What’s driving Ohio’s new political map: Shale or Trump? ... Shale!

Two years ago a historic election took place. Historic not just because Donald Trump was elected president but historic because of the dramatic shifting of the election map in Ohio and in the Appalachia Basin. 

The results are truly incredible. Here is the Ohio election map for the governor’s race in 2006 along with the map for the presidential race 10 years later:


Clearly, the Ohio River Valley and Appalachia generally had moved Republican. The question leading into the 2018 midterms was whether the 2016 race was a “Trump Phenomena” or part of a broader demographic switch. 

It appears the latter is the case. Here is the Ohio election map for governor in 2018:


The same Appalachia trend continues. My colleague suggested in 2016 that the development of the shale industry was the driver for this shift and the comments by Hillary Clinton about the inevitable loss of coal jobs was the exclamation point. The 2018 results would seem to support that hypothesis – the election map does not lie.