DemDaily: Red State, Blue State
Although the colors of Red for Republican, and Blue for Dems may be an automatic association for today's youngest generation of voters, the symbolism for each party is still relatively new.
The acceptance of "red state" and "blue state" as standard terminology is credited to the late Meet the Press host and journalist Tim Russert during his coverage of the 2000 presidential election.
His associated color scheme for mapping voter preferences by state (blue states for Al Gore and red states for George W. Bush) was adopted, for the first time, by all major broadcast television networks and media on election night.
The colors have subsequently expanded to represent liberal and conservative and, in more recent years, "purple state" to denote swing states or "battleground states" where both Democratic and Republican candidates receive strong support without an overwhelming majority of support for either party.
Sidenote: The Democratic Party unveiled its first official logo in September 2010, featuring a blue "D" inside a blue circle. The previous donkey logo had only been semi-official.