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Friday, April 29, 2016

Divergent Movements in PA Primary in Cambria County for Bernie and Trump

2016 Election Map for PA Democratic Primary
The headlines from this year's Pennsylvania Primary were that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have all but clinched the nomination of their respective parties for President with their wins on April 26.  Clinton won Pennsylvania with 55% of the vote while Trump won with 57% carrying all 67 counties.  In every election with millions of participants there are millions of stories that don't get reported.  

The county map above shows that Sanders won 31 out of 67 counties.  The results were close in many counties.  Bedford County was the closest in the state with Clinton beating Sanders by 5 votes.  Many counties were decided by a few hundred votes.  The outcome in some counties may change when absentee ballots are included.  Philadelphia County had the biggest margin for Clinton with 63% of the vote.  Columbia County was largest for Sanders with 58% of the vote. 

In Cambria County where I was organizing for Bernie we had a group of 30 volunteers (some of whom are pictured below at the election night party) canvass, leaflet, and phone bank for Bernie in Cambria County for the last 3 weeks of the campaign.  The Clinton campaign sent in Bill Clinton and volunteers from Arkansas a week after.  We covered the city of Johnstown and made it as far north as Ebensburg and Loretto.  The results on the Cambria County office of elections gives the following results that show Sanders won here by 537 votes out of 18,857 cast.



Candidate
Percent
Votes
Hillary
Clinton


44%
8304

Bernie
Sanders


46.9%
8841

Roque Rocky De La
Fuente


2.6%
499

WRITE-IN


6.4%
1213



The group of volunteers who made it happen for Bernie Sanders in Cambria County
For comparison below is the election map for the PA primary in 2008.  Clinton won it by a similar margin with 55% of the vote but the pattern of wins by county was very different.  Obama won only 7 counties but winning 45% of the vote.  Turnout was higher that year with 2.3 million voting compared to 1.6 million voting this year in the democratic primary.  

For Cambria County, Clinton won there with 72% of the vote in 2008 with 31,643 turning out.  The turnout was down by 40% countywide in 2016 compared to a 29% decrease statewide.  This decrease may be partly explained by a decrease in population in the county (5.1% decrease or approximately 7,000 since 2010) and by reports of 61,000 Democrats statewide switching to Republicans presumably to vote for Donald Trump.  18,000 of which are in the southwest corner of the state.
2008 Election Map for PA Democratic Primary

For the Republicans, turnout was about 50% higher in the County and statewide partly due to Democrats switching sides and also due to there being a competitive primary which hasn't happened for Pennsylvania Republicans since 1980.  Donald Trump won the county with 65% or 10,795 votes out of 16,478 cast which is higher than Trump's percentage for the state.  

The outcomes of the primaries in both parties suggest that both sides are unhappy with politics as usual and their economic conditions in both the state as a whole and more so in Cambria County.  Our group took steps to address these concerns in a different manner than the Trump supporters.  Not by scapegoating foreigners but by addressing economic inequality.  There are some areas of agreement between Trump and Sanders supporters on free trade agreements being bad for the economy and the Iraq war being a big mistake.  To build a long term effective coalition one needs more than just fear to hold it together.  The primary shows that Cambria County can be fertile ground for Sanders' as well as Trump's ideas.  Time will tell which ideas will grow the most.

**Related Posts**

2014 Income and Poverty Update for Pennsylvania and Cambria County 

In Johnstown, PA to Organize for Bernie

Which Religious Group Supports Trump the Most?