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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Teixeira: Rebuilding the Blue Wall in the Rustbelt

The following note by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from his blog:

Rebuilding the Blue Wall in the Rustbelt

Reid Wilson has a good article about this in The Hill. For reference, here are current RCP poll averages for D candidates for Governor and Senator in Rustbelt-ish states (note: not all of these states were typically included in the Blue Wall category).


IA: D+4
IL: D+13
MI: D+10
MN: D+7
OH: D+3
PA: D+17
WI: D+5


IN: D+1
MI: D+19
MN 1: D+22
MN 2: D+7
OH: D+15
PA: D+16
WI: D+11

I think I detect a pattern. From Reid Wilson’s article:

“The Midwest used to be what was referred to as the blue wall, with working class and middle class communities” voting Democratic, said Jim Ananich, the Democratic minority leader in the Michigan state Senate. “Obviously, that fell apart in 2016.”

Now, five weeks before Election Day, public polls show Democrats surging in races up and down the ballot in those Midwestern states, and even in less competitive states like conservative Kansas and liberal Illinois.

The contrast between the Republican dominance of the last decade and Democrats’ apparent advantage this year is most notable in gubernatorial contests.

Democrats hold just one governorship in the Midwest this year, in Minnesota. But public polls show Democratic candidates leading races for governor in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and even Iowa, where Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) trailed businessman Fred Hubbell in a recent poll conducted for the Des Moines Register.

If a Democratic wave crests over the Midwest this year, even Ohio and Kansas are in play. Public polls show former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Richard Cordray (D) running neck and neck with Attorney General Mike DeWine (R). A recent survey in Kansas found Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), an arch-conservative, running even with state Sen. Laura Kelly (D), the Democratic nominee.

The situation is so grim in some states that Republican strategists believe weak gubernatorial candidates may cost the party down-ballot, in races for U.S. House seats…..

Republicans watching the Midwest with growing alarm say their candidates are being dragged down by Trump, whose approval ratings in Midwestern states is lower than in other regions. Recent polling has pegged Trump’s approval rating below 40 percent in Iowa, Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota, and only in the low-to-mid 40s in Ohio and Wisconsin.”

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