Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Reading the tea leaves of election results

In previous elections I've noticed an interesting thing if you look at per-county results. The main news results focus on per-state results for which state went "Red" versus "Blue" (aside: why is most of the world equating 'Red' with Communism and in the U.S. it's equated with Conservatives?). But what's more interesting is to look at the per-county results.

In previous years the split within a state was Republican=Rural, Democratic=Urban for most states. There were a few exceptions in previous years, but for the majority of states this rule seemed to work. Thus you can expect a couple things.. states with more rural than urban populations will vote Republican overall, and shifting demographics with more people moving to cities ought to represent a shift in voting population to favor Democratic candidates. Maybe. I suppose a rural Republican might still vote Republican even if they move to the big city, but that their children would no longer be rural. -- Alabams, won by McCain, with blue areas in Birmingham and Montgomery. The other blue is probably rural counties with heavy black population but I don't know enough about Alabama to tell. Telling is that some of those counties were 70-80% for Obama. - Alaska, Palin's home state, entirely red. Not a surprise. -- Arizona, McCain's home state, won by McCain. Phoenix went for McCain going against the pattern I suggested, but having visited Phoenix I found it to be a very conservative city. Tuscon is blue, and is a very different sort of city, if only because of the University presence. The other blue areas may be due to Native American leanings. -- California, unsurprisingly voted for Obama, even the conservative-leaning southern California counties voted for him. Here the rural/urban split is pretty strongly demonstrated but for a couple exceptions. The coastal counties all went for Obama, the ones north of San Francisco are famously full of liberal tree hugging hippies. Literally. -- Colorado, another surprising win for Obama. The Denver and Boulder region voted for Obama but so did many other areas, many of which showed very few votes implying they are rural counties. The Colorado Spring area is famously hardline fundamentalist Christians who are hardline Conservatives and of course those counties went for McCain. -- Connecticut, shows completely won by Obama. -- Delaware, won by Obama. It shows three counties, two for Obama, one for McCain. The Obama counties are in the North, the McCain in the South. The Northernmost part of Delaware is the most urban region. -- District of Columbia, went 93% for Obama. Woah. And I'm glad to see they can vote too. -- Florida, won by Obama. The Urban areas of Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa and Tallahassee are blue, the rest are red. -- Georgia, won by McCain. This state shows a very clear rural/urban split. There are a heck of a lot of rural counties in Georgia, most of whom voted for McCain. Atlanta unsurprisingly was won by Obama. -- Hawaii, Obama's home state, won completely by Obama. Enough said there. -- Idaho, won by McCain. With more right wing nutjobs per square mile (stereotype) and the largely rural nature of Idaho, it is no surprise for McCain to win and for the state to be so solidly red. -- Illinois, Obama's home, and the state he represents as Senator, won by Obama. It's pretty well split between red and blue counties, with the Chicagoland region solidly blue. There is a tendency for the blue counties to be more heavily populated. -- Indiana, won by Obama. I find this surprising since Indiana is so heavily rural. Indianapolis and the Gary Indiana regions both are heavily populated urban centers that voted for Obama, as did Evansville (for it's area it's urban). Also voting for Obama is the county containing the Univ of Indiana. -- Iowa, won by Obama. There are large swaths of blue counties. This is a rural state but for this sort of showing there must be a strong Democratic party in Iowa. e.g. why are the Democratic party Caucuses in Iowa so important? -- Kansas, won by McCain. Not only is there a lot of rural population in Kansas, this state is famously Conservative. The exceptions in Kansas were Kansas City, and the counties containing the Univ of Kansas and Kansas State Univ. This follows the urban=Democratic, and Univ=Democratic pattern. Johnson County is famously Republican though possibly being converted, and while it's an Urban county (suburban) it voted Republican. -- Kentucky, won by McCain. This state has a lot of deeply rural places. There are only a few blue counties. Owensboro is a secondary urban area, across the river from Evansville Indiana. Louisville and Lexington are the two main urban areas, and they voted for Obama. The Covington area is across from Cincinatti, and voted heavily for McCain. -- Louisiana, won by McCain. The blue counties are around New Orleans, and Baton Rouge. I don't know what's in Shreveport Louisana, but there's some population there and the county voted for Obama. -- Maine, almost completely won by Obama. One county in the middle voted for McCain and I notice the more northern counties that I believe are more rural had a closer to 50-50 vote. -- Maryland, won by Obama. The corridor between Washington and Baltimore is heavily populated, and voted heavily for Obama, while the rest of the state is very rural and voted for McCain. An exception is the county containing Annapolis which voted for McCain, unsurprising as not only is McCain a veteran, but from an old Navy family. Even so the vote in that county was very close. -- Massachusetts, won entirely by Obama. Overwhelming majorities here. -- Michigan, won by Obama. Maybe this is the effect of problems in the Car Industry which have heavily hit Michigan. Or maybe this is due to it being Michael Moore's home state, or maybe not. But most of Michigan's counties voted for Obama, even the rural ones. This state did not follow the expected rural=Republican pattern. -- Minnesota, won by Obama. This state has a lot of blue colored rural counties, also breaking the expected pattern. There's still no sign of where Lake Wobegon is, and it's unknown how they voted. -- Mississippi, won by McCain. There are a lot of rural counties and primarily the ones who voted for Obama are along the river, while the ones who voted for McCain are away from the river. The county containing Jackson is urban and voted for Obama. The coastal counties, hit by the hurricanes, and more heavily populated, voted for McCain. This state did not follow the pattern very well. -- Missouri, still undecided at this writing. It is largely red counties, and this is largely a rural state. Exceptions are the counties containing Kansas City (urban), Columbia (University) and St. Louis and environs (Urban). A couple exceptions are some rural counties south-west of St. Louis. This state is following the rural/urban/university pattern very well. -- Montana, birth state of Palin, and won by McCain. This state famously is almost as outrageously right wing radical as Idaho (or so the stereotype goes). There are many rural counties that voted 70-80% McCain so the state almost completely follows the rural/urban pattern. Except there aren't real urban areas in this state. Some exceptions are the counties that contain connection to the national parks (Glacier County), to Native American reservations (Rosebud County) and I suspect Roosevelt County might have a Democratic party connection going back a ways. -- Nebraska, won by McCain. Nevada is entirely a rural state except for Lincoln and Omaha, both of which voted for Obama. This state follows the pattern. -- Nevada, won by Obama. While most of Nevada is decidedly rural (desert) there are two heavily populated areas, that went for Obama. Las Vegas and Reno. This state follows the pattern. -- New Hampshire, won completely by Obama. While it appears this state is entirely rural, it is part of the Northeast. The Northeast went almost completely for Obama. -- New Jersey, won by Obama. This state has some famous urban areas, and some largely unknown rural areas. The rural southern counties went for Obama, except for Cape May county which voted for McCain. The urban counties across from Philadelphia and New York City voted for Obama as did most of the corridor in-between. Ocean and Monmouth counties, both fairly heavily populated, voted for McCain. The Northeast corner is rural and voted for McCain. Three counties are exceptions to the populated=Democratic pattern in that Morris County, Ocean and Monmouth counties voted for McCain, but I believe each of these three to have a lot of rich people in them. Morris County for example is the home of AT&T. This state does not follow the pattern very well. -- New Mexico, won by Obama. There are a lot of rural counties in this state, some of whom voted for Obama. Unsurprisingly he won in the Albuquerque-Santa Fe-Taos corridor. But some other rural counties outside this corridor were won by Obama. Supposedly the Native American vote came in heavily for Obama, and New Mexico is famous for its Native American population. -- New York, won by Obama. The state partially follows the rural/urban pattern, New York City, Rochester, Buffalo, Erie and Albany voted for Obama. However many rural counties in New York also voted for Obama. Staten Island voted for McCain going against the rural/urban pattern. -- North Carolina, undecided at this writing. A lot of rural counties in this state with a few Urban areas. The Raleigh/Durham (urban) and Charlotte (urban) areas voted for Obama. Most of the rest of this state is rural and voted for McCain, some exceptions are Greensboro (is this the home of Duke, making it a University area?) and a county in western N.C. which contains Ashland, a new age wacko enclave (or so the stereotype goes). But there are a few decidedly rural counties which voted for Obama. This state did not carefully follow the rural/urban pattern. -- North Dakota, won by McCain. This is largely a rural state and it's not clear what pattern there was to Obama or McCain winning a given county. -- Ohio, won by Obama, thank goodness. This is a rural state that has some heavily urban pockets, especially in the north. The northern corridor has been badly hit economically. There is a fairly clear rural/urban split in Ohio but with a few exceptions along the eastern portion of the state. -- Oklahoma, entirely won by McCain. This is another state that is chockablock full of radical right wing nutjobs (or so the stereotype goes). Not even the urban centers were leaning to Obama. -- Oregon, won by Obama. While there is a lot of rural areas in Oregon, that went largely for McCain, they are outweighed by the area around Portland which is chockablock full of tree hugging hippies. This state follows the rural/urban pattern very well. -- Pennsylvania, won by Obama. There are a lot of rural counties who voted for McCain, and some deeply urban centers who voted for Obama. Philadelphia (Urban), Harrisburg (urban), Pittsburg (urban) and Erie (Urban) all voted for Obama as did their environs. With only a couple exceptions the state followed the rural/urban pattern very well. -- Rhode Island, won entirely by Obama. It is deep in the Northeast, a region won entirely by Obama. -- South Carolina, won by McCain. This state did not follow the rural/urban pattern very well, in that a lot of rural counties voted for Obama. None of the urban areas voted for McCain so this part of the pattern works. -- South Dakota, won by McCain. It's unclear what the pattern of red/blue is in this state as it is almost entirely rural and had a mix of results. -- Tennessee, won by McCain. Almost entirely red and an almost entirely rural state. Nashville and Memphis voted for Obama so the state almost correctly follows the rural/urban pattern. However Chattanooga and Knoxville both voted for McCain. -- Texas, home to the Bushies and home to the Oil Industry. A lot of right wing nutjob rural counties are in this state (or so the stereotype goes) and for the most part it follows the rural/urban split. Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and El Paso all voted for Obama while most of the rest of the state (all rural) voted for McCain. However interestingly a swath of Texas that borders Mexico all voted for Obama. -- Utah, won by McCain. Home to the Mormon Church, a famously fundamentalistic organization. This state does not follow the rural/urban split, but that is no doubt due to the Mormon Church skewing things. -- Vermont, entirely won by Obama. Again the Northeast went totally for Obama even though it is very rural. -- Virgina, surprise win for Obama, the blue areas are in either urban or collegiate areas. Note that blue county in the south-west Virginia is Va Tech. -- Washington, won by Obama. The divide in Washington State is the Cascade mountains. West of the Cascades the counties were won by Obama, east of them the counties were won by McCain. -- West Virginia, won by McCain. This state is probably the poster child example of rural. The state is almost entirely voting for McCain except for a couple exceptions, most of which are unclear. One exception is in the north where the U of West Virginia is located, and another is in the far east portion that's pretty well disconnected from the majority of the state. W.V. has no real urban areas so it's hard to say what pattern it's following. -- Wisconson, won by Obama. Interestingly this state was won almost entirely by Obama. Most of it is rural and most of it was won by Obama, making this state one of the clear exceptions to the rural=Republican pattern. -- Wyoming, won by McCain, home state to Darth Cheney. It's an entirely rural state and voted almost completely for McCain. Exceptions are the counties which contain Laramie and the Grand Teton's National Park. Jackson Hole (Grand Tetons) is famously rich-liberal, and it may be that Laramie is home to a University. Otherwise there are a lot of gun-toting right wing nutjobs (or so the stereotype goes) and it's unsurprising they voted for McCain.

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