Mississippi is Not the "New New Hampshire"
6:00 AM, Feb 25, 2011 • By JAY COST
Notice the small number of independents in each of these states (except Georgia). That is a strong sign that there are relatively few persuadable voters here, as these electorates exhibit pronounced racial polarization. Thus, Obama has little ground to lose here; he is basically locked into some number between 40 percent and 48 percent.
I think this helps explain the pattern of Silver’s data array even beyond the Deep South. If you look at his chart carefully, you’ll note that nineteen out of twenty-two McCain states are on the bottom half. (That pattern should be pretty evident in this map of relative change that Silver provides.) Few of the GOP states outside the Deep South have large African American populations, but they do have relatively large Republican populations. What's more, independents in Red States generally broke Republican in 2008, despite the strong headwinds the party was facing in 2008. In other words, Obama does not have as far to fall in Republican territory outside the Deep South, either.
So, in conclusion, we might say that Silver has it exactly backwards: Mississippi is not the “New New Hampshire;” it is instead the antithesis of New Hampshire, comprised of a largely static electorate that made its mind up about President Obama some time ago. Ditto, to varying degrees, most of the rest of the McCain states.