After seven months of controlling the White House and Congress, Democrats have slightly expanded their electoral advantage over the GOP, a new Gallup poll finds.
The survey, conducted between January and June of 2009, finds that 30 states prefer the Democratic party by ten points or more, while only 4 states prefer the GOP by as much.
Eight states currently lean Democratic while one leans Republican, "lean" denoting a gap of 5 to 10 points. Ten states are competitive, meaning that the parties are within 5 points of each other in terms of voter preference.
Thirteen states have a Democratic preference of over 20 points, while only two states prefer Republicans by as much. The bluest states, other than the District of Columbia, are Massachusetts, Hawaii, Maryland and Vermont, while the reddest states are Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Alaska.
While a number of states changed to a slightly different color, the overall discrepancies look similar to 2008, the net change being that two states have turned from "competitive" to "leaning Democrat."
Mike Lux, a respected progressive political strategist and former adviser to Bill Clinton, attributed the retained Democratic advantages partly to "changing demographics and overall trends" as well as the harm dealt by "Bush and all the crazies" in the GOP.
But he was cautious about the future, warning his fellow Democrats not to become complacent. "If the economy is still weak and we blow it on passing health care, we could have a bad year," Lux wrote in an email to the Huffington Post.
John Pitney, former Republican operative and professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, acknowledged that "the results are good news for Democrats," but wasn't too excited about their implications.
"A lead in party identification does not always translate into victory," Pitney told the Huffington Post. "Democrats have had a nationwide lead in party identification in 68 of the past 70 years," he continued, pointing to data from Gallup and Pew. "But Republicans held the White House for 36 of those 70 years."