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Toss-Up Counties In Mississippi?

September 2, 2011

We have talked a good bit about the importance behind winning Northeast Mississippi, the region that has long been considered the ‘swing’ portion of the state, but has moved sharply toward the Republican side as the GOP became a dominant force in statewide politics.

But what about the rest of the state? Here is a look at counties that gave the Republican candidates for governor between 47 and 53 percent of the vote on average over the last three election cycles.

They are: Alcorn, Amite, Calhoun, Copiah, Covington, Greene, Grenada, Itawamba, Lawrence, Leake, Monroe, Montgomery, Oktibbeha, Tate, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union, Walthall, Winston, Yalobusha, and Yazoo.

As you can see from the map, they are spread out a good bit. A number are in Northeast Mississippi, but there isn’t some obvious rhyme or reason for where the swing counties may be located. All totaled there were 20 counties who fit this definition, or about a quarter of the state.

Of interest and for comparison, I looked at the 2004 and 2008 presidential numbers in Mississippi to see how this matched up. For the most part, it didn’t. Here are the counties that gave the Republican candidate for president between 47 and 53 percent of the vote in the last two elections:

They included: Benton, Chickasaw, Copiah, Jasper, Oktibbeha, Panola, Pike, and Yazoo.

The first thing you notice is there aren’t near as many counties in this category. And to be fair, if I took 1999 off the list, there would probably be less counties on that list as well. My thinking is that between the gubernatorial and presidential voting, I doubt there is a lot of movement among black voters. They are certainly loyal to the Democratic Party in either case. But while the crossover voting among whites is lessening certainly, it is still there. But overall, only about one in ten counties voted somewhere between 47 and 53 percent for GOP presidential hopefuls in 2004 and 2008.

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