The electoral map from 2012

First, I want to thank for doing this work for me. Go read the commentary and the reader comments there, then come back and let’s discuss this thing.

I’m going to repost two of the maps below so that we can continue our discussion without flipping back and forth. I’ll source them.

The counties map is from

The link above has a 2008 map, and links to 2000 and 2004 if you feel like losing a whole day on this stuff.

Next, I’ll include this map from Michigan Professor Mark Newman because it really counts.

Cool. Huh? Yes, that’s why Obama won. The population centers are blue. The population centers get more electoral votes. Game over.

To expand: The population centers are also those most likely to be dependent upon federal government support for those living in poverty there and it’s self-fulfilling vote arrangement that the party who gives more money away gets more votes in return. Also, those population centers are likely to have immigrants, including illegal, who either flat out vote (I know, they aren’t supposed to do so.) or influence a vote.

First, let me send a virtual high five to my home state of Oklahoma. I still can not explain to my mom why an Oklahoman Republican is really everyone else’s moderate Democrat in a way that convinces her, but I’ll try briefly for you one more time:

An Oklahoma Republican is a Reagan Democrat. The state crossed over about 1980 and never looked back. Combine that with a growing need to capitalize on the state’s oil reserves, and it’s going to be red for a some time to come as long as the GOP advocates for a self-provided U. S. energy policy.

So back to the maps. Plain state succession anyone? The row from North Dakota to Texas would divide the country and usurp a good chunk of U. S. energy production.

There’s always this east coast/west coast thing. I think this is the first time I noticed the blue that congregates around the Mississippi River. Would you guess that to be union influence from manufacturing jobs where the river was important to production?

(The rest of this post is about to go very politically uncorrect. You’ve been warned.)

Colorado and New Mexico are stoned. The West Coast from Big Sur north is gay. (I know, that was a gross generalization, but yeah. The policies in those areas really lean towards gay “rights.” For when human rights aren’t enough.) Much of what borders Mexico is dealing with immigration stuff again, but interestingly enough, Arizona and Texas stay red in the electoral map.

I think the GOP needs to build an immigration plan from the leadership of Arizona, Texas, and to some extent Florida. Those states are red (or reddish) and those states deal with the issue every single day. Let them lead the GOP policy.

I also think there’s a strong argument as to why some immigration enforcement should be a state’s rights issue. Same with all those issues regarding sex, from marriage to abortion. What’s so wrong with letting states determine their own social moral structure and allowing folks to congregate accordingly? Colorado just legalized marijuana. (I never, ever spell that word without sounding out mari-ju-ana.) You tell me Colorado college applications aren’t going to outpace past performance.

(Moving into downright crazy here, no martini involved. It’s all me this time.)

The Northeast is mostly blue. Of course, so are their toes right now, as they still don’t have power from the hurricane and it’s snowing from another Nor’easter. I half expect the Big One to hit California in the next few weeks. Every once in a while I let myself slide into the idea that what we are witnessing is biblical. And, it makes me wonder what’s in store for the Great Lakes region, which stays rather blue, too.

One place I don’t understand: Does anyone get that horizontal stripe of blue from mid-Alabama through Mississipi and Georgia, and up South Carolina and North Carolina on the counties map? More automotive? Most of those are right-to-work states, right? Help me out.

Oh, unless you happened to just write me off. Give me a little break you guys. You know this is why you keep reading. 🙂


  1. The blue areas in the Southeast have very large black populations.

  2. The population centers are also those most likely to be dependent upon federal government support for those living in poverty there and it’s self-fulfilling vote arrangement that the party who gives more money away gets more votes in return.
    This has long-ago been proven false; the most dependent areas of the country are by far the rural ones, especially in the South, where votes for Republicans are strongest.

    See, for example, here:

    Or for a Foxified version, here:

    Rural populations are almost as likely to be poor as populations in urban centers:

    And poverty is lowest, as a percent of population, in the Democratic Midwest and Northeast.

    Plus don’t get me started on farm subsidies.

  3. Does that explain the blue streak across the Southern states I asked about? (Oops. Just read Ryan’s comment, so maybe.)

    We’d probably agree on farm subsidies, Folkbum.

    And thanks for the time you took to respond. I’ll go read the links. If I’ve missed the facts, I always want to know.

  4. Folkbum:

    The Mother Jones article, though written in 2011, uses 2005 data. Eh. Maybe not current enough to pass my test.

    The Fox article includes defense spending. I was leaning more towards entitlement spending with my argument.

    It looks like the 3rd link actually supports my argument a bit.

  5. Like you, I feel the lower map is a better representation of the vote.

    That blue streak across the south also contains some larger cities and universities. Beginning in NC the Research Triangle (which I can’t believe Wikipedia didn’t reference)–Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro (Duke, Wake Forest, UNC), then down to Charlotte, Columbia and Charleston, SC, Atlanta the blip in NW GA, Macon and Athens (UGA), Montgomery and Birmingham, AL, Jackson, MS and along the Mississippi in MS is heavily black. FWIW.

    Poverty is usually measured in raw dollar amounts. The cost of living is lower in the south with correspondingly lower wages, therefore more people are below that number. The NE has a higher cost of living and higher wages, so not as many below that number.

    I would guess in an equal comparison there wouldn’t be much difference, but that’s just a guess.

  6. J. Strupp says:

    “I think this is the first time I noticed the blue that congregates around the Mississippi River.”

    The Illinois, Iowa stretch of the Mississippi is strong union territory. It stems from the John Deere/Int’l Harvester days. I have a lot of family there and union affiliation is an institution to a lot of families.

  7. @folkbum, the Mother Jones analysis is skewed (no surprise) because it doesn’t take into account that large swaths of the West are owned directly by the federal government. That denies the states a proper tax base, and so those states are dependent upon federal subsidies.

    You are right about farm subsidies, though. States like Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Maine are heavily dependent upon them. I don’t recall which candidate those states supported.

  8. Not counting defense spending is a bad idea. After all, as Cindy said, “the party who gives more money away gets more votes in return.”

  9. @Dean. I like your concept of raw dollars. We forget that stuff very easily.

  10. The streak of Blue in the southeast is counties that are home to super-majorities of blacks. But that’s only half of the story. Overlay a map of the most fertile farmland that was used to cultivate cotton and you’ll find it lines up almost identically to this band. Just read a really interesting article about it actually. The black population is high because the slave population was high and they stuck around for decades afterwards.

    And Cindy, the claim that blue states rely on more federal government support is a lie. It isn’t true. It’s been proven time and time again. Your refutations are all on technicality.

  11. So the blue stripe is a large block of rural poor black voters.

    Lorax, you say it’s a lie, but you can’t refute it. And you claim my arguments aren’t valid because they are technically correct. (Read that again. I meant it.)

    I think our discussion on the subject of population areas (my claim, not states) and federal government support will have to parse the definition of that support first. I concede I did not clarify the subject initially, but claim now that I would never include defense spending in that number and only intended entitlement support.

  12. Romney embraced Arizona’s leadership on immigration. How’d that work out?

    The ‘Wrath of God’ stuff is awesome. Are you sure the two of you are on the same wavelength? What if the message God was sending with Sandy had to do with global warming?

    And I’m pretty sure God was sending a message in the Missouri and Indiana Senate races. She doesn’t like idiots.

  13. Jimmy, I didn’t advocate to advance one plan. I said it might be a good idea to let the Republican states most intimate with immigration and border control help craft the GOP policies on that subject, not one candidate’s stance.

  14. Randy in Richmond says:

    What exactly in Arizona’s leadership did Romney “embrace” during the campaign?

    And you’re right that Missouri and Indiana had 2 idiots running as Republicans. Romney won both red states with 54% of the vote–which of the 2 idiots were elected in either red state with a majority of Republicans?

    And the Democrats elected who to represent them in Florida’s 9th District? Alan Grayson

  15. Jim Jones says:

    Randy, I take it back. Sort of.

    Romney was steadfast and resolute in his waffling on whether he supported the Arizona immigration law that Hispanics detested. He only backed it in a backdoor way, saying he fully supported the right of states to pass legislation detested by Hispanics.

    Either way, letting the states lead in that case didn’t work out for him.

  16. “Jimmy, I didn’t advocate to advance one plan. I said it might be a good idea to let the Republican states most intimate with immigration and border control help craft the GOP policies on that subject, not one candidate’s stance.”

    This is about as logical as allowing our most 12 populous states to establish our nation’s farm policy, since they buy over half of the food.

  17. @RS It’s probably more logical to allowing the farm states to set farm policy, since they are most intimate with it…which is kinda what happens now…

    I think the GOP should rethink immigration as has been happening the last few years. Maybe they should even rethink affirmative action…

    Yeah, I’ve gone off the deep end…But as I said on Twitter, the GOP only lost by 2%…It’s not like we have to go overboard…

  18. The welfare/minority argument is oversimplified and biased towards a negative view of dems . Obama won via a coalition. Dems tend to also be more educated, younger — these populations aggregate in population centers; these are the homes of the universities – heavy liberal influence. Take Seattle & Minneapolis – not poor cities, but full of young, educated people. Madison, WI – one of the most liberal and well-off – solid Dems. Add to this that the Red South has the poorest population and the least education, and the “welfare” argument doesn’t hold water.

  19. Oh wow. I love it when strangers tell me I’m stupid because I vote Republican. Always rocks my world. 😉

  20. it’s a trend of course, it doesn’t speak to every individual. And as I said, Obama won through a coalition, so not just one trait is in play.

    check out this article if you doubt the point.

  21. “..the GOP only lost by 2%…It’s not like we have to go overboard…”

    No. But they’ve also lost 5 of the last 6 popular votes. I’d say that might be cause for alarm if you’re a Republican.

  22. Not as Liberal as I Seem says:

    I want to correct something in your article. You spoke about the high population centers = more people on benefits because of poverty. Incorrect. Red states are all are much higher in government benefit recipients.

  23. Not as Liberal as I Seem says:

    oops , someone already said that. 🙂 obstruct on! 😉 kidding.

  24. deaninwaukesha says:

    Losing 5 of the last 6 popular votes is certainly cause for some concern. I didn’t say we shouldn’t change, but the GOP doesn’t have to become the Democrats. Tweak the message, look at ways we can reach out to blacks, hispanics and women. Don’t nominate the Akins, Mourdocks and even the Bachmanns…

    There are things we can do without sending our platform through the wood chipper…

  25. Lorax, you are starting sound like an idiot. That article is about the growth of the use of food stamps in Republican counties – the increment of change, the delta. If the numbers in a county moved from 1 person to 2, that’s 100% increase, and something you choose to champion.

    I’ve read the article twice and see nothing about the total enrolled, as was the original discussion.

    MORE THAN 16 MILLION have been added to the roll in the last four years. How odd you defend that as news to celebrate.

  26. Strupp, there was a period in history where Dems had lost in a similar way. Cycles happen.

  27. Randy in Richmond says:

    It’s logical that the growth in Food Stamp use would be among the middle class. These are the workers that have lost their jobs and/or are now working for less wages (ie part-time) than 3 years ago. Those in poverty and in the lower incomes were already signed up. Many on Social Security also qualify. Romney’s statement on this was politically stupid. While there is abuse and fraud this program cost relatively little and actually benefits many needy Americans. It’s growth is no reason to celebrate and reflects the huge growth in real un and under – employment during the Obama years. Romney probably lost (combined with not gaining) millions of votes with his stance here.

  28. Randy, unemployment has been dropping steadily under Obama. But I’ll bet you already knew that.

  29. And, unlike his predecessor, the unemployment rate has steadily dropped while hemorrhaging public sector jobs at all levels of government at the same time:

    (Sorry Fed. data is not showing in link above. Should show U.S. public sector jobs have dropped by over 400,000 since 2008).

  30. Party on. I’m sure those without employment are ever so glad that you recognize minutia unemployment rate changes that rely upon people dropping out of the work force and adding places past a decimal point.

    Hey Strupp, I’m cranky today. Can you tell?

  31. Randy in Richmond says:

    I referred to the real number of un and under employed – not the rate. I stand by that statement.

  32. Randy in Richmond says:

    I think it’s a great thing that total government employment is down. And it’s down significantly.

    But not because of President Obama’s policies. Remember his experts predicted unemployment would currently be about 5.6% if the Stimulus was passed. That was Obama’s promise and goal. If that were the case all levels of government would be fatter and many of those employees not laid off, not replaced, allowed to retire, etc.

    The loss of private sector jobs to the extent that government revenues have dropped significantly, along with plummeting real estate values with the same result, and we have a fall-off in government jobs. Is one supposed to believe the goal of the Obama economic policy was to lower real estate values and remove millions of private and public employees from the working rolls?

  33. Randy,

    Total empolyment:

    You are correct, there was a big slide as Obama took office. Think the prior occupant had anything to do with that?

    I realize that you’re a man of faith and that this is a religious topic for you. So I won’t take it any further than to say the numbers are very clear that the economy is improving under Obama.

    But be careful about mixing faith and politics. Really wanting to believe something is not a good plan for making it so.

  34. FYI – Here’s a link to a way to check average income someone left on Facebook: