Friday, November 07, 2008

VESTIGIAL REPTILE BRAIN: GOP red matter, boundaries determined by science!


Now ubiquitous voter trend map, illuminating compression/isolation of the GOP hard case to places you don't really wanna go. This can't be good for tourism.

Snapshot taken from Krugman here.

Reptile brain -- here.

Also visible on this map, as per yesterday's chat, is the anomaly in southwestern Pennsylvania. Your host noted the McCain margin was so small as to be almost unnoticeable. However, still it exists -- like a bit of metastatic cancer resistant to all therapeutic strategies.

Why?

Drilling down, in Fayette, Beaver and Washington counties there was a slight loss in total voters between 2004 and 2008: 229,037 -- down from 233,427 in 2004. Odd, at a time when the election showed record turnouts.

One explanation: People left for greener pastures or died, and they tended -- perhaps -- to be Democrats rather than Republicans.

Another possibility, an antagonizing one, is that parts of two of these counties are in Jack Murtha's congressional district. And perhaps some voters simply objected to him calling them racists and rednecks on top of Barack Obama's bitter Pennsy voter remark and were looking for some payback. Was it two too many affronts?

If so, it was a voter example of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.

Or did some really believe the conspiracy nonsense about Obama bankrupting the coal industry on the next to last day before the election?

Or perhaps it was something else, still unnoticed.

Yesterday, DD also noted that his birthplace, dire and grim Schuylkill County, held the Republican line between 2004 and 2008. (55-45 in 2004, 54-45 in 2008.)

Schuylkill also lost a noticeable chunk of voters at a time of record turnout. This year's turnout was four percent LESS than 2004's.

Your host will take a small leap and chalk it up to exodus. If you could leave Schuylkill County for a job or life in a kindlier part of the state in the last four years, you did. And you were probably a Democrat.



As an example of how Schuylkill County is a place of loyalist hard cases, voters re-elected a much loved, but recently dead, man for the state's senate on Tuesday.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Chuck Eddy said...

Hey George -- Frank Kogan speculates on his Live Journal blog that the weird Republicanward shift in the Appalachians and Ozarks might be attributable to young people moving out of those areas in recent years and (unlike so many similar places that young working class whites have abandoned) few Hispanics moving in to replace them, thus pushing up the mean age of voters left to vote:

http://koganbot.livejournal.com/86800.html

But a friend of mine who runs a record store in Philly, but grew up outside Pittsburgh in Murtha country, visited here the afternoon of the election (just a few hours before results started coming in), and was worried that people he'd grown up with would get into the voting booth and, against their obvious best interests, find they just couldn't vote for a black guy. If that really happened, maybe the (now basically discredited) Bradley Effect myth wasn't quite so mythological in the corner of Pennsylvania that borders on West Virginia. I do like your revenge-against-Murtha theory, though: Even bitter old racists don't like to be *told* their bitter old racists.

1:22 PM  
Blogger George Smith said...

I read Frank's post and one supposes you can't underestimate a "falling behind" effect being of benefit to the GOP. I'm making the assumption that the Apps and Ozarks are among the poorest and least educated places in the country. And it's also held tight in the grip of religious fundamentalism.

And that their world view is primarily shaped by Fox News on TV and, since they lack broadband, at best -- e-mail chain-letter gossip and poverty case right-wing news sites like Drudge, NewsMax and World Net Daily.

And that makes the voting demographic vulnerable to continuous frauds. So all the wild conspiracy theories about government on Barack Obama not only because their audience never gets contaminated by any pushback but also find an audience already receptive to the idiot's message: Democrats are traitors, they're not your kind of people, they're closet Marxists. And just look at all those homos in San Francisco; they want to make your kid into a homo, too.

On the other hand, you see the tech centers, where everyone has access to sophisticated media and broadband -- these were basically immune to story the GOP was trying to tell. They're always bright blue.

I guess you can line that up with the rotten and un-PC smear that the current GOP is a party tailor-made for the stupid or those not well off enough to make themselves not-stupid.

If the GOP ever figures out that proudly dumb and common are not assets in their culture war when everyone is getting a cold dose of economic reality ...

2:01 PM  
Blogger Frank Kogan said...

Well, one thing to remember is that red on that map doesn't necessarily mean "voted for McCain" and in a lot of instances blue certainly doesn't mean "voted for Obama." Red means "McCain '08 had larger percentage than Bush '04" and blue means "Obama '08 had larger percentage than Kerry '04." So you have a few counties in Massachusetts that are red, not necessarily because of voting for McCain but rather voting more for Kerry in '04 than Obama '08. Given that it looks like Obama will end up with about 5% more than Kerry, and McCain with about 4% less than Bush (third party candidates did a bit worse in %) it's not surprising that most of the map is blue. What the map shows is that Appalachia is going against the general trend. But most of it still supported McCain significantly less than Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming did (rural counties in Utah were almost all in the 70+% for McCain, with one even in the 80s, while only two counties in Pennsylvania were in the 70s, and those two actually show up blue on your map (meaning Kerry did even worse there than Obama); the red in the southwest corner of PA is for counties that actually were quite close, but where Kerry did better than Obama.

5:08 AM  
Blogger George Smith said...

Here's a digest of some stuff from a newspaper of the religious fundamentalists. The first bit is authored by Chuck Colson.

Over the last few days, I have been besieged with calls from Christian friends in deep despair over the election. I understand the feeling. The President-elect, along with his newly strengthened allies in Congress, opposes almost every pro-life and pro-family position conservative Evangelicals and conservative Catholics have fought for so hard.

The election was tough in another way, as well. We lost some good friends in Congress. I think particularly of Robin Hayes, an outstanding Christian Congressman from North Carolina. And Marilyn Musgrove from Colorado, who courageously led the initiative for the marriage amendment and was targeted by gay activists, who spent $14 million dollars to defeat her.

original here

Exit polls show that 74 percent of white evangelicals or born-again Christians voted for Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain and 24 percent voted for Sen. Barack Obama, according to CNN. Twenty-six percent of American voters described themselves as evangelical or born-again Christians.

original here

Southern Baptists remain unalterably committed to the protection of unborn human life. The vast majority of Southern Baptists believe that a pre-born baby is a distinct human life, according to both science and the Bible (Ps. 51:5; Ps. 139-13-16; Jer. 1:5; Luke 1:41). The euphemism of “choice” or “reproductive freedom” cannot disguise or justify killing a baby. Government has a proper role in protecting lives, including the lives of the unborn. Southern Baptists, by national resolutions, have opposed abortion on demand, and have called for public policies which severely restrict abortion and which promote alternatives such as adoption

original here

The barrier-crossing election of Barack Obama did little to bridge the deep racial divide in American churches. In fact, some clergy say it has only served to underscore their differences.

While nonwhite Christians voted overwhelmingly for Obama, most white Christians backed John McCain, according to exit polls. Several black clergy said that criticism of Obama by some white Christians over his religious beliefs and support for abortion rights crossed the line, hurting longtime efforts to reconcile their communities

original here

I have to confess, even at its mildest, almost all of this stuff gives me a rash. When I read someone saying they're going to pray for the president, I get the impression what they really mean is they're praying for the president to God so that God might be persuaded to smite the president or compell him to their way of thinking. I don't get any charitable vibe.

8:07 AM  
Blogger Mikeeee said...

The popular vote was spread only 6.5%

That isn't the Obama mandate you're describing. Your map is skewed by the electoral college. Here are some real maps for you to visualize how this country really voted: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/2008/

7:43 AM  
Blogger Mikeeee said...

I came to your blog after reading your review of Thomas Friedman's book on The Register. This post has driven me away, though. Regards.

7:46 AM  

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