Clinton-Obama 2008 vs. Clinton-Sanders 2016: The Map

Many political commentators have made connections between the current Democratic primary and the one in 2008, fought between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. After all, one of the candidates in each race is exactly the same person (even if her political experience and some of her positions have changed in the intervening years).

One thing I haven't seen, however, is a map showing how well Clinton has done compared to her race in 2008, and how well Bernie Sanders has done compared to Barack Obama.

So, I decided to make my own. Here it is:



The states that first catch your eye will probably be those in light blue: These are the states that Barack Obama won in 2008, but Hillary Clinton won in 2016. They include Iowa, Illinois and Missouri (though Bernie Sanders lost by the tiniest of margins in both Iowa and Missouri), as well as a broad swath of the South from Louisiana to Virginia. This means Clinton "flipped" much of the South from 2008 losses to 2016 wins—and it's clearly mostly due to black voters who supported Obama in 2008 but now voted for Clinton. As I addressed in my last post, this overwhelming support from the South constitutes the majority of Clinton's success so far in the primary.

Clinton has now won five states outside the South, three of which also voted for her in 2008—Nevada, Massachusetts, and Ohio. Meanwhile, Sanders has won nine states total, all of them outside the South. Six of these states also voted for Obama in 2008, going consistently against Clinton—Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Vermont and Maine. Sanders was, however, able to "flip" three states from 2008 Obama losses to 2016 wins—New Hampshire, Michigan, and Oklahoma.

I'd be very curious to see some analysis of why these three states flipped. Obama, after all, had some clear advantages in 2008 that Bernie Sanders does not, so what factors explain Sanders' ability to flip the previously Clinton-supporting states? In Oklahoma, for example, Clinton beat Obama by over 20 percent of the vote in 2008, but in 2016 Sanders beat Clinton by 10 percent! Someone needs to explain that one to me.

I will update this map as the primary continues. It may not be that exciting if Hillary's nomination really is as inevitable as many people think. If, however, the West is much less supportive of her than the South and enough voters are still willing to fight for Bernie, this race may continue to be very interesting.

Comments