Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Bellwether Counties Revisited

John Gibbs, a candidate for MI-3, recently claimed on the MIRS podcast that bellwether counties are evidence for election fraud.  Gibbs has been endorsed by former President Trump against incumbent Peter Meijer, who voted for impeachment.

I previously addressed the issue of bellwether counties briefly in my roundup of election fraud claims:
How could Trump lose when he won most bellwether counties?
A bellwether county is a county which always, or almost almost always voted for the winner in recent elections.  They are not crystal balls, they are statistical anomalies--counties that happen to swing the same way as the nation when party coalitions change.  These counties are mostly rural, and Trump did well in them in both 2016 and 2020.  Biden won by improving in large suburban counties, not rural areas.
Some further examination may reinforce this point.  Here are 18 bellwether counties that Trump won in both elections, along with Trump's 2016 and 2020 margins.

Warren, Illinois 16% -> 20%
Vigo, Indiana 15% -> 15%
Bremer, Iowa 14% -> 16%
Washington, Maine 18% -> 20%
Shiawassee, Michigan 18% -> 20%
Van Buren, Michigan 14% -> 12%
Hidalgo, New Mexico 7% -> 15%
Valencia, New Mexico 9% -> 10%
Cortland, New York 5% ->2%
Otsego, New York 11% -> 5%
Ottawa, Ohio 20% -> 23%
Wood, Ohio 8% -> 8%
Essex, Vermont 17% -> 11%
Westmoreland, Virginia 7% -> 10%
Juneau, Wisconsin 26% -> 29%
Marquette, Wisconsin 24% -> 27%
Richland, Wisconsin 5% -> 10%
Sawyer, Wisconsin 18% -> 13%

Trump won all of these counties in 2016 by at least 5%, and 12 of them by over 10%.  Trump lost the popular vote by 2% in 2016 and lost it by 4% in 2020.  A 2% swing against Trump in any of these counties would still have resulted in Trump winning them.  In fact, Trump actually increased his margin in 11 of these counties, indicating that they are no longer in sync with nationwide election results.

The only bellwether county that Trump lost in 2020 is the one he won by the least in 2016.

Clallam County, Washington 3% -> -3%

These counties are almost all small rural counties.  The largest is Wood County, Ohio, with a population of 132,000.  With Republicans winning larger and larger margins in rural areas, there is no reason to expect these counties to align with recent or future election results.  Bellwether counties provide no evidence of election fraud.

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