I think I've already made my explanations about statistics, politics and my overwhelming drive to make pretty pictures. Also, to do endless data entry. Seriously, looking through census data and then entering it into a spreadsheet is my idea of a fun time.
So the fruits of all of this is a look at three statistics in two states, and how the correlated with the outcome of the 2008 election. The two states are Maryland and Colorado, which are alike (and different) in several ways. Colorado and Maryland are both very well educated, but have pockets of rural areas that are less well educated. One of the major differences between them is that Maryland has a large amount of African-Americans, while Colorado is more ethnically homogeneous.
First, lets look at Maryland:
This is an interesting graph, (compounded with the fact that I didn't properly label it: that is Baltimore City, not Baltimore County). Unlike some of the Western states I looked at (such as Oregon), there is a trend line towards high school graduation rates and Obama's margin. Not a very strong trend line, and even weaker because of Baltimore City.
But much as with other states, and with the country as a whole, college rates seem to be a much better guide to election outcome. However, as with many other trends we have seen, there seems to be several things going on here.
Although previously I have plotted this same thing nationally, and found no correlation, in Maryland it seems to have a much bigger effect. However, much as with the above graph, I think I am looking at a combination of different things. The "True" trend line could go through Prince George and Baltimore City, with Montgomery County an outlier, or it could go through Montgomery, with the two on the top right outliers.
And to avoid hitting you with too much all at once... I will do Colorado tomorrow.