Ike’s Best State: Mitt’s Second-Worst

Photograph by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Mitt Romney speaks to media about debate prep and the DNC Convention at Lui Lui Wood-fired Italian Restaurant & Bar in West Lebanon, Vermont, on Sept. 5, 2012.

Trivia question:

In which state did Dwight D. Eisenhower win his largest share of the vote in 1952?

The answer may surprise you: Vermont.

Eisenhower took more than 71 percent of the vote in Vermont at a time when Yankee Republicanism was thriving in the Northeast. The next session of the U.S. House won’t include a Republican from New England.

On Nov. 6, Vermont gave Mitt Romney, the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts, just 31 percent of its votes. President Barack Obama’s 67 percent marked his best showing after the 71 percent he took in his birth state of Hawaii, which wasn’t a state when Eisenhower was elected.

Another state that underscores the nation’s political and cultural shifts is West Virginia. Romney, aided by strong opposition to Obama’s energy policies, won 62 percent there, his fifth-best showing among the 50 states. In 1952, when the state generally voted Democratic along with most of the South, West Virginia gave Eisenhower 48 percent of the vote, his seventh-lowest percentage among the 48 states then in the union.

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