If the Sacramento region were a state, with its own Electoral College votes, it surely would be considered a swing state, bombarded with ads and visits by presidential candidates.
The four-county region has backed the winner in every presidential election since 1972, when a majority of local residents picked eventual winner Richard Nixon over George McGovern. That’s 11 straight times – and 40 years of elections – picking the winner.
Among states, only Ohio has a longer streak of backing the winner. Ohio last picked wrong in 1960 when it chose Nixon over eventual winner John F. Kennedy. The 17 polls taken this month in Ohio show a split electorate: Nine show Clinton leading; six show Trump leading; and two show a tie, according to poll tracking website FiveThirtyEight.
California, by contrast, has correctly picked the winner for only the last two elections. Looking further back, it correctly picked the winner in eight of the last 11 presidential elections, voting for the Republican candidate each election between 1972 and 1988, and for the Democratic candidate each subsequent election. This year, its 55 electoral votes are widely expected to go to Hillary Clinton.
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Since it’s slightly more populated than New Mexico, the Sacramento region would have five to six Electoral College votes if it were a state.
About 39 percent of the Sacramento region’s voters are registered Democrat; 33 percent are Republican; 22 percent state no party preference; and the remaining 6 percent belong to other parties, according to the California Secretary of State.
Data Tracker is a regular feature that breaks down the numbers behind today’s news. Explore more trends at sacbee.com/datatracker.