Blogs > Cliopatria > Refining the Red/Blue Model

Nov 4, 2004 4:55 pm

Refining the Red/Blue Model

USA Today has this map of the electoral results according to county (via Red Ted and Outside the Beltway). Initially, I would say that Democrats are not only more urban, but that they are highly clustered within urban networks. There are a number of blue splotches, such as along the Mississippi, that defy state boundaries, probably indicating a large conurbation. One oddity: not one county in Oklahoma preferred Kerry--I thought Native Americans would have given him a significant vote.

Update: Crooked Timber has many more maps that show more variation and detail. The red/blue map is stark, but the others are useful as well.

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Maarja Krusten - 11/4/2004

When I write, "When I read the New York Times today, I nodded and thought of Dave Livin[g]ston, a frequent HNN poster and a Vietnam vet and Bush supporter," my nodding refers to New Yorkers feeling isolated, not whom I or my friends voted for. In my circle of friends here in DC, some voted for Bush, some for Kerry. I understand both those who voted for Kerry and those who voted for Bush, we all talked a great deal about the choices and how we viewed them.

Also "implying we're not as patriotic or as "real" American and those who live in the heartland" should read "as 'real' American as those who live in the heartland." Sorry, I type too fast and don't always read before hitting submit.

Maarja Krusten - 11/4/2004

An article at describes the great divide in our nation as felt in New York: "Others spoke of a feeling of isolation from their fellow Americans, a sense that perhaps Middle America doesn't care as much about New York and its animating concerns as it seemed to in the weeks immediately after the attack on the World Trade Center.

'Everybody seems to hate us these days,' said Zito Joseph, a 63-year-old retired psychiatrist. 'None of the people who are likely to be hit by a terrorist attack voted for Bush. But the heartland people seemed to be saying, "We're not affected by it if there would be another terrorist attack."'"

When I read the New York Times today, I nodded and thought of Dave Livinston, a frequent HNN poster and a Vietnam vet and Bush supporter. I think he lives in Colorado. Dave wrote in a post on HNN about an editorial on the government's line of succession in the Colorado Springs newspaper. "If the entire line of succession in D.C. is killed off, decapitating the Federal gov't. So what? Because ours is not [in theory at least] a national gov't (Was it Hamilton who wanted to use the term national gov't instead of the term federal gov't in a certain circumstance, but was over-ruled?)

Our paper masde the point that if D.C. & all its parasites were wiped out in a single blow, so what? The states independently governed could simply call a Constitutional convention to re-establih the federal gov't. Not so?”

I live in the Washington, DC suburbs, and work in Washington as an official of the federal government. It was very sobering for me to realize that Dave, who describes himself as a member of the Christian Coalition, shrugs at the thought of DC and its "parasites" being wiped out in a terrorist attack. He wrote his comments not knowing me, but just the fact that I live in DC, and work for the government, was enough for him to shrug at my fellow federal workers being attacked. Other HNN readers also have made dismissive comments about those who live in cities, implying we're not as patriotic or as "real" American and those who live in the heartland.

Ever since 9/11, I had come to work each day, wearing a little US flag pin. I did it because I felt a strong sense of connection to my fellow citizens. And, of course, I've worn it to mark the victims of 9/11, some of whom died close to my home in Arlington, VA. Sometimes I've even worn the same American flag pin I first bought and wore during the 1970s to show my support for the troops fighting in Vietnam.

As we got closer to the election, and as I considered the disdain for DC and New York I've seen expressed in some HNN readers' postings, I've stopped wearing wearing my flag pin. I'm afraid wearing it will stereotype me somehow as a rigid intolerant thinker in some peoples' eyes. Isn't that sad? I wore that pin all through the turbulent Vietnam War years, when I stood firmly for Richard Nixon's policies. And again after 9/11 until October 2004. Now, thanks to HNN's posters, such as Dave Livingston out in Colorado, my post 9/11 illusions of national solidarity, at least as far as the war on terror is concerned, have been shattered. As hard as it was for me to face, and it took some time to sink in, I've come to accept the fact that there are those among my fellow citizens who stereotype me, maybe even hate me, just for where I live and what they perceive me to think, even though I have voted Republican many more times than Democrat since I cast my first vote in 1972. (I now am an Independent, someone who doesn't fit neatly into either party.)

For more along these lines, see my comment on the 1960s thread at

Richard Henry Morgan - 11/4/2004

As far as I can tell, the Osage Reservation falls within Osage County, which includes Bartlesville, Ponca City, and a good part of north Tulsa. Custer's revenge, I imagine -- I think they are swamped by non-natives.

Nathanael D. Robinson - 11/4/2004

Identity? Well, perhaps. I keep looking at the map, wondering whether any of these places have changes in the last four years. As far as I can tell, this is still the America that Clinton left. We are a country of big, open, Republican spaces and corridors of Democratic civilization.

Jonathan Dresner - 11/4/2004

Wait, I take it back: there's a distinct thinning of blue states in the south: Arkansas, Tennessee, etc. Zell Miller defections, I guess.

Jonathan Dresner - 11/4/2004

I'm looking at the maps over at USAToday, flipping back and forth between the 2004 and 2000 maps: I can't find any counties which switched. I can't find any counties which switched. I can't find any counties which switched.

I CAN'T FIND ANY COUNTIES WHICH SWITCHED. Can we say polarized? Can we say Electoral College Reform?

I'd really love to see a map broken down by House District....

Jonathan Dresner - 11/4/2004

Indeed it is. Complicates everything, in fact.

Jonathan T. Reynolds - 11/4/2004

That's very enlightening. Thanks!