California More Democratic Than Rest of U.S. By Biggest Gap Ever

Photograph by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Voting at a polling station in the garage of the Los Angeles County lifeguard headquarters on Nov. 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.

Just how strongly Democratic is California, the nation’s most populous state?

In the Nov. 6 election, California voted more Democratic for president than the rest of the nation by the biggest gap in the history of the state, according to data compiled by Political Capital.

President Barack Obama won 60.2 percent of the vote in California and 49.9 percent elsewhere, making the state 10.3 points more Democratic than the rest of the nation. The president won 51 percent nationwide.

That gap exceeded the 9 point difference in 2008, when Obama won 61 percent of the vote in California and 52 percent in the other 49 states and the District of Columbia.

California has voted more Democratic than the rest of the nation in the past eight presidential elections. It last voted more Republican than the rest of the nation in 1980, when Ronald Reagan, a former California governor, won 52.7 percent in his home state and 50.5 percent elsewhere.

The following chart underscores how much the gap has grown in Democratic voting between California and the rest of the nation. For each presidential election year listed, the Democratic presidential nominee’s vote percentage in California is listed first, followed by his vote percentage in the rest of the nation. The third number shows the gap between the two.

2012: 60.2% / 49.9% / 10.3%

2008: 61.0% / 52.0% / 9.0%

2004: 54.3% / 47.6% / 6.7%

2000: 53.4% / 47.8% / 5.7%

1996: 51.1% / 49.0% / 2.1%

1992: 46.0% / 42.6% / 3.4%

1988: 47.6% / 45.4% / 2.1%

1984: 41.3% / 40.5% / 0.8%

1980: 35.9% / 41.6% / -5.7%

California is strongly Democratic in part because so much of its population lives in large metropolitan areas and less than 40 percent of its residents are non-Hispanic white, according to a 2011 Census Bureau estimate.

 

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