Red state blues: Exploring the context of competitive states in the 2012 Democratic primary

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Chad Kinsella


The 2012 Democratic primary was expected to be uneventful. However, seven states saw Democratic primary voters in large numbers not vote for the incumbent, President Barack Obama, who had no well-known primary challenger. Although protest votes against the establishment are not uncommon, this primary vote went beyond simple protest, with four states voting over forty percent against an incumbent president. This research will explore the continued expansion of support for the Republican Party in several states using an unlikely source: the 2012 Democratic primary. Using quantitative analyses, this research will examine the broader context of this vote and assert that the primary was indicative of general movement of partisan change.

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