Could the trend toward greater suburbanization – and migration among states – have an impact on next month’s election in the United States?
An analysis released Tuesday by realtor.com finds that the majority of out-of-town searches for homes in the battleground states of Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – all of which voted for President Trump in 2016 – come from blue states and counties.
But that doesn’t mean it will tip an election – at least not yet.
“For years homebuyers have looked from urban areas to more suburban and rural areas to find the affordability that makes buying a home possible. The additional time at home and flexibility to work remotely as a result of the pandemic have further fueled this trend,” realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale said. “Although many factors will ultimately influence voting decisions, what we may learn in just a little over a month is whether these shoppers ended up changing the results in the states they moved into, or not. We know a number of blue staters’ interest in swing state moves. But we just don’t know how many of them actually did move, and whether they themselves vote Democratic or Republican.”
The realtor.com study examines searches of home shoppers who are looking outside their local market over the last three years. According to the analysis, the majority of out of town searches for homes in Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin come from states and counties that lean blue.
The search patterns also indicate that, with the exception of Georgia, the 30 states that went red in 2016 may be impacted one way or another by blue staters moving in. At the same time, however, eight blue states and the District of Columbia are seeing an influx of people from states that are red.
The findings include:
Florida (Trump in 2016)
- The biggest share of non-local home searches in Florida are coming from Georgia (a red state in 2016) followed by New York, New Jersey, Illinois and California, all blue states in 2016.
- At the county level, the highest share of non-local searches in the state come from all blue counties – Dekalb County, Ga., Cook County, Ill., Fulton County, Ga., New York County, N.Y., and Essex County, N.Y.
Michigan (Trump in 2016)
- The biggest share of non-local home searches in Michigan are coming from Ohio, Illinois, California, Georgia and Florida.
- Although only two of the top viewing states are blue, the highest share of non-local searches are from blue counties, including Cook County, Ill., Summit County, Ohio, Dekalb County, Ga., Cuyahoga County, Ohio and Franklin County, Ohio.
Pennsylvania (Trump in 2016)
- The biggest share of non-local home searches in Pennsylvania are coming from New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio and Virginia. Of these five states, only Ohio voted for Trump in 2016.
- At the county level, the highest share of non-local searches in the state come from all blue counties, including Washington, D.C., New York County, N.Y., Essex County, N.J., Kings County, N.Y. and Montgomery County, Md.
Wisconsin (Trump in 2016)
- The biggest share of non-local home searches in Wisconsin are coming from Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Iowa and California, three of which (Illinois, Minnesota and California are blue states).
- At the county level, four of the five highest share of non-local searches in the state come from blue counties, including Cook County, Ill., Lake County, Ill., Hennepin County, Minn. and Bucks County, Pa. The exception is McHenry County, Ill.
“A critical question – as blue staters move to swing or red states, are they Democratic voters seeking out a more suburban or rural lifestyle, or are they Republican voters wanting to move out of a more Democratic neighborhood or do their political opinions shift as they move to areas that have traditionally supported Republican candidates? We may know how to better answer these questions, once the votes are counted,” Hale said.