Biden donors far outnumber Trump's on Connecticut's shoreline
One troubling new development I've seen this summer is the politicization of boating.
A new trend for some Donald Trump-supporting power boaters is to fly giant Trump 2020 flags atop their cruisers. One Mystic marina is full of them.
I haven't seen any on sailboats yet.
For some reason, it seems more intrusive than traditional yard signs and bumper stickers. Maybe it's my imagination, but Trump supporters seem generally more aggressive with their sign habits than Democrats.
But that's what also makes a new fact-based modeling of the geography of Trump and Joe Biden support by The New York Times so wonderful.
It's an interactive map of the country, based on data from the Federal Election Commission, that gives an exact count of Trump and Biden donors by ZIP code.
It appeared on the newspaper's website last week. I couldn't stop playing with it. Its pinpoint clarity is empowering.
So, for instance, despite the prominent Trump flag waving by some who keep their big boats in Mystic, I can tell you that, of the people who live in the 06355 ZIP code, donors to the Biden campaign outnumber Trump donors almost three to one: 176 to 59.
The map shows the number of donors in ranges of pink to red for Trump, the more the darker, and light blue to deep blue for Biden. Each ZIP code is color-coded, and if you click on it, a box showing the exact count of donors shows up.
Connecticut is generally pale blue with some scattered pink splotches, mostly around Waterbury and in some northeastern towns. There is no dark red.
The entire shoreline of the state is blue. The big cities and the towns around them are generally dark blue.
Most of eastern Connecticut ranges from light to medium blue. Some of the region's darker shades of blue are Stonington's 06378, with 127 Biden donors vs. 36 Trump donors, and the Lymes' 06371, with 169 giving Biden money vs. 46 who gave to Trump.
The numbers flip and there's some pink on the map in northeastern Connecticut, but pale pink. It's a tie, 59 to 59, in 06351, including parts of Voluntown, Griswold and Lisbon.
Trump donors have a slight edge in Moosup, 19 vs. 18, and more in Killingly and Plainfield, 35 vs. 30.
The map graphically explains why representation of voters in the 18th Senate District, which sprawls north to south, has toggled over the years between Democrats and Republicans.
It could be why the current occupant of the seat, Republican Sen. Heather Somers, may not want to insult the Trump donors in the northern reaches of her district, and condemn the president, even though that condemnation would likely play well in many of the southern ZIP codes she represents.
I suppose one weakness of the donor analysis is that it allows for some income bias. Higher earners may have more disposable income to spend on supporting the candidate of their choice.
On the other hand, it counts donations of all amounts, so very small donors are given the same weight as those who donate the maximum amount allowed.
The lack of much pink or any dark red in Connecticut is not because no one here can afford to give to Trump. Fairfield County, with some of the richest ZIP codes in the country, home to many of the state's Republicans, is largely medium to dark blue on the Trump/Biden donor map.
Unlike polls, the donor analysis is data driven and less uncertain. You can mislead a poll taker on the phone, but the legal record of your donation is irrefutable.
Donations are also a good measure of enthusiasm. If you write a check for your candidate, you are very likely going to go out and vote.
Of course come November, we will no longer have to rely on polls, signs, boat flags or donor counts to see anew where Connecticut falls on the question of Trump vs. Biden and the local Democrats and Republicans on their respective tickets.
This is the opinion of David Collins.