The disappearance of San Francisco’s middle-class neighborhoods, 1990-2010

Over the past 30 years San Francisco’s middle-class neighborhoods have been decimated. In 1990, 60% of San Francisco residents lived in middle-class areas, but by 2010 that number had dropped to 41%. Given current trends, the next census report (in 2020) will almost certainly show an even smaller middle-class in San Francisco. These facts are not surprising, as the tech boom has made San Francisco a poster child for economic inequality. Countless think pieces have been written about the city’s problems with exploding rent, gentrification, and a widening income gap.

I wanted to add to this discussion by creating a series of maps showing how San Francisco’s inequality is distributed across the city. These were inspired by Daniel Kay Hertz fantastic series of maps visualizing inequality in Chicago. The maps below show a city that was solidly middle-class as recently as 1990, but has quickly become sharply divided between homogenous upper-income neighborhoods, and areas that are overwhelmingly low-income. Census block-group data was used, with the median income of each block-group compared to the median income of the San Francisco-Oakland metropolitan area. Low-income areas are colored red, middle-income areas are colored light-grey, and upper-income areas are colored green.

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Map in gallery form.

In 1990 the map is dominated by a sea of light-grey middle-class areas, but by 2010 the map is much greener with many more upper-income areas. San Francisco has generally seen it’s middle-class neighborhoods transition towards the upper-income range, as opposed to becoming lower-income. In 1990 only 9% of San Franciscans lived in upper-income areas, but by 2010 that number was 32%. In contrast, the number living in lower-income areas declined from 31% to 26%.  Many of the residents of these lower-income and middle-income areas have been displaced to other parts of the Bay Area, or outside the metropolitan area altogether.

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The table below shows the change in median income (as a % of the metropolitan area median) by neighborhood from 1990 to 2010, with middle-income values (between 75 and 125% of the metropolitan area median) bolded:

Change 2010 % of Metropolitan Median Income 1990 % of Metropolitan Median Income
The Presidio +79% 163% 84%
Potrero Hill +58% 148% 90%
South Beach / Financial District +55% 144% 89%
Noe Valley +50% 155% 105%
Mission Bay +50% 142% 92%
Lone Mountain/USF +37% 123% 86%
Marina +37% 145% 108%
Castro +36% 137% 101%
South of Market +35% 81% 46%
Haight-Ashbury +33% 128% 95%
Inner Sunset +33% 126% 93%
Hayes Valley +27% 89% 62%
Mission +27% 92% 65%
Pacific Heights +27% 152% 125%
Bernal Heights +27% 116% 89%
Russian Hill +21% 115% 94%
Japantown +20% 67% 47%
Twin Peaks +20% 128% 108%
West of Twin Peaks +20% 170% 150%
Glen Park +19% 132% 113%
Seacliff +18% 224% 206%
Outer Richmond +12% 103% 91%
Presidio Heights +12% 138% 126%
Outer Sunset/ Parkside +10% 110% 100%
Inner Richmond +10% 98% 88%
Outer Mission +9% 110% 101%
Western Addition +8% 68% 60%
North Beach +8% 83% 75%
Nob Hill +7% 75% 68%
Bayview/Hunters Point +5% 70% 65%
Excelsior +3% 100% 97%
Oceanview/Merced/Ingleside +2% 93% 91%
Portola +2% 94% 92%
Tenderloin -4% 28% 32%
Treasure Island -5% 64% 69%
McLaren Park -6% 25% 31%
Chinatown -6% 31% 37%
Visitacion Valley -12% 65% 77%
Lakeshore -14% 68% 82%

Neighborhoods that were middle-income in 1990 saw the greatest changes in their median income. 14 neighborhoods transitioned from being middle-income in 1990 to being upper-income in 2010, including Potrero Hill, the Financial District, the Marina, the Castro, and Inner Sunset, to name a few. A prime example of this trend is Noe Valley, which in 1990 had a median income that was 105% of the metropolitan area median, solidly middle-class. By 2010 Noe Valley had jumped all the way up to making 155% of the metropolitan area median, and was firmly in the upper-class range.

Some middle-income neighborhoods have remained fairly stable, but these neighborhoods are generally located on the fringes of the city, farther from workplaces and public transit. Neighborhoods that were middle-income in 1990 and remained that way through 2010 include Portola, Excelsior, and Outer Mission. The map below shows this pattern, as many of the neighborhoods with small changes in income are located on the southern edges of the city. Very few neighborhoods in the heart of the city have remained middle-class.


Two neighborhoods that were middle-income in 1990 became lower-income by 2010, Visitacion Valley and Lakeshore. These two neighborhoods sit on the border of San Francisco’s city limits, and their decline in relative incomes was likely caused by working-class residents from other parts of the city moving there seeking out cheaper rent.

As for those neighborhoods that were low-income in 1990, there have been a few that  became middle-income by 2010. But these neighborhoods mostly consist of rapidly gentrifying areas like the Mission District and South of Market. So while they have moved into the middle-income category, these neighborhoods are suffering high rates of displacement and internal divisions between wealthier newcomers and older working-class residents. They may not remain middle-income for long, but instead transition into the upper-income category as newcomers make up a greater and greater proportion of these neighborhood’s population.

As for the area’s poorest neighborhoods such as Chinatown and the Tenderloin, they saw their incomes fall slightly from 1990 to 2010 (relative to the metro area). These neighborhoods have been left behind in San Francisco’s boom times, which contributes to the huge gap between the rich and poor in the city. It will be interesting to see if their median incomes rise by the 2020 census due to an influx of young professionals seeking out cheap rent. It’s also possible that these areas may benefit from the city’s low unemployment rate, with a recent report suggesting that San Francisco’s poorest resident have seen some economic gains. Nonetheless, it is disturbing that San Francisco’s tech boom has not increased incomes much for the neighborhoods in the most dire need of a raise.

Lastly, there were three neighborhoods that were already upper-income in 1990, Seacliff, Presidio Heights, and West of Twin Peaks. These neighborhoods all saw moderate increases in their relative incomes. But generally, they did not see as big of rises as areas that were middle-income in 1990. This makes sense, since their rents were already expensive in 1990 and they had less room for their incomes to grow.

Overall these maps and statistics tell the story of a city that is moving farther and farther away from an egalitarian distribution of wealth. As rental prices continue to increase, more and more areas of San Francisco will become unaffordable to the middle-class. The speed of this transformation is terrifying and depressing, but it also means that it was not long ago that San Francisco was significantly more egalitarian. Looking at the 1990 map of San Francisco’s neighborhoods shows a city much more open and available to people of average means. It is important that we don’t let the memory of that older San Francisco disappear.

Data Source:

Minnesota Population Center. National Historical Geographic Information System: Version 2.0. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota 2011.


Governor’s Political Party, by State, 1790-2016


The map above shows how political control of US governor’s mansions have evolved from 1790 to the present day. For times where multiple parties controlled the governorship over the course of one year, the party which had the longest period of control in that year are marked on the map. The map illustrates how power has shifted, from the Federalists to the Democratic-Republicans, then to the Whigs, and finally for the past 150 years to a back-and-forth struggle between Republicans and Democrats. Important to note: the effect of elections is usually only seen on the map the next year. For example, the 1994 midterms were a landslide for Republicans, but those governors did not generally take office until early 1995, so 1995 is when those states that flipped Republican turn red on the map.

Below, I go into some more detail about the trends in party control of governorships over different time periods, starting with our nation’s earliest political struggle between the Federalists and Democratic-Republicans.

The first party-system in the United States was divided between the Federalists, followers of John Adams and Alexander Hamilton, and the Democratic-Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The Federalists supported a strong national government, and in foreign policy were friendlier towards the British. The Democratic-Republicans favored a limited government, and desired good relations with the French. Geographically, the Federalists were strong in the North-East while the Democratic-Republicans dominated the South.

In 1790 the parties were fairly equally matched, while a large number of governors remained non-partisan. During George Washington’s second term (1793-1796) the Federalist party gained strength, eventually controlling half the nation’s governorships. John Adams was elected as the first and only Federalist President in the election of 1796, defeating Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans. Thomas Jefferson won the presidency in a rematch in 1800, and the Democratic-Republicans gained popularity in the states under his administration as the Federalist party faded away. By 1810 the Democratic-Republicans had the governorship in almost 90% of states. The Federalists experienced a brief surge in support during the early stages of the War of 1812, as the war was initially unpopular in New England. But once the war ended in a victory for the US, the Federalists were discredited, and the party dissolved at the national level.

With the death of the Federalists as a national force, the Democratic-Republicans were the sole US political party for a short period of time. James Monroe faced only token opposition from the Federalists in 1816, and ran unopposed as the Democratic-Republican nominee in 1820, the last presidential race to feature only one candidate. However, the election of John Quincy Adams in 1824 broke the Democratic-Republican party apart. Into it’s place rushed two new parties, the Democrats, led by Andrew Jackson, and the National Republicans, led by Henry Clay. The Democrats would absorb most of the old Democratic-Republican supporters, while the National Republicans took up the mantle of the Federalists, arguing for a strong national government. The National Republicans were unable to defeat Andrew Jackson’s Democrats, and eventually transformed into the Whig Party.

The Whigs had more success as a party, electing William Henry Harrison in 1840 (he would die in office after only a month) and Zachary Taylor in 1848. They had less success at the state level however, only gaining a majority of governor’s mansions once throughout their decades long existence, in 1838. This was their peak, and they declined rapidly at the state level throughout the 1840s and early 1850s. The Democrats remained the d0minant party at the state level, but their hegemony was about to be broken by the “slave question”.

The issue of slavery quickly tore the nation apart in the 1850s. The Whig party collapsed due to bitter divides over this issue. Anti-slavery Whig and Democrats joined forces to form the new Republican party, which competed for the first time in the elections of 1854. The Republicans opposed the expansion of slavery into new states and territories, while the Democrats increasingly became a party representing slavery interests and the South. The Republican party gained strength in the North through the late 1850s, as former-Whigs and Know-Nothings (an anti-immigration party founded in the aftermath of the Whig collapse) joined their ranks. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected president on a platform of stopping the spread of slavery, and the South seceded in reaction.

During the Civil War, the Republicans were dominant in the Union States, with only a few Democratic and Unionist governors serving during this time. The Confederacy abandoned it’s party system entirely, with non-partisan governors serving who were almost entirely former Democrats.

Republicans continued to gain strength at the state level after the Civil War ended. Reconstruction gave voting rights to blacks in the South, which created a huge base of support for the Republican party. Despite Democratic attempts to restrict blacks right to vote through violence and intimidation, the Republican party was able to gain control of a large number of governorships in the South. At the same time, they remained dominant in the North as the Democrats had been discredited by the Civil War. By 1869 the Republican party controlled 81% of all governor mansions in the US.

The two parties returned to more even footing after Reconstruction was violently ended by white supremacist campaigns. Democrats were able to suppress the black and republican vote in the South, giving them one-party control over those states. Meanwhile, in the North the Republican party had grown less popular as the Civil War receded in public memory. For two decades, from the mid-1870s to the mid-1890s, the Democrats generally controlled more governorships than the Republicans. There were a few years when Republicans briefly retook a majority of state governors mansions, but the Democrats vice-grip on the South gave them a large advantage.

The mid-1890s marked a transformation for both parties fortunes however. The two-party system was disrupted by the rise of the Populist Party. This party was an outgrowth of the Farmers Alliance, and gained massive support in the rural areas of the Western and Southern United States. Farmers in these areas were suffering economically, and felt abandoned by both major political parties. They forged alliances with labor groups in several states, and at their peak they controlled four governors mansions. The turmoil of this period, which featured a huge economic crisis in the form of the Panic of 1893, took place under a Democratic President, and Republicans were able to regain a consistent majority of state governorships despite being shut out in the South.

Republican strength at the governor level continued, with two exceptions, until the the Great Depression in 1929. The two exceptions were the 1910s, when the Republican party was bitterly divided between a conservative faction, led by William Howard Taft, and a progressive faction, led by Theodore Roosevelt. Democrats were also able to gain a majority of governors for a brief two year period from 1923-1924 under the Harding/Coolidge Administration.

But otherwise, it was not until the Great Depression that Republicans hold at the state level was broken. in 1930 Republicans controlled 63% of all governors. Just three years later, they controlled only 17%. Democrats had a huge majority of governors until 1939, while at the same time electing FDR to the presidency, and achieving 2/3rds majorities in the House and Senate. It was one of the most dominant periods for any political party in US history, as FDRs popularity was buoyed by the success of the New Deal.

The 1938 elections delivered a blow to the New Deal as Democrats margins were cut at the state and federal level. WW2 began shortly after, and Democrats continued to lose governor races throughout this period even as FDR remained popular. Republicans regained a majority of governor mansions in 1944, and the two parties proceeded to trade places over the next 10 years. But in 1955, after a recession under President Eisenhower, Democrats retook a strong majority at the state level.


Democrats held over 60% of the governorships every year for a decade, from 1957 to 1966. But big changes were underway, as the Vietnam War, Civil Rights Movement, and Womens Rights movement, among others, reshaped politics in the 1960s. A backlash against LBJ’s administration led to big gains for Republicans in 1966, who for the first time since Reconstruction became competitive in the South, this time buoyed by a backlash against the Democrats Civil Rights agenda.

This Republican resurgence was short-lived however, as Democrats regained state power during the Nixon and Ford administrations. After Watergate Democrats reached a peak, holding 72% of all governors mansions from in 1976, 1977, and 1978. Republicans were not able to retake a majority of governorships until after the huge Republican mid-term landslide of 1994, when Bill Clinton’s unpopularity gave them a solid majority of state houses along with both houses of congress for the first time in decades. Since 1995 Republicans have dominated at the state level with a rare exception, the 2007-2010 period when Democrats benefited from a backlash against the Iraq War and the Great Recession under President George Bush. But by 2011 Republicans had regained their state-level edge and today hold over 60% of all governor mansions.

Major Trends:
If we look at the trends over the past 160 years, since the advent of the Democratic-Republican party system in 1855, we see that generally no party maintains an edge in governorships controlled for more than a few years. The data is characterized by sharp turns, where one party may control 60% of governor positions for a few years, then plummet down to only 40% for the next few years. The longest periods when one-party had the majority of governor positions are from 1971 to 1994 for the Democrats (24 years), and 1895 to 1910 (16 years) for the Republicans. Generally, each party gained when the other party had a president in the white house, with a few rare exceptions such as the 1930s when Democrats continued to gain for a few years even after FDR took office.

Highest Peaks in % of Governorships Controlled:

Democratic Party:

1938: Democrats controlled 81% of all governorships. This was the peak of Democratic Power during the New Deal and Great Depression, as Democrats also had huge edges in the House and Senate due to FDR’s massive popularity. Their edge in governorships is even greater if you include the left-wing Farmer-Labor Party governor of Minnesota and the Progressive Party governor of Wisconsin in their totals. Republicans at the time controlled only 7 governorships. Republicans had been stuck in single digits since 1933, after FDR’s landslide election in 1932. The Great Depression took a huge toll on the Republicans during the 1930s, but the 1938 midterms would help them recover. Republicans jumped up to 19 governors as the nations recovery from the Great Depression suffered a setback.

1976-1978: Democrats controlled 72% of all governorships. These years, post-watergate but before Jimmy Carter’s popularity tanked due to foreign crises, oil shocks, and recessions, were some of the best for Democrats in recent memory. Democrats still had a solid grip on the South despite Republican attempts to break in post-civil rights, while Republicans in the north had been decimated by Nixon and Ford’s unpopularity.

1984: Democrats controlled 70% of all governorships. This one may seem surprising. 1984 was the year Reagan was re-elected in a landslide, but at the time Democrats were still dominant in the governor races. A recession in 1981-1982 had boosted their representation, and the South STILL had many Democratic governors even at this late date. Democrats also reached this 70% mark in 1959 after a recession under Republican president Dwight Eisenhower.

Republican Party:

1869: Republicans controlled 81% of all governorships. The Reconstruction period was great for Republicans, as the votes of newly enfranchised blacks in the South made Republicans competitive there, while the party was still popular in the North after it’s victory in the Civil War. From 1866-1870 Republicans had over 70% of all the nation’s governors under their control.

1921-1922: Republicans controlled 71% of all governorships. The party benefited from a  “return to normalcy” under popular president Warren G. Harding. The Democratic Party was unpopular after 8 years of Woodrow Wilson. Republicans held nearly every governorship outside of the South, which was still under one-party Democratic control.

1997-1998: Republicans controlled 64% of all governorships. Bill Clinton’s easy re-election in 1996 had not helped Democrats regain governorships from the Republican Party, as more southern states flipped to Republican control.

Know-Nothing Party:

1856: Know-Nothings controlled 19% of all governorships. The Know-Nothings, like the Republicans, rose out of the ashes of the Whig Party, but had much less staying power. Their platform was anti-immigrant and anti-catholic, but they could not avoid the political issue of slavery and quickly declined as their party was absorbed by the Republican and Democratic parties.

Populist Party: 

1897-1898: Populists controlled 11% of all governorships. The Populists were a left-wing insurgent party, dedicated to farmers aid and nationalization of the railroads. They allied with labour groups in several states, and were able to take control of four governor mansions, mostly in the Midwest with the exception of Washington, in 1897 and 1898, while the allied Silver Party took control of Nevada. Their party was already in the process of being taken over by Democrats under Williams Jennings Bryan by this point, and the Populists would quickly fade away like most third-parties.

Map at half-speed:

Map at double-speed: 

Map in gallery form:

NBA Finals Ratings, 1976-2016


Year NBA Finals Average Rating
1976 11.5
1977 12.7
1978 9.9
1979 7.2
1980 8
1981 6.7
1982 13
1983 12.3
1984 12.3
1985 13.7
1986 14.1
1987 15.9
1988 15.4
1989 15.1
1990 12.3
1991 15.8
1992 14.2
1993 17.9
1994 12.4
1995 13.9
1996 16.7
1997 16.8
1998 18.7
1999 11.3
2000 11.6
2001 12.1
2002 10.2
2003 6.5
2004 11.5
2005 8.2
2006 8.5
2007 6.2
2008 9.3
2009 8.4
2010 10.6
2011 10.2
2012 10.1
2013 10.4
2014 9.3
2015 11.6
2016 11.4

% of the vote for Socialist candidate Eugene V. Debs, by US State, 1912


% vote results for every state at the bottom of the post.

1912 was one of the most exciting presidential elections in history. It featured a three-way race between incumbent Republican president William Howard Taft, former President Theodore Roosevelt (running under the banner of the Bull Moose, or Progressive, Party), and Democrat and New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson. Each of these three candidates won multiple states, with Taft winning two states and 23% of the national popular vote, Roosevelt carrying 6 states with 27% of the vote, and  Wilson winning with 40 states and 42% of the national vote. But despite there already being three candidates in the race, this did not crowd out the vote for the fledgling Socialist Party under the banner of Eugene Debs, which scored its best result ever, getting 6% of the vote.  This result was never surpassed by the Socialist party, which quickly began to decline and fade into obscurity with the start of World War 1 and the Red Scares to follow. Socialist candidate Eugene Debs first rose to prominence as the leader of the Pullman Railroad Strike, which mobilized hundreds of thousands of workers and paralyzed rail services throughout the nation. He then ran for president five times as the Socialist candidate, in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920, the last time running from a jail cell after being arrested for speaking out against World War 1.


The strongest socialist states in 1912 might seem very surprising today, with Nevada (today a swing state) and Oklahoma (which today is very conservative) topping the list with 16.5% and 16.4% of the vote respectively. The party was also strong in the rest of the Mountain and Pacific West, and had pockets of strength in the Great Lake states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio. The party was weakest in the South, with the exception of Florida and Texas. It’s worst result came in the Democratic dominated state of South Carolina, where Debs got only 0.33% of the vote.

Probably the most surprising and interesting socialist stronghold is Oklahoma, given the states incredibly conservative nature today. The Socialists in Oklahoma were a very agrarian party, and gained support among poor farmers tied to the sharecropping system, many of whom had been involved in the Farmers Alliance and had supported the Populist Party in the 1890s. The Oklahoma Socialist party developed a “Farmers Programme” which promised to relieve the agricultural crisis of the state, and also packaged it’s ideology with both patriotism (especially Thomas Jefferson’s rhetoric about the “common man”), and with protestant religion (claiming Jesus as the “first socialist”). These moves made Socialist ideology less alien and radical to the poor farmers of Oklahoma.

The Socialist Party peaked in Oklahoma during the elections of 1914, when over 175 socialists were elected to local and county offices, including six elected to the state legislature, while the Socialist candidate for governor received nearly 21% of the statewide vote. However, the start of World War 1 a few years later quickly led to the decline of the party. The Socialist Party opposed the war, and this resulted in both a natural loss of support among some of it’s rural and patriotic followers in Oklahoma, and to local and state authorities cracking down harshly on the party, shutting down Socialist newspapers and disbanding local organizations. This crack down was legitimized by the “Green Corn Rebellion”, a 1917 uprising by a left-wing group of tenant farmers called the Working Class Union in protest of the war and the draft. The Rebellion was crushed by police, and the Socialist Party was effectively suppressed for the next decade.

The Socialist Party in Nevada has not been studied as much as the Oklahoma party, but it’s support likely resulted from voters familiarity with previous third-parties as well as labor radicalism among miners in the state. Nevada gave 66% of the vote to the Populists in the 1892 presidential election, mostly due to the Populists support for bimetallism, while the Silver Party dominated state politics from 1896 to 1911. Nevada’s past support for insurgent third-parties led to voters being more open to Socialist party appeals. Additionally, the state was a hotbed of Wobblies (members of the International Workers of the World, a radical labor organization), who spread many socialist views. The Wobblies initiated a huge strike among miners in the town of Goldfield, which was crushed by the federal government. This was just one of many strikes, with the labor radicalism of miners in Nevada making them much more likely to support the Socialists.

A similar story could be told throughout the West, where past support for the Populist Party and the influence of labor groups led to strong results for the Socialist Party. This support faded as it traveled East, as Eastern States were more firmly entrenched in the two-party system established in the Civil War era. The South was the weakest area for the Socialists, as these states were not truly democratic but restricted the votes of both blacks as well as some poor whites. Deep South states like South Carolina suppressed attempts by Republicans to establish two-party democracy, and likewise did not allow third-parties to compete on a fair playing field.

Results by State:

Socialist (Debs) % Democratic (Wilson) % Progressive (Roosevelt) % Taft (Republican) %
Alabama 2.6 69.9 19.2 8.3
Arizona 13.4 43.6 29.3 12.6
Arkansas 6.5 55 17.3 20.5
California 11.7 41.8 41.8 0.6
Colorado 6.2 42.8 27 22
Connecticut 5.3 39.2 17.9 35.9
Delaware 1.1 46.5 18.3 32.9
Florida 9.3 70.2 8.8 8.2
Georgia 0.9 76.6 18.1 4.3
Idaho 11.3 32.1 24.1 31
Illinois 7.1 35.3 33.7 22.1
Indiana 5.6 43.1 24.8 23.1
Iowa 3.4 37.6 32.9 24.3
Kansas 7.3 39.3 32.9 20.5
Kentucky 2.6 48.4 22.7 25.5
Louisiana 6.6 76.8 11.7 4.8
Maine 2 39.4 37.4 20.5
Maryland 1.7 48.6 24.9 23.7
Massachusetts 2.6 35.5 29.1 32
Michigan 4.2 27.4 38.9 27.6
Minnesota 8.2 31.8 37.7 19.2
Mississippi 3.2 88.9 5.5 2.4
Missouri 4.1 47.3 17.8 29.7
Montana 13.5 35 28.3 23.1
Nebraska 4.1 43.7 29.1 21.7
Nevada 16.5 39.7 27.9 15.9
New Hampshire 2.3 39.5 20.2 37.4
New Jersey 3.7 41.2 33.6 20.5
New Mexico 5.9 41.9 17.1 35.2
New York 4 41.3 24.6 28.7
North Carolina 0.4 59.2 28.4 11.9
North Dakota 8.1 34.2 29.7 26.6
Ohio 8.7 41 22.2 26.8
Oklahoma 16.4 47 0 35.8
Oregon 9.7 34.3 27.4 25.3
Pennsylvania 6.9 32.5 36.5 22.4
Rhode Island 2.6 39 21.7 35.6
South Carolina 0.3 95.9 2.6 1.1
South Dakota 4 42.1 50.6 0
Tennessee 1.4 52.8 21.5 24
Texas 8.3 72.7 8.9 9.4
Utah 8 32.6 21.5 37.4
Vermont 1.5 24.4 35.2 37.1
Virginia 0.6 65.9 15.9 17
Washington 12.4 26.9 35.2 21.8
West Virginia 5.7 42.1 29.4 21.1
Wisconsin 8.4 41.1 15.6 32.7
Wyoming 6.5 36.2 21.8 34.4



Average Third-Party Vote by State, 1948-2012



These maps show the average third-party vote by state for two different time periods, 1972 to 2012, and 1948 to 2012. The third-party vote for this project consists of votes for all candidates other than the Democratic and Republican candidates, so this includes votes for very minor, write-in, and independent candidates as well as the main third-parties like the Greens, Libertarians, Reform, etc. I chose to separate these maps into two different time periods because there is a huge difference in third-party performance from 1948 to 1968  ascompared to later years. From 1948 to 1968 there were several third-party campaigns by southern candidates who were running against civil rights policies. Candidates like Strom Thurmond in 1948 and George Wallace in 1968 were able to carry several states in the Deep South and gain solid support in other southern states. However, after 1968 the South became the region most hostile to third-party candidates, giving very little support to candidates like John Anderson in 1980, Ross Perot in 1992, and Ralph Nader in 2000. Instead third-party strength lay in the western states and the northeast, as can be seen in the maps above. The table below shows the third-party performance by state for each of the two time periods:

Average Third-Party Vote by State, by time period:

State 1972-2012 1948-2012
Alabama 2.71% 10.99%
Alaska 9.84% 8.78%
Arizona 5.23% 4.46%
Arkansas 3.17% 6.03%
California 5.36% 4.59%
Colorado 5.93% 4.78%
Connecticut 5.32% 4.17%
Delaware 4.22% 3.92%
District of Columbia 3.63% 3.07%
Florida 3.56% 5.26%
Georgia 2.55% 5.56%
Hawaii 4.68% 3.93%
Idaho 6.71% 5.65%
Illinois 3.71% 3.22%
Indiana 3.86% 3.67%
Iowa 4.39% 3.66%
Kansas 5.41% 4.64%
Kentucky 3.09% 3.46%
Louisiana 3.55% 9.93%
Maine 6.67% 4.75%
Maryland 3.55% 3.52%
Massachusetts 6.02% 4.51%
Michigan 4.08% 3.79%
Minnesota 5.92% 4.57%
Mississippi 2.45% 13.91%
Missouri 3.78% 3.41%
Montana 6.84% 5.37%
Nebraska 4.86% 3.86%
Nevada 5.95% 5.11%
New Hampshire 5.22% 3.93%
New Jersey 4.06% 3.86%
New Mexico 4.37% 3.66%
New York 4.04% 3.69%
North Carolina 2.45% 4.19%
North Dakota 5.68% 4.55%
Ohio 4.52% 3.99%
Oklahoma 3.61% 3.88%
Oregon 6.67% 5.29%
Pennsylvania 4.08% 3.60%
Rhode Island 5.84% 4.25%
South Carolina 2.62% 12.40%
South Dakota 4.20% 3.34%
Tennessee 2.47% 4.81%
Texas 3.42% 4.24%
Utah 6.75% 5.39%
Vermont 6.82% 4.90%
Virginia 3.52% 4.97%
Washington 6.12% 5.21%
West Virginia 3.37% 2.98%
Wisconsin 4.98% 4.19%
Wyoming 5.63% 4.51%

How Secure is each NBA team’s future?

These charts were created by looking at what players are under contract for each team by season, and then adding up the total win-shares they contributed to figure out what percentage of each teams win-shares are locked up through the next three seasons. So, for example, the Minnesota Timberwolves have all their players under contact for 2016-17 except for Tayshaun Prince and Greg Smith, who are Unrestricted Free Agents. Since those two players only contributed 0.6 win shares to the Timberwolves, Minnesota has nearly 95% of their win-shares under contract for next season. On the other side of the ledger, the Dallas Mavericks  have only 28% of the win-shares contributed to their team last year under contract for next year.

The table below shows the % of each team’s win-shares under contract over the next three seasons:

Team 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 Average
Utah Jazz* 103.59% 39.24% 8.02% 50.28%
Chicago Bulls* 94.46% 55.15% 45.38% 65.00%
Minnesota Timberwolves 94.43% 65.69% 42.23% 67.45%
Philadelphia 76ers 93.75% 42.50% 13.75% 50.00%
Milwaukee Bucks 87.07% 36.59% 23.97% 49.21%
Denver Nuggets 85.12% 64.29% 30.06% 59.82%
Indiana Pacers* 77.97% 47.52% 6.48% 43.99%
Boston Celtics 76.59% 51.13% 15.20% 47.64%
Golden State Warriors 75.96% 28.32% 28.32% 44.20%
Sacramento Kings* 75.64% 38.68% 10.89% 41.74%
Portland Trail Blazers 74.04% 46.73% 29.80% 50.19%
Houston Rockets 73.33% 70.95% 10.48% 51.59%
Oklahoma City Thunder* 71.40% 17.52% 4.13% 31.02%
Phoenix Suns 71.02% 51.02% 40.41% 54.15%
San Antonio Spurs 69.32% 59.48% 19.83% 49.54%
Los Angeles Clippers 68.25% 24.14% 0.00% 30.80%
New Orleans Pelicans 66.24% 32.48% 31.83% 43.52%
Detroit Pistons 64.43% 38.57% 37.41% 46.81%
Toronto Raptors 60.55% 32.66% 22.57% 38.59%
Atlanta Hawks 56.09% 0.40% 0.00% 18.83%
Brooklyn Nets 54.63% 37.89% 6.61% 33.04%
Orlando Magic* 53.23% 38.71% 16.40% 36.11%
Charlotte Hornets* 50.91% 34.34% 33.33% 39.53%
Washington Wizards 50.88% 36.52% 36.52% 41.31%
Memphis Grizzlies 49.30% 14.57% 12.61% 25.49%
Los Angeles Lakers 47.70% 47.13% 12.64% 35.82%
Cleveland Cavaliers 44.16% 41.07% 41.07% 42.10%
New York Knicks 38.68% 22.92% 0.00% 20.53%
Miami Heat 35.43% 33.75% 28.51% 32.56%
Dallas Mavericks 28.16% 24.11% 18.14% 23.47%

*Adjusted for trades announced of the June 25, 2016

Here is a link to an explanation of win-shares:

As for what counts as “under contract”, I included team options, but did not include any players who had a player option or early termination option in the year in question, since the team could not guarantee that they would be back for that season.

These calculations have been adjusted for the trades that have occurred up to today. So, for example, the New York Knicks lost the win-shares of Robin Lopez for the rest of his contract, but gained the win-shares of Derrick Rose for next year. This also led to the Utah Jazz having above 100% of their 2015-16 win-shares under contract next year, since they gained George Hill while only having Trevor Booker and Erick Green not under contract for the next season.

These calculations can be thrown off by a few different things. For one, some players are almost certain to return to their teams this off-season, such as Lebron James and Dirk Nowitzki, but have not signed contracts yet which artificially lowers the outlook of the Cavaliers and Mavericks. Other players were injured last year and thus didn’t contribute to their teams total win-shares, for example Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for the Hornets, who is locked up under contract for several years. This makes the outlook for the Hornets look worse than it really is.

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What If Third-Parties Won?


This map looks at alternate scenarios where major third-party challenges actually won their presidential elections. These challenges are Ross Perot’s run in 1992, John B. Anderson in 1980, George Wallace in 1968, and Robert Lafollette in 1924. To calculate which states they would have needed to win, a “uniform swing” model was used. Basically this means that, across every state, one point would be added to the third-party candidates total and a half-point would be subtracted from each of their opponents. This would be repeated until the third-party challenger achieved the necessary number of electoral votes for a majority. Obviously this is an oversimplification of how a third-party win would occur, they may have drawn more votes from one candidate or another, and likely wouldn’t have gained ground in all states at the same rate. Nonetheless, it is a fun way to take a look at what their winning coalitions could have looked like. Let’s go through them one at a time:

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Perot ran in 1992 (and less successfully in 1996) as a budget-balancing businessman, who was anti-free trade and anti-immigration, but held some liberal positions on social issues and infrastructure spending. A Perot win would have required him to reach 36% of the popular vote, a 17 point increase over the 19% he actually achieved. California is the state that would ultimately put Perot over the top of 270 electoral votes. He won no states in 1992, but in this alternate scenario his coalition would be broad. He sweeps the Western US except for Hawaii and New Mexico, and scores wins in small north-east states and the industrial Midwest. His two major areas of weakness are the South (winning only Missouri and Florida), and the Mid-Atlantic states (with only a win in Delaware). The states he lost line up well with states that had large minority populations, which suggests that Perot’s coalition was largely a white coalition.

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John B. Anderson, a republican congressman, ran as an independent in 1980 on a moderate platform that included raising the gas tax, fiscal responsibility, and social liberalism. He only got 6.6% of the vote, and would have needed a huge 29.5% bump to get all the way up to 36.1% of the popular vote to win the electoral college in 1980. His coalition looks shockingly like the Democratic coalition of states from 2000 and 2004. The only difference between his set of states and Al Gore’s was that Gore won DC and New Mexico (but lost the electoral college due to a decrease in the number of votes held by Democratic states from 1980 to 2000). Anderson’s coalition is thus a precursor of today’s more liberal Democratic party, which ended up jettisoning states Carter won in 1980 like Georgia and West Virginia.

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George Wallace ran a populist, racist, and segregationist campaign in 1968, gathering 13.5% of the vote and winning 5 Deep South states. The South is the bedrock of his hypothetical support, with a boost of 26% points needed to get him to 39.5% of the popular vote and an electoral college win. However, to get enough electoral college votes his coalition would need to be larger than just the South, expanding into northern states with working-class voters where he was gaining popularity as part of the backlash against expanding government, busing, and fair housing. The regions most resistant to his campaign were the West and the Northeast.

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This one is going really far back into history. Robert Lafollette is mostly forgotten today, but the Progressive Senator ran a campaign for president in 1924 based around nationalizing the railroads and electrical utilities, banning child labor, access to credit for farmers, and strong support for unions. In reality he won onnly 16.6% of the vote and his home state of Wisconsin. Shockingly, because his support was overwhelmingly concentrated in the Western states, he would need a gain of 30 points at the national level to win the electoral college, putting his total popular vote at 46.6% in a three way race.  It would require this huge boost to allow him to carry most of the Midwest, a handful of border states, and New York.