By John W. LoftusPublished September 19, 2019 12:11:03KENTUCKYPRINCETON, Ky.
— As Kentucky votes on its presidential nominee, it may be worth looking at its past elections.
A 2016 analysis by The Times of Greater Louisville shows that in the past five years, the most reliably Republican counties have voted for the Republican nominee for president by a margin of about 2-1.
That means that while Republicans have traditionally made up the majority of voters in Kentucky, there’s been a shift in the direction of the state’s voting patterns in the last five years.
The study found that the most reliable counties in Kentucky are all located in the eastern part of the commonwealth, including Louisville and Lexington.
It is notable that some of those counties voted for President Trump in 2016, including some that had traditionally been solidly Democratic.
Among the counties with the most consistent Republican votes in the 2016 election are Louisville, Bowling Green, Cumberland, Jefferson, Lexington and Louisville.
Those four counties each voted for Trump by a greater than 2-to-1 margin, according to The Times analysis.
The paper notes that there are some exceptions, including Kentucky’s rural eastern counties that voted for Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2016.
In the western part of Kentucky, for instance, the Republican vote for McConnell, who is retiring from the Senate, is less consistent.
But it is worth noting that in 2016 Kentucky was the only state to go for Trump, beating out other blue states like Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Mississippi.
That could be one reason why the most consistently Republican counties in 2016 were in the central part of Ohio and Tennessee.
In 2016, about 75 percent of all voters in the four counties with most consistent GOP votes cast ballots for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according the analysis.
But in 2017, about one-third of all registered voters in those four counties voted Republican, and that share has increased in the three years since the election.
In the most recent election, the GOP candidate in those three counties was businessman Joe Miller, who won by less than 2 percentage points.
The 2016 election is an important moment for Kentucky’s political history, and it is unlikely that the 2016 Republican wave will be repeated in the 2018 midterm elections.
But there’s still reason to hope that the state will turn around and vote for the Democratic nominee in 2020.