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February 10, 2019, 1:07 PM GMT

By Dante Chinni and Sally Bronston

WASHINGTON – Geography has become a crucial communicator of American politics because voice data shows that we are increasingly a nation of red communities and blue communities. And through that lens, new data from U-Haul provide an insight into the internal migration of 2018 & # 39; s and the potential election implications.

Every year the moving company makes a list of its best selling destinations in the United States, collected from more than 2 million one-way leases at its 21,000 locations in the United States. And depending on how you view the numbers, the 2018 version had good news for both Republicans and Democrats.

If we look at the figures at state level, everything seems to be crimson.

If we look at the figures at state level, everything seems to be crimson.

The top five states for inbound growth, using the U-Haul data, were all states that voted in 2016 for President Donald Trump: Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Utah and Idaho. On that list are some states that were firmly behind the president – Trump won Idaho with 32 percentage points – but also a number where the fight came much closer, like always-central Florida.

If you are a Republican, that can offer you some comfort if a difficult re-election fight comes closer. And to make you feel even better, the lower three states can be places that all saw net negative migrations.

California, Illinois and Michigan all saw declines.

California, Illinois and Michigan all saw declines. These are two reliable Democratic states on the election day and a crucial battlefield with a long history of democratic voices that all see more U-Haul trucks than board.

So on the most basic level, it seems Red America is bringing in people and sending Blue America away from people.

But zoom in on the level of the city in the U-Haul data and the numbers become slightly more complicated and seem to take on a bit of a blue tint. Consider the top 10 cities for growth in the number of the moving company.

But zoom in on the level of the city in the U-Haul data and the numbers become slightly more complicated and seem to take on a bit of a blue tint.

Five of those cities look like blue islands in battlefields that voted for Donald Trump in 2016: Harrisburg, Grand Rapids, Fort Lauderdale, Madison and Kissimmee. The votes in each municipality went in the opposite direction to the state's presidential vote. And the last count in those four states came up close. In Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida and Wisconsin, Trump's profit margin was less than 1.5 percentage points.

In other words, a few thousand more Democratic votes in those cities can make a big difference. Trump won three states – Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – with a total of about 78,000 votes, and without them he would not have conquered the White House.

For the sake of clarity, there are many comments about this data. The political tendencies of these movers are not easy to know. But U-Haul's numbers support some of the larger trends that are evident in other migration and voting data.

Yes, the population in the republican red states of the Electoral College is growing, especially in the mountainous west. But urban areas across the country are becoming increasingly densely populated, and as they grow, they grow more democratic. Those two realities can have conflicting consequences.

Consider another state that has seen a lot of incoming migration in recent decades: Colorado. For years it was trustworthy Republican. From 1968 to 2004, it voted for the GOP nominee in nine of the ten presidential elections and was the definition of a fast-growing red state.

But the influx of Colorado was the very blue metro zone around Denver, which saw a sky-high growth. That area came to define and change the state. Since 2008, Colorado has elected the Democratic presidential candidate at every election.