So ... <ahem>
<hesitates, clears throat>
So, every once in a while ...
Well, anyway. Remember this? I quoted a whole bunch of conversation with fbaezer and then went on forever like this:
OK, I bring this up because apart from the "purple" maps, the below might be an interesting graph in that context. It's on the webpage Soz got her "warped-by-population-ratio" electoral maps of red and blue states and counties from: Maps and cartograms of 2004 US presidential election results
The webpage in question notes the fact that while the overall percentage for the Republican and Democrat presidential candidates each roughly approaches half the vote, there are many more counties in which the Republican won. Timber just said here that it's 82% of 'em, in fact. How does that work? Well, one obvious reason is that a few highly populated counties voting Dem can balance out a lot of sparsely populated counties voting Republican. [..] But, the webpage says, that's not all. There is also the fact that there is a number of counties where almost everyone
votes Democratic - and less than 10% Republican. There are however very few counties where the opposite holds true:
As an example, leaving out for the moment voters who voted for third-party candidates, the number of counties in the US in which more than 99% of voters voted Republican was five (out of 4533). The number of counties in which more than 99% of voters voted Democrat was 307.
And you need only, say, 4 counties where 95% of the voters is Democrat to counterweigh 18 counties where 60% of the voters is Republican.
This is their bar graph on that and the accompanying explanation: <snip>
here is a bar chart of the numbers of counties, nationwide, that voted each possible way [..] (Technically, not all the data points are counties -- some states, notably Maine, report by township rather than by county.)
The results show an interesting effect. There is a large "bump" of counties centered a little above 50%, where people voted roughly half-and-half for the two candidates, although with a slight bias in favor of the Republican candidate. And then there is a big "spike" on the left of the plot, representing counties where, to an excellent approximation, no one voted Republican. It appears that there are, as the pundits have been telling us, "two Americas," but they are not the ones people usually talk about. They are "divided America," where people split roughly evenly between Republican and Democrat, and "decided America," where everyone is a Democrat. The Democrats of "decided America" number about 5.9 million, or 11% of all Democratic voters. These people are unlikely ever even to encounter a Republican voter in their home town.
Now there's two points to make here, and both should actually be slightly worrisome
to the Dems.
First, in the "divided America," as they call it, people do not actually "split roughly evenly between Republican and Democrat" - that seems a bit of a wishful projection. One could say that this "bump" more or less in the middle of the graph is that mythical "mainstream America" everyone now talks about. And it doesn't quite
split evenly - the "bias in favor of the Republican candidate" seems more than "slight". Basically, the top of this "bump" correlates to 48-62% Republican voters. That's not quite "roughly half-and-half".
Second, this is counterweighed by the "spike" they note on the very left - those 300 counties where everyone votes Democrat. But that does not necessarily bode well for the party. Democrats who "are unlikely ever even to encounter a Republican voter in their home town" are also rather unlikely to have gained a reasonably realistic assessment of or feeling for what that above-mentioned mainstream thinks or feels. Their sense of normality lines up with what in this bar clearly shows up as an anomaly on a national level.
Now, before I confirm Foxfyre all too much in what she's been saying - <grins> - the producers of the graph do emphasise that it's still only 11% of all Democrats who live in such Republican-free zones. But their voice in the party might be influential, and the perspective they bring might be highly unsuited for what now needs to be done: formulating new strategies on mobilising an American majority.
(One sidenote on that pessimistic warning. When I say the above, I am thinking - and you probably are too - of Dean-type Vermont liberals. But could it also simply be that many of those 300 counties where everybody votes Democrat are African-American areas?)
OK, so on another thread, I was just sternly telling someone how aggravating it was when people cited all kinds of analyses or opinions without actually checking the data. Ehm, yeah.
Well, the above webpage was off-line for a coupla days just now - thats why the cute maps Soz had posted and the graph I'd included in this post suddenly turned into little red crosses.
OK, so its back online now. With Soz's revealing, meaningful maps. But without the graph that was in the above post.
And without any of the accompanying analysis that I quoted in it.
It does, however, have this ominous remark at the top of the page that says:
[Correction: The figures for numbers of counties voting Rep/Dem were off because of a bug in one of our programs. We've fixed this and corrected the text below. Thanks to K. Drum and others for pointing this out. (All the actual maps are perfectly fine however.)]
So, err, you know - well, basically, I'm just kinda warning y'all here that, well, all these here theorifications in the post above - it might well all just be horseshit.
It actually most probably is.
That is to say, I tried now after all to find any of those over 300 counties that supposedly had over 90% Democrats ... (hell, over 99% is what the webpage had said) ... and I couldnae find any.
Not Manhattan or the Bronx.
Nothing in Vermont.
Not San Fransisco.
They probably dont exist ...
So, err, what do you folks think - what does it say about all of us - or about the image of the Democratic Party [he said in a desperate attempt to spread the blame] that we all instantly believed that, yes, 11% of Democrats did live in counties that were 90+% Democrat?