Wednesday, February 16, 2005

One State Two State

CNN has an interesting interactive web site which contains a lot of graphic data concerning the elections last November. With it one can drill down to the county level and see what percentage of the voters chose what candidate in each county. The counties are color coded, from light red to dark red (dark being the strongest stiffie supporters), light blue to dark blue, white for neutral. and gradations of yellow for "other". What's remarkable is that as you look at the maps of each state (with the color coded counties) a pattern begins to emerge in almost all the states, whether "red" or "blue" (as usual, the media oversimplified this concept, making a bluey in a red state feel all alone, as if they should move).

The pattern that emerges is that in most instances, the closer you get to large population centers the more the shade moves toward blue. Even in some of the super-red states (such as Utah) the shade of red becomes much lighter as you get to the cities. Similarly, in the very blue states the shade becomes progressively more red as you move away from the major cities. (a great example is the state of New York, where 82% of voters in Manhatten chose Kerry, or Washington state, seen as a true blue state)

This consistant pattern invites all kinds of interpretations, such as the closer you move toward centers of culture, diversity, and learning the more open minded and tolerant folks are. Any others?

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