Friday, November 14, 2014

How Purple Was My Country

Everyone talks about how polarized we are as a country these days. But just how polarized are we?

Also, how does that shake out geographically? We all have a pretty general idea that some parts of the country are more red or blue than others. But what does that look like exactly?

Now, there are plenty of ways to answer these questions, but one I thought might have some real value is simply to add the voting numbers up per state, from top to bottom, as follows:

  • How a state voted in the last presidential election (red or blue)
  • The state’s US senate delegation (red, blue, or even)
  • The state’s US representatives (majority red, blue, or even)
  • The state’s governor (red or blue)
  • The state senate (majority red, blue, or even)
  • The state house of representatives (majority red, blue, or even)

That gives us a scale of 6 on the far red side and 6 on the far blue side, with everyone else somewhere else on the spectrum.

So, how did the country shake out?

2014, Pre-Midterm Election

Well, let’s first take a look at all of the states at once:

Yup, that’s pretty polarized. 

I’ll bet you’re wondering, though, where those extreme blues and reds actually are (as well as who those two totally neutral states might be). Well, here you go:

A couple of notes:

  • Red means Republican
  • Blue means Democratic
  • The darker the color, the stronger the tendency

So, here’s what I’m seeing:

  • The South and the Northeast are the most partisan areas of the country. The colors are the exact opposites, but the polarization is exactly the same as back in the Civil War
  • The Left Coast is pretty darn blue.
  • The rest of the country is rather Republican, but with some real holdouts (Illinois, Minnesota, Colorado, New Mexico).
  • If you want to go to someplace that is truly non-partisan, try Virginia or Iowa.

When I have some time, I’ll try some other years – as well as what it looks like after the mid-term election.