President Obama has at best a 50-50 shot to win reelection, according to Nate Silver's most recent analysis. And the outcome of upcoming Republican primaries are uncertain at best. So the pundits will sift through today's off-year election returns for clues that might have any bearing on the race for the presidency. Did big labor defeat Ohio’s union-busting SB5? Did New Jersey voters show their love for Chris Christie by sending more Republicans to the statehouse? We'll just have to wait and see, but one thing is clear: America is becoming a more Republican nation.
Polling data by the Gallup Organization identifies the percentage of state voters who "lean Republican" or "lean Democratic," taking the partisan inclinations of self-declared political independents into account. Measured this way, Republican identification now tops 50 percent in six states: Utah (58 percent), Wyoming (57 percent), Idaho (56 percent), Kansas (50 percent), Nebraska (50 percent) and Alabama (50 percent). The number of states where 40 percent or more of voters lean Republican has doubled, rising from 17 in 2008 to 34 in 2011. In only one state, Hawaii, do less than 30 percent of voters lean Republican.