Thursday, April 1, 2010

Education and the elections by region: The Great Plains

Since I have already done the mountain/Pacific Northwest states previously, I am skipping to the next region: the Great Plains. The Great Plains, which constitutes North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, is the smallest region in terms of population that I will be looking at. But I feel that it is indeed a unique region, because unlike the Western States, which tend to have geographically larger counties, the counties in this area tend to be smaller, and have no barriers between them. Thus, there are much fewer places where counties have distinctive demographies. This is also the case in the Midwest, but unlike in the Midwest, the Great Plains has fewer enclaves that are either ethnically diverse or home to manufacturing. Thus, it makes sense to treat the Great Plains as a region.
The Great Plains region is also, electorally speaking, not very diverse or interesting.
As with other regions, the lower right corner is composed of ethnic communities, which in this region are all Native American. Otherwise, there is a big clump of counties between -80 and 0, and between 10 and 20, and then a smattering of counties running upwards, and ever so slightly to the right, above the 20 mark. However, there is on the face of it very little tie between college education and voting patterns. However, this is another place where the population difference of counties makes a big difference. Douglas County, Nebraska, has 1/4th of the population of Nebraska, making it just as important for Nebraska as Los Angeles County is for California. Douglas County, Nebraska also contains an entire congressional district, and under Nebraska's almost-unique system of giving electoral votes, was Obama's sole electoral vote in this region.

From the information here, I can't see if there is a trend, and how much of a trend there is, between education and voting patterns in the Great Plains.

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