The nationwide decline in support for Hillary Clinton compared to Barack Obama four years ago is evident locally.
A computer-assisted analysis of voting patterns in the past three presidential elections shows Clinton lost some of the support Obama had in north Spokane and parts of the Spokane Valley. Republican Donald Trump also received significantly more votes out of some Valley and rural precincts than his GOP predecessors John McCain or Mitt Romney.
To determine how the presidential vote in Spokane County shifted, The Spokesman-Review analyzed the precinct results for 2008, 2012 and 2016 to look for patterns in the differences between the votes for the Republican and Democratic nominees in each of the county’s 335 precincts.
The 2008 and 2012 numbers are certified final results; the numbers for this year will be completed this week, but county officials said last week they have only about 25 ballots to process.
In all three elections, the Republican received the most votes countywide, while the Democrat won the city of Spokane.
Making direct comparisons is difficult because some precinct boundaries changed between elections because of redistricting. But mapping the results showed areas of the county where the shifts were most noticeable.
Overall, Republican candidates gained and Democrats lost support over those 12 years. In 2008, Barack Obama came within 1.1 percentage point of John McCain countywide. In 2012, Obama was about 6 percentage points behind Mitt Romney, and Hillary Clinton is 9 points behind Trump.
In 2012 and again this year, Republicans gained strength in the suburbs and rural areas of the county. Democrats lost support in many north precincts in the city of Spokane, particularly in the northeast part of the city, including Hillyard, along with west and central precincts in the city of Spokane Valley.
Compared to 2008, Clinton lost the most support in some traditionally blue-collar precincts, most notably in neighborhoods on either side of North Division Street. Some precincts saw a shift of more than 100 votes away from the Democratic nominee.
Although the maps show many areas of Spokane Valley and rural Spokane County giving Trump more support than McCain, there were also some shifts away from Trump in the city of Spokane precincts that have long been regarded as “establishment” Republican neighborhoods.
Clinton gained support in the lower South Hill between Interstate 90 and 29th Avenue, and lost some intensity in the Logan neighborhood.
Romney did better than Trump in the northwest precincts of Spokane, and in Liberty Lake. McCain and Romney both did better than Trump in the precinct that contains Fairchild Air Force Base, and in parts of the West Plains. Trump generally did better than McCain or Romney in the rural precincts in the southern half of the county, and a bit better than Romney and about as well as McCain in the north precincts between Spokane and the Deer Park area.
Running against Romney, Obama held his margins in northeast Spokane precincts, along Division and in Hillyard, and in the Valley city precincts just east of Havana. But Clinton lost many of those to Trump.