“The Republican Party is going to have to do a lot of thinking,” said Neil King of the Wall Street Journal [pay wall] in reference to the new-found power of urban, nonwhite voters. But old ways of thinking in the nation’s reddest corner seem to be working just fine.

Idaho has a statewide political leadership of nineteen justices and elected officials. All but four are white males from cities under 50,000. One is female. None endorsed Obama.

Tuesday’s exit polling offers a demographic explanation. Edison Research, in eighteen states, polled 350 randomly selected precincts. Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and self-identified gays, the poll reported, had all supported Obama by more than 70 percent. Obama’s enjoyed strong support nationwide from big-city voters and those with the most postgraduate education.

Idaho’s white-rural demographics remained the GOP’s bread and butter. Still among the whitest of white states, Idaho has fewer blacks than most any state west of New England. It ranks 40th of the 50 in urbanized population. Only the capital city is larger than 100,000. Only 7 percent of Idahoans have professional or postgraduate college degrees.

Nationwide the party of Romney may have to rethink its appeal to shifting demographics. In Idaho, defiantly red, not much thinking may be required.

Ada County presidential vote 2012


2012 Obama-Romney split in Ada County, Idaho: Romney 53.5 – Obama 42.3.

 Click image above to view the interactive Ada County Elections map

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The views and opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Boise State University or the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs.

  • Jocko M

    Yes, but Idaho evermore urban, evermore Latino, evermore secular, evermore young. Purple Ada County will be blue when the population hits a million. Possibly by 2016.

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  • http://twitter.com/politicgame The Political Game

    Who, of the 19, is the woman? I must be forgetting someone now that Donna Jones is no longer in office.

    • TS

      Karen Lansing of the Idaho Court of Appeals. Thanks for reading.

  • http://stateimpact.npr.org/idaho Emilie Ritter Saunders

    This raises some interesting points, however I’d point out that there are fewer black people living in Montana (.5 percent) than in Idaho (.8 percent) — according to Census data. I think it’s also interesting to point out that while Idaho is considered a very ‘white’ state, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and Iowa all have a greater percentage of white people than Idaho.

  • TS

    Ah ha. You are right about Montana. The most recent estimate shows that Montana is .05 percent “black” and Idaho, number 2 in the West, is .08. We have corrected the article. But as for your larger point I would guess that most of the African-American population is in Boise and Pocatello, and that the reddest pats of the are also the whitest. Parts of Idaho are among the whitest in America and the most Republican. When the exit poll data emergest, we will know for sure.