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NW Oregon counties did help Obama win

A friend and I were discussing elections and got around to presidential elections. He said Oregon should really be a red state, not a blue state, since only about three counties up north made the difference in giving President Obama a win in Oregon. I said I was pretty sure it was more than just three counties, so I'm wondering who's right?

— Mike S., Medford

Barack Obama was indeed a winner in Oregon's past two elections, Mike, and in this argument, so are you. While it's true that the vast majority of Oregon counties voted for the GOP candidates, there were far more than three who went with the current occupant of the White House.

In 2012, 26 Oregon counties cast their lot with Republican Mitt Romney. That meant 10 counties supported Obama.

The 10 are located in the state's northwest quarter: Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Hood River, Lane, Lincoln, Multnomah, Tillamook and Washington.

The president won Oregon that year by 54 to 42 percent over Romney, with more than 216,000 votes separating the two.

In 2008, Obama topped John McCain nationally and in Oregon, where 13 of the 36 counties supported the Democrat. Jackson, Marion and Wasco counties joined the 10 listed above in siding with the eventual winner. Statewide, Obama captured 57 percent of the ballots, topping McCain by nearly 300,000 votes.

The margin in Jackson County in 2008 was a mere 47 votes, with Obama taking 48.58 percent to McCain's 48.53 percent.

Considering that Multnomah County alone gave Obama a 204,000 vote advantage in 2008 and just under 200,000 in '12, your friend could argue that if you tossed out two or three counties, the result would be different. But that would hardly be fair, now would it?

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.