Growing Outer Suburbs Change Political Map

2008 Presidential Election Results By County

UPDATED Nov. 5, 1:40 P.M.: Sen. Barack Obama captured greater proportions of voters in the economy-minded emerging suburbs and far-flung "exurban" areas than fellow Democrat John Kerry did in 2004. That's the conclusion of an NPR analysis of counties in the nation's 50 largest metropolitan areas. Applying a typology created by the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, NPR found that Obama approached a majority in the emerging suburbs with 48 percent of the vote, improving on Kerry’s 43 percent. As expected, Obama was strongest in urban core areas, winning 78 percent of the vote there, and 62 percent of the vote in inner suburbs. Election returns from the Associated Press exclude Alaska and the six New England states.

NPR map of 2008 presidential election results by county

2004 Presidential Election Results By County

In 2004, Republican incumbent President George W. Bush captured 62 percent of the vote in exurban counties far from central cities and 57 percent in newer emerging suburbs. Democratic candidate John Kerry polled more strongly among voters who live closer to major cities. Kerry got 69 percent of the vote in urban core counties and 59 percent in inner suburbs, according to an analysis of the top 50 metro areas by the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech.

NPR map of 2004 presidential election results by county