Where New York Got (Sort of) Redder

ALBANY—An analysis of election returns shows two red spots in New York, a state that otherwise got much bluer last week.

In Niagara County, John McCain lost to Barack Obama by 357 votes, compared to George W. Bush, who in 2004 lost the county to Senator John Kerry by 461 votes. (You, too, can have fun playing with the NYT's map.)

Does this mean McCain is a better candidate than Bush? Obama a worse candidate than Kerry? Or nothing at all, because it is in no way statistically significant?

"We did what we could in terms of get out the vote, and McCain performed very well in our county and we were pleased with the results," said Henry Wojtaszek, chairman of the county Republican committee. Two candidates that won down the line, incumbent State Senator George Maziarz and Chris Lee, who defeated Alice Kryzan for an open congressional seat, also helped.

The other red spot is Montgomery County, which surrounds the City of Amsterdam on the Mohawk River. McCain actually beat Obama there (he carried two dozen around the state) by a margin of 1,836 votes. That's 63 votes less than Bush's margin of victory of Kerry, but the difference in percentage points for each candidate (McCain won by a 9.4 point margin, Bush by 8.9 points) appears to have been caused by an increase in the vote for third party candidates.