Political Maryland -- where the parties are; how they are changing

polarized_parties.pngPolitical scientist David Lublin, who hosts the long-running blog Seventh State, has a look at the state of play among the two major parties in Maryland. In blogs posted late last week and today, he runs down the changes and shifting political loyalties of Marylanders across this very diverse state.



 

By David Lublin<>Seventh State

The geographic nature of partisan polarization in Maryland results in radically different distributions of Democratic and Republican primary voters. On Friday, I took a look at the Democrats.

Together, Prince George’s and Montgomery made up two-fifths of Democratic primary voters in 2018. Despite being considerably smaller in population than Montgomery, Prince George’s has the same share of voters because it leans even more heavily Democratic than Montgomery.

However, if turnout patterns remain the same, Montgomery looks to ease past Prince George’s next year as the gap in eligible voters has closed by 0.5 points and Montgomery voters turn out at a higher rate than those in Prince George’s. In 2018, Montgomeryites were 18.0% of eligible Democrats but 20.0% of Democratic voters. Prince Georgians formed 21.0% of those eligible but only 20.2% of voters.

Today, Baltimore and its inner suburbs (Baltimore County, Anne Arundel and Howard) are have a slightly higher share of eligibles (40.6%) than the two big D.C. area powerhouses (39.1%). But unless Baltimore City ups its turnout game, the region’s share of Democratic primary voters will lag behind that of the inner D.C. suburbs as they did in 2018.

For the numbers, see charts for Democrats and Republicans in the original Seventh State blogs.

Today, it's the turn of the Republicans.

While only a desultory 7.7% of Democratic primary voters in 2018 lived on either the Eastern Shore or in the Western 3 (Garrett, Allegany and Washington Counties), 19.2% of Republican primary voters lived in the same areas. That looks to increase in 2022 as the share of eligible Republicans in the two regions has grown to 20.8% from 19.4%.

This pattern reflects a continuation of Republican growth in rural areas that characterized shifts generated by Donald Trump's two White House bids. So does the shift away from Republicans in more urban parts of the state, especially in the educated and racially diverse Washington suburbs. Montgomery was home to 20.0% of Democratic primary voters in 2018 but only 11.2% of Republicans.

That gap looks to grow as the Montgomery's share of eligible Democrats has grown 0.3% but its share of Republicans has dropped by 1.2%. Differences are even starker in neighboring Prince George's, which is now home to 20.8% of Democratic eligible voters but only 3.8% of Republicans. Put another way, Prince George's casts fewer Republican primary votes than Washington County despite being home to six times as many total residents.