I was reading through Twitter and came across this image. It showed states that shifted Republican and Democrat from 2012 to 2020.

enter image description here

This is not your ordinary red state, blue state map. But it is a map showing which states got redder and bluer.

There is a pattern I noticed. The Northeast (except parts of New England), the Midwest (especially), lower population South, and a few others trended blue.

Utah, Texas, and Arizona had the biggest Democrat vote increases while Utah and Texas had the biggest swings from 2012 to 2020.

Does this picture represent people, mostly Democrats, moving south?

Read: https://www.newsweek.com/will-blue-invasion-red-state-america-finally-pay-off-2020-1519051 -- it's sort of biased but it talks about this trend in a factual way.

  • 2
    I'd say East, more than South. There are lots of different things going on here, but migration from California is definitely at least one factor in the changing politics of nearby states like Arizona, Colorado, and Texas.
    – divibisan
    Dec 16, 2020 at 16:02
  • 1
    California might be one factor. But it is important to note it got bluer from 2012 to 2020. So maybe it is conservative Californians have had enough and are going to places like Texas but are being overwhelmed. It could also be generational change as younger people are more liberal almost everywhere in the USA compared to older people in the same area. And I wonder what is going on with Nevada...it is the only outlier I noticed. Dec 16, 2020 at 16:11
  • That's why this is really complex. You've got migration, sure, but also increasing polarization by education level, a widening urban/rural gap, generational change and plenty more. If you're asking whether these changes are just migration from blue states, then the answer is clearly no, but it definitely is a factor
    – divibisan
    Dec 16, 2020 at 16:35
  • 1
    @divibisan: But migration from California to adjacent states wouldn't explain why Arizona got bluer while Nevada got redder, and Oregon stayed about the same.
    – jamesqf
    Dec 16, 2020 at 18:16
  • 2
    It might be better to ask a question specifically focused on asking that: "How much of an effect does migration from 'blue states' have on increasing Democratic margins in these states?". But, since the answer is going to be different in each state, that question might be a bit too broad. You should probably focus on a single region – I might split it into "the West", "Georgia", "the DC area" and "New England"
    – divibisan
    Dec 16, 2020 at 19:22

1 Answer 1


Does this picture represent people, mostly Democrats, moving south?

Not really.

I don't think there is any one factor. The 2012 election was a low turnout event for the reelection of a somewhat favorable African-American no-drama Democratic president versus a blandish Republican opponent that occurred when the country had in the midst of recovering from a massive economical downturn. The 2020 election was a high turnout event for the reelection of a markedly unfavorable white all-drama Republican president versus a blandish Democratic opponent that occurred when the country was in the midst of a pandemic. All of those factors, and more, contributed to the shift in that diagram.

Turnout was a key factor. Georgia turned markedly blue not because of people moving to Georgia but rather because Stacey Abrams drove a massive get-out-the-vote campaign in Georgia.

In rural midwestern states Trump energized the turnout more than did Biden. It was not people moving out. Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania all saw higher votes for Trump in 2020 than they saw for Romney in 2012, but they also say higher votes for Biden in 2020 than they saw for Obama in 2012.

New York similarly saw higher votes for Trump in 2020 than they saw for Romney in 2012, but they also say higher votes for Biden in 2020 than they saw for Obama in 2012. It was not people moving out. Upstate New York, which is fairly rural, saw a huge increase in turnout, and that turnout favored Trump. But Trump still lost by a landslide in New York in 2020.

Utah turned bluer because there was no way to go but down from the 48% routing taken by Obama in 2012 against the first Mormon candidate for president. Trump took Utah by "only" 20.5% in 2020. That's still a landslide.

  • That was only because Mormons didn't like Trump's personality. Look at 2008 or 2004 for example Dec 18, 2020 at 15:55
  • @NumberFile That 2012 election was an extreme outlier in what was a close election nationwide. Even 2004 didn't quite match it. You have to go back to 1988 to find a bigger landslide in Utah, and that election was a landslide nationwide. Trump and Biden appear to have split the vote that went to McMullin in 2016. Dec 18, 2020 at 16:16
  • 3
    @Number File: The whole election really turns on Trump, personally. Compare his votes with those of down-ballot Republicans - even the brown-nose ones who vocally supported Trump. There are a LOT of people who are rather more favorable to pre-Trump Republican policies in general, but who are absolutely repulsed by Trump.
    – jamesqf
    Dec 18, 2020 at 17:07
  • Oh Obama was full of drama - did you forget about the tan suit?? Dec 18, 2020 at 18:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .