Monday, March 29, 2010

The same, but different: How McCain did

So we looked at the total situation, we looked at the Obama states, and now it is time to look at the McCain states.

Once again, we have an almost random-looking assortment of dots, that when properly examined, show the breadth and depth of American politics and demographics. And, as I've said on the last two posts, a few things can be deceptive about this diagram. For one thing, the big dense ball below the 20% mark on the left: mostly rural counties across the south and east. Again, some of this may be clearer when I break down by regions.

Other than that:

In states that McCain won, McCain did pretty good in most counties, as well. Which is a fairly intuitive result. However, above the 30% mark, the counties started to even out, and above 40%, Obama won more counties than McCain.

What is especially interesting to me is the counties above the 35% mark. On the left, they seem to mostly occur in the south: Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas. The two Kansas cases are somewhat nominal, since they occur pretty close to the line. On the right side, we have a few Southern middle class African-American counties (DeKalb, Fulton in Georgia), a few college counties (Clay in South Dakota, Boone in Missouri, Gallatin in Montana) and a few resort communities (Blaine in Idaho, also Gallatin in Montana). Oh, and also Travis County Texas, of course.

So, what this tells us is that while the demographics of the middle-class and upper-class south are still probably pretty Republican, those same groups of the mountain west and great plains may be becoming more liberal. Is the rest of the northwest following Oregon and Washington solidly into the Democratic camp? Will the south stay the south?

And to those questions, I don't have an answer.

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