Bellwether counties: Where in America do voters nail it? - Must Read Alaska
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Bellwether counties: Where in America do voters nail it?

A few counties in America are known as the “bellwether counties”: Those locations that always end up voting for the candidate who ultimately wins in the presidential election.

Spoiler alert: Although Juneau is one of those, it’s Juneau County, Wisconsin, not the City and Borough of Juneau, Alaska. The top bellwether counties are, according to Wikipedia:

  • Valencia County, New Mexico – perfect record with the electoral college winner since 1952 (longest current perfect streak)
  • Vigo County, Indiana (county seat: Terre Haute) – has had 2 misses (1908, 1952) from 1888 on, and a perfect record since 1956. From 1960 to 2004, Vigo County has been within 3 percent of the national presidential vote every election. Vigo County is important, since Indiana declares early in the evening on Election Day, meaning it can be one of the first signs of a winner.
  • Westmoreland County, Virginia (county seat: Montross) – two misses since 1928 (in 1948 and 1960), perfect since 1964.
  • Ottawa County, Ohio (county seat: Port Clinton) – one miss since 1948 (in 1960), perfect since 1964.
  • Wood County, Ohio (county seat: Bowling Green) – one miss since 1964 (in 1976), perfect since 1980.
  • Kent County, Delaware – two misses since 1928 (in 1948 and in 1992).
  • Coös County, New Hampshire (county seat: Lancaster) – two misses since 1892 (in 1968 and 2004)
  • Essex County, Vermont – one miss since 1964 (in 1976), perfect since 1980.
  • Juneau County, Wisconsin – one miss since 1952 (in 1960), perfect since 1964.
  • Sawyer County, Wisconsin – one miss since 1952 (in 1960), perfect since 1964.
  • Sargent County, North Dakota (county seat: Forman) – one miss since 1948 (in 1988)
  • Blaine County, Montana (county seat: Chinook) – one miss since 1916 (in 1988)
  • Clallam County, Washington – two misses (1968, 1976) since 1920.
  • Stanislaus County, California (county seat Modesto) – one miss since 1972 (in 2016).
  • Ventura County, California – two misses since 1920 (in 1976 and 2016).[13]
  • Merced County, California (county seat Merced) – one miss since 1972 (in 2016).
  • Hidalgo County, New Mexico (county seat: Lordsburg) – one miss since 1928 (in 1968), perfect since 1972.
  • Bexar County, Texas (county seat: San Antonio) – two misses since 1932 (in 1968 and 2016).
  • Val Verde County, Texas – two misses since 1924 (in 1968 and 2016)
  • Hillsborough County, Florida (county seat: Tampa) – two misses since 1928 (in 1992 and 2016). Although its history as a bellwether is shorter than others, the fact that the county is in a swing state and recent demographic changes strengthen its importance.
  • Calhoun County, South Carolina – one miss since 1972 (in 1980), perfect since 1984.
  • Colleton County, South Carolina – one miss since 1968 (in 1980), perfect since 1984.
  • Darlington County, South Carolina – two misses since 1972 (in 1980 and 2008).
  • Washington County, Maine – one miss since 1972 (in 1976), perfect since 1980.

The list of other top-predicting counties is at Wikipedia, at this link.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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