After having done the great plains, I reach my 4th region: Texas.
Yes, Texas gets to be a region all by itself. Popular belief (especially amongst Texans) would have it that Texas is unique amongst the states, and it is not an unfounded belief. Because Texas has some very urban areas, some very rural areas, some very Hispanic areas, and has aspects of being both a Southern, a Great Plains, and a Western state, as well as the fact that it has lots and lots of counties, I decided to put it in a category of its own.
Texas has some of the patterns we know and (love), but has some patterns of its own. We have a lot of counties in the lower right that are strongly minority (most of which are Hispanic, but I think some African-American counties along the TX/LA border might be there too). We have a lot of rural, white, conservative counties in the lower left. We have some conservative suburban counties in the upper left. And we have our single "college town" county, Travis (home of Austin and the University of Texas) in the upper right.
One thing that is interesting is that while the conservative suburban counties in the upper left are slightly less conservative than the conservative rural counties in the lower left, they are still, compared to many other areas of the country, pretty conservative. In California, Orange County slipped through with a 2 point margin for McCain. Here, we have many counties over the 30 mark with big margins.
Second thing to notice: notice how close Dallas (Dallas), Bexar (San Antonio) and Harris (Houston) are to each other. These aren't the best educated counties in Texas, but they are three of the biggest. So it looks like the big urban areas are moving to the Democratic column, but I suspect that has to do with minority population: their better educated suburbs are still more conservative than them. Tarrant and Hays, which are both suburban counties, with good college rates, seem to be following the liberal pattern, though.
Also, notice in the bottom, there is a big hole in the middle. Low education counties in Texas are strongly conservative (if they are White) or strongly liberal (if they are Hispanic), but none of them seem to be contested.
I think the bottom line in Texas is that while the Black and Hispanic vote make it somewhat competitive, a state where the well-educated suburbs are still strongly conservative is fated to be conservative for a while longer.