See 2012 Battleground States for brief analyses of a dozen key states in the 2012 elections, and predictions as to who could win those states.
How Missouri Votes: Red State or Blue State?
Missourians have voted for the losing presidential candidate only twice since 1904: for Republican McCain over Democrat Obama in 2008, and for Democrat Stevenson over Republican Eisenhower in 1956.
In 2008, McCain prevailed over Obama by a miniscule 3,900 votes out of more 2.9 million cast by Missourians. In very narrowly losing Missouri in 2008, Obama won 59% of ballots cast by voters under 30 years old, representing 21% of the electorate, and 93% of ballots cast by African-Americans, representing 13% of the state electorate.
In the last four presidential elections, Missouri voted as follows:
- 2008 - 49.4% for Republican McCain, 49.3% for Democrat Obama
- 2004 - 53% for Republican Bush, 46% for Democrat Kerry
- 2000 - 50% for Republican Bush, 47% for Democrat Gore
- 1996 - 48% for Democrat Clinton, 41% for Republican Dole, 11% for Other
Likewise, the state is represented in the U.S. Senate by one Democrat, Claire McCaskill, and one Republican, Roy Blunt. Of Missouri's 9-member House of Representatives delegation, six are Republicans and nine are Democrats.
Summary of Top Issues in Missouri
In 2012, the economy is the pressing election-year issue in Missouri, where the unemployment, home foreclosure, and poverty rates are fairly high, and near the national averages.
Conservative Missourians are also deeply concerned about the federal budget deficit, and the need for a smaller federal government bureaucracy.
Republican threats to slash Social Security and Medicare benefits are also key campaign issues in Missouri, where 14% of state residents are 65 years old and more.
Missouri is a interesting political pastiche of evangelical conservatives, a large community of labor union members, progressive college campuses, and a sizable African-American population. Writes a progressive Missouri website:
"Missouri's politics are devastatingly dominated by a collection of wealthy insiders who succeed in shutting the grassroots out of the process most of the time... Missouri would be in great trouble if it were not for the progressive grassroots folks who resist the reactionary agenda of the religious Republicans..."Missouri Economic Facts and Voter Demographics
Unemployment Rate as of June 2011 - Missouri's unemployment rate was 8.8% in mid-2011, which was slightly lower than the national average and ranked 20th among all states.
Foreclosure Rates as of June 2011 - Missouri's home foreclosure rate was high at 1 in 1051 homes in mid-2011, although was than the state average of 1 of every 583 homes. Missouri's foreclosure rate ranked 28th among all states.
Missouri Residents Living Below Poverty-Level Income - 13.4% of Missouri resident live on incomes below the poverty level, which ranked 19th among all states.
Labor Union Membership - 327,000 of Missouri residents, representing 12.8% of all state workers, belong to labor unions, which places the Show-Me State 16th among all states in total labor union members.
Senior Citizen Population - Residents 65 years old and above comprise 14.0% of Missouri's population, which ranks 16th among all states.
Women as a Percentage of Missouri's Population - Women comprise 51% of Show-Me State residents, which ranks 18th among all states.
African-American Population - 12% of Missourians are African-Americans, a percentage that ranks 17th among all states.
Hispanic Population - Only 3.5% of Missouri residents are of Hispanic heritage, which ranks 40th among all states.