Monthly Archives: February 2008

Texas Demographic Primer: Who Will Jerry Jones Vote For?

My first-hand knowledge of Texas is pretty slim. I know I hate the Cowboys and loved “No Country for Old Men.” The extent of my time in Texas consists of a few hours at the Bennigan’s bar at the Dallas airport during a layover.

But from what I’ve read, Texas seems to be a booming state with a vast pool of a cheap labor and a diversifying economy. Its population surged 84 percent between 1965 and 1997 and it surpassed New York as the second most-populous state in the mid-1990’s. Texas is also slated to add another four congressional seats after the 2010 reapportionment, which is more than any other state.

But the state also seems to be in a political and economic ebb. The exurban sprawl around Dallas has stalled thanks to widespread home foreclosures, and Texas’ clout in Washington is the lowest its been in decades. The AP reported in January:

“For much of the 20th century, Texans also held power positions in congressional and executive branch. Before [George W.] Bush, [Lyndon] Johnson and his father George H.W. Bush held the White House. Johnson and the elder Bush had also served as vice president and in Congress.

“Texans Sam Rayburn, Jim Wright and Dick Armey were majority leaders in the House, followed by Tom DeLay. At mid-century, some half a dozen committee chairmanships belonged to Texans.”

In anticipation of Texas’ March 4 primacaucus, the New York Times produced a comprehensive primer of the state’s demographics. Asking “Will Obama’s Momentum Dent Clinton’s Dominance Among Latinos and Rural Voters,” the paper analyzed where the candidates can expect to do well.

In doing so, the Times defines and explains the many regions in the Lone Star State from “the frontier-conservative Texas of Amarillo, in the Panhandle” to the “vast, immigrant-heavy Texas of Houston.”

One new fact I learned was that “Congress decided in 1845, the year [Texas] joined the Union, might well be later divided into four more states should it consent.” Times reporter Randy Kennedy adds that the “provision stemmed from the debate over slavery, but it was an acknowledgement of the state’s unwieldy size and stark geographical differences.”

In his 1981 book “The Nine Nations of North America,Joel Garreau envisioned Texas as a crossroads between three civilizations. He argued that the lands of “MexAmerica,” “The Breakbasket” and “Dixie” all converge in the Lone Star State.

Speaking about Texas, Garreau once told a panel:

“One of the most interesting triangles in the continent [is] the one between Dallas-Fort Worth in the north, Houston in the southeast, and San Antonio to the west. These three are among the 10 largest cities in America. And there is a great battle going on for who is going to be the dominating influence in this triangle.

“San Antonio is clearly MexAmerica. This is a majority Hispanic town…. Dallas-Fort Worth has some of the charm so that you could marginally consider it Dixie, but it also has this cheerful arrogance that marks it to a certain extent Breadbasket.

“And there is Houston, where you have the Dixie influence in that there is still a very large black minority…. And of course you also have the Hispanic influence. And so these three nations – the Breadbasket, Dixie, and are warring over this important triangle. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure who is winning.”

Times reporter Kennedy divides the state in smaller subsets, noting that Texas is “separated in 20 media markets, the most of any state of the county.”

Any way you slice it, Texas has some of the best (TexMex food) and the worst (the Cowboys) to offer the country, and it’s gotta be a hell of a tough time to campaign there.

Texas Demographics (New York Times)

Texas Demographics

Nine Nations of North America

Nine Nations of North America

Religion in Texas (The Association of Religion Data Archives h/t Jonathan Martin) Martin: “The brigher the shade of red the more Southern Baptist congregations (naturally metro Houston and Dallas have more in pure numbers).”

Religion in Texas

2004 Texas Electoral Map (

2004 Texas Electoral Map

National Media Markets (Wikipedia)

National Media Markets

Dallas-Fort Worth Media Market

Dallas-Fort Worth Media Market



Electoral Map Daily Compass: NASCAR Dads for Hillary

In today’s must-read, The New Republic‘s Jonathan Chait looks at the Clintons new-found disdain for latte liberals — the same Silicon Valley and Fairfield County Democrats that they so thoroughly wooed in Bill’s second term. Here’s an excerpt:

“Clinton’s embrace of working-class chic has been a way of making virtue out of necessity. Being the blue-collar candidate has enabled Clinton to portray herself as grittier and more real than Obama, and to suggest that her base is more authentically American than his. During the Bush era, conservatives endlessly gloated that their party consisted of salt-of-the-earth, beer- swilling, NASCAR-loving Real Americans while Democrats represented Starbucks- drinking cosmopolitan snobs. Clinton’s campaign has inherited this cultural mythology.”

In other electoral map news:

  • Vermont’s the latest state to consider awarding its Electoral College votes to whomever wins the national popular vote. [Burlington Free Press]
  • “Obamacans” — disillusioned Republicans who support Obama — could tip the Texas primary. [Austin American-Statesmen]
  • Chris Cillizza channels Tom Schaller and is the latest to cast doubts on Obama’s red state appeal. [The Fix]
  • Waldo Jaquith chronicles the rise and fall of the Republican Party of Virginia. [Waldo Jaquith]
  • Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) tell a GOP crowd that “Virginia is a purple state.” [Mason Conservative]
  • The history of cartograms, which is the process of skewing geographic areas to fit data sets. [Making Maps, h/t The Map Room]
  • Lastly, Strange Maps shows us Thomas Jefferson’s plan for the Northwest Territories. If this map was approved, what would the electoral map look like today? All other things equal, which states would be blue and which ones red?

Jefferson’s Plan for the Territories

Jefferson’s Plan for the Territories

Electoral Map Daily Compass: Hillary’s Alamo

The Electoral Map‘s must-read for the day is this fascinating Washington Post article “Obama’s Red-State Prospects Unclear.” Here’s an excerpt:

“The red states where [Obama] has won have tended to be in the Deep South, where victories were based on overwhelming support from African Americans, or in mostly white states in the Midwest and West, where he relied on a core of ardent backers to carry him in caucuses, which favor candidates with enthusiastic supporters. He has not fared as well in areas that fall in between, with populations that are racially diverse but lack a black population large enough to boost Obama to victory.”

In other electoral map news:

Lastly, Bill Clinton told ABC News’ Rick Klein and Sarah Amos, “If she wins Texas and Ohio I think she will be the nominee. If you don’t deliver for her, I don’t think she can be.” With that in mind, Burnt Orange Report has a phenomenally detailed breakdown of Texas’ demographics.

A blogger named MattTX, who runs a site called, separates Texas into eight regions: Austin, Border/South, Hill Country-Central, East-Central, East, Houston-Galveston, North Texas and West Texas. He predicts that Barack Obama will win Austin, Houston-Galveston and North Texas, while Hillary Clinton will take Border/South, Hill Country-Central, East-Central, East and West Texas.

Texas Demographics

Texas Demographics

Texas Projections

Electoral Map Quote of the Day

From The Hotline‘s John Mercurio:

“In perhaps the most striking contrast to recent campaigns, Obama and McCain are poised to redraw the electoral map. Polls show McCain is currently competitive in traditionally blue states like New York, New Jersey and California — where Gov. (Defense Secretary?) Arnold Schwarzenegger is a bigger-than-life supporter. Obama, meanwhile, could generate unprecedented turnout among black voters in Southern states. (The unknown here is whether Obama’s presence on the ballot stirs a white voter backlash. It didn’t in the Democratic primary.) Such a dynamic wouldn’t just change the colors on the map; it would change the contours of the campaign and the issues the candidates debate.”

Open Left: Maps in “37 states, 160 nations, and 1749 counties”

An Open Left blogger named “dreaminonempty” is up with a diary with a handful of Obama v. Clinton maps, including county-by-county results, resized cartographs and global maps of Democrats abroad.

Here’s one of my favorites:

Democrats County-by-County (Open Left)

Democrats County-by-County

It’s Pronouned “Mill-e-wah-kEY”

Jay O’Callaghan, who runs the interesting and informative Yahoo! group ElectionWatcher2008, points us to these two fascinating Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel electoral maps:

According to the Journal-Sentinel:

  • Barack Obama won 12 of Milwaukee’s 15 aldermanic districts.
  • Obama “had a strong showing” in predominantly African-American districts.
  • Obama and Hillary Clinton split the 8th and 12th Districts, “which have sizable Hispanic populations.”
  • Clinton received over 55% in the “mostly white blue-collar” 11th and 13th.

Milwaukee Democratic Electoral Map

Milwaukee Democratic Electoral Map

On the Republicans, the Journal-Sentinel noted:

  • John McCain won 13 of the 15 aldermanic districts.
  • McCain’s biggest win came in the 4th.

Milwaukee Republican Electoral Map

Milwaukee Republican Electoral Map

Electoral Map Daily Compass: Beers and Brats Edition

Rocky Mountain Way

  • Barry Goldwater’s state is trending blue. [Reid Wilson]
  • McCain has a strong hand in the Rocky Mountain West. [Washington Post]

Here in Youngstown

Applebee’s America

Caucus Mountains

  • Obama piled up delegates by winning small states with caucuses. [National Journal]