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In american politics, it's urban vs. rural

It's amazing what you can learn with a good map. The standard map of red and blue states suggests that the U.S. is politically divided between the coasts and the interior, or between the north and the south.

These geographic divisions don't, however, explain my own experience. For example, I can go to almost any rural part of Oregon or Colorado, both of which are "blue" states, and starve before I find anyone who voted for Barack Obama. What gives? We may be only 200 miles from Denver, but it feels as if (politically speaking) we're in Alabama.

Fortunately for us, Mark Newman of the University of Michigan gives us better maps:

What's striking about Newman's maps is how divided we are between urban and rural areas, with urbanites going Democratic and rural voters preferring the Republican. The really exceptional areas of the country are the backwoods regions of Wisconsin and New England, and the big cities in Texas. Pretty much everywhere else, the urban/blue, rural/red divisions hold up.


Did you see his map by counties? We're really mostly a nation of purple - I like that.

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