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November 05, 2004


Rudbeckia Hirta

To me, the blue streaks across the south look like they follow I-20 and I-85. A significant fraction of the blue appears to be on major transportation routes.

Jeff Erickson

But then why THOSE interstates and not (for example) I-10 or I-40 or I-70?


am working on it. have been doing it since last night. will be up shortly. unfortunately the results will not be satisfying: county-by-county cartograms are rather ugly no matter how you draw them.


In NC, I-85 passes through or near the "big" cities: the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill), the Piedmond/Triad (Winston-Salem, Greensboro) and Charlotte. People in urban settings to vote democrat. I-85 also happens to merge with I-40 for 100 or so miles from Durham to Greensboro which covers most of the "urban" areas in NC. That might explain the whole I-85 instead of I-40 thing. What I find odd is that Asheville went republican. By my unscientific observations, it didn't seem like they liked Bush so much.


All I know about the American South is from Mark Twain, so when I saw the blue belt around the Mississippi, I immediately thought that this must be the black vote (which went for 90% to Kerry).

A quick check with Alabama seems to confirm this: Counties that voted for Kerry are (http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/vote2004/PresidentialByCounty.aspx?oi=P&rti=G&sp=AL&tf=l )
Bullock, Dallas, Green, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Montgomery, Perry, Russel, Sumter, and Wilcox.

US Census data for these counties (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/01/01011.html ) show a Black or African population percentage of 73%, 63%, 80%, 59%, 73%, 84%, 48%, 68%, 40%, 73%, and 71%. The Alabama average is 26%, and it would appear that indeed the magnitude of the vote for Kerry reflects these percentages (landslide victory in Macon (80% Black), by a few votes only in Russel (40% Black)).

I dare say that race is an even better predictor than population density (gender also seems to be a good predictor, but surprisingly gender appears to be rather uniformly distributed over the country, with the exception of Alaska).


You can play the game of "find the isolated but influential college town". I found at least three:

Champaign co. IL (UIUC)
Thompkins co. NY (Cornell)
Bloomington, IN (Indiana U.)

Is that Athens, GA (U. Georgia)?

Christopher Busta-Peck

The blue streak across Alabama and Mississippi is the cotton belt, which has an extrememly high African-American population. There is also a very strong correlation between this data and the map showing percentage of families living below the poverty level.

In Texas, we see Austin (with the University of Texas) in blue, as well as the areas with high Hispanic populations, along the Rio Grande.

The blue county on Ohio's southeast border is Athens county, home to Ohio University.

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