More than a dozen blue states turned purple between 2008 and 2010, Gallup found in its analysis of party affiliations of the people it surveyed in daily tracking polls.
Based on the party affiliations that people being surveyed provided to pollsters, 14 states were considered solidly Democratic in 2010, with Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents outweighing Republicans by at least 10 percentage points. In 2009, that number was 24 and in 2008, when President Barack Obama was elected, 30 states were solidly Democratic by Gallup’s measure.
But a shift away from the Democratic Party hasn’t necessarily brought a windfall to the GOP. In 2008, four states were considered solidly Republican and another one leaned Republican. In 2010, five states were solidly Republican and another five leaned Republican, meaning that people identifying themselves as Republicans and Republican-leaning independents outnumbered Democrats by more than 5 percentage points and fewer than 10.
Most of the melt from solidly blue states was toward the purple, the states Gallup considers “competitive.” In 2008, 10 states were in that category. In 2010, Gallup counted 18. Between 2008 and 2010, the number of states that leaned Democratic rose from six to nine.
Some of the biggest losses in Democratic Party membership came in Rhode Island, where the number of people identifying as Democrats or leaners fell 12.2 percentage points between 2008 and 2010. In New Hampshire and Maine, it fell by about 11 points. In Hawaii, 10 points.
Based on Gallup’s survey, the most solidly blue states in 2010 were the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont and Hawaii. The most solidly Republican were Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Alaska and Kansas.