identifying as Democrats or lean Democratic and 40 percent identifying as Republican or lean Republican, as many of the most populous states like California and New York are more democratically aligned.

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