data from US Postal Service And census division Shows how the pandemic drove away urban professionals who were able to work remotely unequivocally democrat – out of coastal, progressive cities to seek more space or recreational facilities in the country’s suburbs and Sun Belt. This forced liberals out of electoral districts where Democrats reliably won by large margins in many purple areas with only the potential to swing minor changes to the map,
And because partisan gerrymanders carved out new districts before the limits of the epidemic dynamics data were understood, they could not neutralize the population shift. And the polluters were none the wiser.
Nevada and Arizona have had some of the tightest Senate races, with states that census division Attracted some of the largest population growth.
In one of the most watched races of 2022, Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake – an ardent election denier and so-called Trump in heels – was expected to defeat Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs . FiveThirtyEight Simulations gave him 2-to-1 odds and a 2.2-point margin.
But Arizona’s most populous region, Maricopa County, gained nearly 100,000 people since 2018, and Democrats’ margin grew 17 points from that year. Lake lost by just 17,000 votes.
Pima County, which includes Tucson, gained 16,000 people and increased its margin in the governor’s race for Democrats by 16 points since 2018. It also stunned Republican House candidate Juan Ciccomani, who gave FiveThirtyEight a 93 percent and 9.4 percent chance of victory. Estimated margin. Instead, he won by only 1 percent, about 3,500 votes.
elsewhere in the southwest, in Colorado’s Eighth DistrictIn 2015, Republican Barbara Kirkmeier was projected by FiveThirtyEight to win her House race by an 8-point margin and in 9-out-of-10 simulations. Instead, Democrat Yadira Carveo was elected by a margin of less than 2,000 votes.
The largely unregulated district includes parts of Adams and Weld counties, Denver suburbs, which together have grown by about 35,000 residents since 2018. using 2018 and 2022 Colorado gubernatorial race As indicators, Adams and Weld scored 8 and 6 in favor of the Democrats.
Far-right Representative Lauren Boebert was Colorado’s most high-profile Republican victim. While voters may also be tired of his inflammatory and divisive rhetoric, the state’s third district — a vast region on the western slope of the Rockies that includes ski resorts such as Aspen and Telluride — also has several counties that swelled during the pandemic. The FiveThirtyEight model projected a 14-point margin and a 97 out of 100 victory, but Boebert defeated Democrat Adam Frisch by only 600 votes.
The boundaries between counties and districts do not always overlap, so we can neither confirm exactly how many people moved to specific districts nor how many of those movers lean Democratic. It’s also possible that some voters may have been swayed by local election dynamics or that Republican suburbs disaffected by Trump may have pulled the lever for Democrats. Some counties also grew for reasons unrelated to the pandemic; The South West was already a rapidly developing region. However, population changes since 2020 were subject to universal dynamics related to the exponential growth of remote work and the search for more residential space by urbanites.
But the political impact of the pandemic does not end there.
Recently released working paper by Yale researchers National Bureau of Economic Research Found that Republicans are far more likely to die of Covid than Democrats.
According to the study, which used data from Florida and Ohio counties, a similar number of registered Republicans and Democrats died of Covid in 2020, but once vaccines become widely available in the summer of 2021, So the number of Republican excess deaths nearly doubled that of Democrats. The disparity widens even further during the winter of 2021.
These “selection effects” – Republican mortality rates and also the geographic distribution of Democrats – can help swing the other exceptionally. tight electoral districts and statesEspecially when turnout goes up in 2024.
The long covid of Republicans may well endure.
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