At the request of the fine people who run Fix the Mitten, I have put together a three-part series which I hope will illuminate both the current and historical political landscape in Michigan. To do this, I broke down Michigan’s electoral results by county and national results by state. This should allow us to begin investigating, not only how local political realities affect outcomes in Michigan race, but also how Michigan politics compare to neighboring states and the country as a whole.
Below you will find a summary of Michigan’s modern political landscape, including the current partisan make-up of county-level elected positions and the county-level voting results for state-wide races (President, Governor, U.S. Senate, Board of Education) over the last two election cycles.
Where available, I have also included straight-party results. This category includes only those ballots which were checked either “straight Democratic” or “straight Republican” in the partisan section.
You can view the document by clicking this link, or by visiting the “Michigan Political Data” tab.
Please make note of the significant difference in performance between Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate and those who ran for executive office. In the last two election cycles, the Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate have greatly outperformed their allies up-ticket, in some cases winning in otherwise strong Republican counties.
With this limited data set, it is impossible to know the cause for sure, but I believe there are a few possibilities:
- Michiganders prefer Democratic or more progressive representation at the federal level.
- Michiganders prefer Republican or more conservative candidates in positions of executive authority.
- The Democratic Party puts forward candidates for U.S. Senate that are perceived to be of a higher caliber or better qualified, or have greater name recognition.
- The Republican Party puts forward candidates for executive office that are perceived to be of a higher caliber or better qualified, or have greater name recognition.
- Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate are boosted by an incumbent advantage due to the lack of term limits.
Upcoming Michigan Political Data Posts:
- Part Two: United States Political Landscape / Partisan Elected Officials by State
- Part Three: 60 Years of Presidential Elections in Michigan