By BECKY McKENDRY
Capital News Service
LANSING — Although Barack Obama won Michigan with about 53 percent of the vote, many counties shifted towards the Republican Party compared to the 2008 presidential election. Analysts often determine party preference by analyzing state Board of Education results. Because citizens tend to know less about those candidates, votes are often based on party label, indicating the voters’ own leanings. Distinctly Democratic and Republican counties can be defined as those where more than 52 percent voted for their respective parties’ Board of Education nominees. By that measure, there were 21 distinctly Democratic counties in 2008.