Colorado election results over time: Denver has picked a Republican for president twice since Kennedy

Denverite looks at how Denver County has remained politically consistent through the years while other counties have shifted on their choice for president.

Ronald and Nancy Reagan celebrate his gubernatorial victory at the Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles. (Public Domain)
Ronald and Nancy Reagan celebrate his gubernatorial victory at the Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles. (Public Domain)
Ronald and Nancy Reagan celebrate his gubernatorial victory at the Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles. (Public Domain)

Chart of the Week

It would be less than surprising to wake up after Election Day to the news Denver has picked Hillary Clinton to be the next leader of the United States.

Starting with John F. Kennedy in 1960, Denver has voted for the Democrat presidential nominee all but two times.

Today’s Chart of the Week looks at how Denver County has remained politically consistent through the years while other counties have shifted.

Maps of who went blue or red in presidential elections since 1960.

The chart shows whether counties in Colorado gave more support to the Democrat or Republican presidential candidates from 1960 through 2012.

Data: Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections and Colorado Secretary of State archives. (Denverite)

In 1972, Denver County, like most of the state and nation, opted to send ol’ Richard Milhous Nixon back to the White House instead of his challenger U.S. Sen. George McGovern.

Denver got swept up in another Republican rapture in 1980, this time for the grandfatherly Ronald Reagan who would go on to make Jimmy Carter a one-term president.

Colorado’s so-called swing and battleground counties have a more checkered past in selecting a president.

Those counties are identified by Politico as Arapahoe and Jefferson counties and by Pew Research as Jefferson, Las Animas, and Chaffee counties.

Jefferson County selected Barack Obama in 2008 and ’12. It was the first time the residents just west of Denver elected a Democrat since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

East of Denver, Arapahoe County had the same track record picking a Republican 13 out of 14 times since JFK.

Las Animas residents have voted for a Democrat 14 out of 15 times since Kennedy. The only exception for the county on the southern edge of the Colorado border was Nixon in ’72.

Nestled along the edge of the Rocky Mountains in central Colorado, Chaffee County is a little odd, opting to send Obama back to the Washington, D.C. in 2012 but not picking any other Democrats other than LBJ.

Maps of who went blue or red in presidential elections since 1960.

The chart shows whether counties in Coloraddo gave more support to the Democrat or Republican presidential candidates from 1960 through 2012.

Data: Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections and Colorado Secretary of State archives. (Denverite)

Fun fact: Only Eagle and Summit counties are 50-50 on giving more support to either the Democrats or Republicans and only Costilla County has thrown its weight behind the same party (Democrats) every single election cycle for more than 50 years.

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Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia covers business and trends for Denverite. He's covered business for The Fort Collins Coloradoan and serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.