lt's always a pleasure for me to get local presidential election results from a fellow political junkie. This person figures out how the candidates did in each ward of Salem. There are eight wards. Scroll down to see a map of them.
In 2020 Joe Biden whipped Trump's ass (to use a non-political science term) in every ward, including Ward 4, South Salem, and Ward 8, West Salem -- which traditionally are the most conservative areas of Salem.
Here's the results for Salem as a whole, plus Marion and Polk counties, and Oregon as a whole. The county-level results for Biden vs. Trump are much closer, since rural parts of Marion and Polk counties lean decidedly conservative.
Still, it's encouraging to progressives like me to see that Marion County narrowly went for Biden, 49% to 48%
Below is how Hillary Clinton did against Trump in 2016 in each ward. Everywhere in Salem Biden did much better than Clinton. The percentage increase for the Democratic candidate ranged between 13% and 20% in the various wards.
(Note: this is the increase as a percentage of the 2016 result. For example, in Ward 1 Clinton got 56% and Biden got 64%, a difference of 8%. So the percentage increase is 8 divided by 56, or 14%.)
This is the percentage increase for the Democratic candidate between 2016 and 2020 by ward, ranging from low to high.
Ward 3 -- 13%
Ward 1 -- 14%
Ward 2 -- 14%
Ward 6 -- 15%
Ward 5 -- 17%
Ward 4 -- 20%
Ward 7 -- 20%
Ward 8 -- 20%
Wards 4, 7, and 8 win the prize for the greatest shift from Trump to the Democratic candidate. These are traditionally conservative, higher income parts of Salem -- the "suburbs," they could be called. Biden's large gains there echo the shift toward him nationally in suburban areas.
Salem as a whole went from a 49% vote for Clinton to a 57% vote for Biden, a 16% increase calculated as a percentage of the 2016 vote.
Given Trump's unpopularity after four years in office, it's unclear whether this truly represents a shift to Salem becoming decidedly more progressive or a temporary reflection of Trump's low approval rating. My guess is both factors were in play.
There's also the influence of people not voting for either Trump or Clinton/Biden. In 2016 Clinton + Trump equaled 87%. In 2020 Biden + Trump equaled 96%. This change probably is due to fewer votes for third party candidates and less of an undervote, where no vote was cast for the presidential candidate.
Now, this increased tilt in Salem toward the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate doesn't mean Republicans can't win City Council races or the Mayor's race in the future.
However, conservative candidates who want to come out on top in Salem would be advised to not become identified with Trumpian politics. That will be rather difficult to do, since it looks like Trump plans on staying in the political spotlight after he leaves office on January 20, and may even run for president in 2024.
Conversely, progressive candidates will want to associate their conservative opponent with Trump, or at least Trump's positions on health care, immigration, climate change, and the like.
Clearly Trump isn't popular in Salem. It is difficult to nationalize local races, especially non-partisan races (like those for City Council and Mayor). But if voters learn that a candidate is in Trump's corner, likely that will decrease their chance of winning in this town during the next four years.
Or until Trump fades away, which I hope happens ASAP.
Here's the map of Salem wards.
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