Report: Counties That Voted Obama in ’08 & ’12, Then Voted Trump in ’16, Are Now Struggling Economically and May Become a Problem for the President in 2020

Swing counties that backed President Obama, then flipped to President Trump in 2016, are struggling economically — a potential problem for his re-election bid, which depends heavily on the president celebrating national economic gains.

What’s happening: The Economic Innovation Group, in a report provided first to Axios, found that these “flipped” counties “experienced slower growth in employment, a slower rise in the number of [businesses], and a more pervasive decline in prime-age workers than consistently Democratic or Republican counties.”

By the numbers: There are 207 counties where Obama won in both ’08 and ’12, before they flipped to Trump in ’16.

  • The state with the most flipped counties is Iowa, at 31, followed by Wisconsin with 23 and Minnesota with 19.
  • 53% of flipped counties lost population from 2016 to 2018, and 94% lost prime working-age population over the past decade, according to the report.

What they’re saying: “Struggling areas played an outsized role in deciding the 2016 election,” said John Lettieri, president and CEO of the Economic Innovation Group, a nonprofit “ideas laboratory” based in D.C.

  • “[S]wing counties … continue to experience weaker economic conditions that are out of step with the robust national economy.”

SOURCE: Mike Allen
Axios