As nation shifts left, UC sees massive shift to the right

By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ

UPPER CUMBERLAND – On a day when many are focused on the political landscape of the country, and the change in the administration from Republican to Democrat, it is interesting to note that since 2012 the Upper Cumberland, and in particular Jackson County, have taken a massive swing toward the Republican Party.

Across the U.C., pretty much everywhere except Cookeville and Fairfield Glade have experienced a large swing towards the GOP, according to data gathered by Tennessee election analyst Don Johnson. 

Jackson County has had the state’s fourth highest swing to the GOP from 2016 to 2020, and its progression towards the GOP since 2008 is one of the most significant in the country. Gore won the county by 40 points in 2000, Kerry by 20 points, Obama by less than a point in 2008, then it flipped and gave a 15-point advantage to Romney in 2012, a 47-point margin for Trump in 2016, and a 56-point margin for Trump in 2020. 

Regionwide, Republican Trump got 77% to Democrat Biden’s 21%. The region has swung around 3 points in Trump’s direction since 2016, and 19 points towards the GOP since 2012.

Every precinct in the region went for Trump, though the precinct around TTU was the closest, with Trump getting just under 50% to Biden’s 47%. That precinct has also swung the hardest towards the Democrats since 2012 – an 11% swing in the margins. Putnam and Cumberland counties had very slight swings in Biden’s direction, but the reduced third party vote still meant Trump got a higher percentage than last time.

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