A New 10 Regions of American Politics Map

A group called MassINC created a map called the “10 Regions in American Politics” in 2004 and has now released an updated version.  Some of the regions such as the “Upper Coasts” and “El Norte” are the same, although some other regions have been shuffled around.  The area called “Appalachia” in the 2004 report, for example, seems to have been expanded westward and renamed “Cumberland.”

Michael Barone had an interesting blog post about the map a few days ago and analyzed how well both of the Democratic candidates are performing in each region:

“[Robert David Sullivan of the Concord Monitor] has calculated the number and percentages for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in primaries and caucuses in each of his 10 regions…. He notes that Clinton has been ‘cleaning up’ in counties where Bush improved his percentage most between 2000 and 2004 and that Obama has been running strongest in areas where Bush’s percentage was lower in 2004 than in 2000. The reason is that Clinton has been running well in areas with many white ethnics, Jacksonians and Latinos—the groups among which… Bush most improved his percentage in 2004. And Obama has been running strongest among blacks and upscale whites, groups which tended not to give Bush higher percentages in 2004 than in 2000.

“Curiously, Obama is carrying only three of Sullivan’s 10 regions: Mega-Chicago, South Coast, and Southern Inland….The highest percentage for either candidate is Clinton’s 55 percent in El Norte.”

For the record, I love studying these maps, but I don’t think they are worth much when analyzing demographic or political trends. They do too much pigeonholing, grouping towns like Miami with ones like Colorado Springs.  I’m not sure how much folks in Warrenton, Va. think they share in common with people is Sarasota, Fla.

2008 Version of the Ten Regions of American Politics

2008 Version of the Ten Regions of American Politics

2004 Version of the Ten Regions of American Politics

2004 Ten Regions of American Politics


2 responses to “A New 10 Regions of American Politics Map

  1. A link to this post will be in the April 2, 2008 issue of Regional Community Development News. It will be on-line April 3 at http://regional-communities.blogspot.com/ Please visit, check the tools and consider a link. Tom

  2. I agree–these types of maps are interesting but not all that informative for analyzing electoral trends. I like looking at them for what they say about the author’s view of America’s cultural landscape, but they are far too simplistic to be of any real predictive value.

    One obvious flaw in both of these maps is placing all of the inland western and central states in the same category. Even a brief look at recent political trends should tell one that some of those states have stayed solidly Republican over the past four years (Idaho and Utah), while others have moved far in the Democrat-direction. Colorado state politics have shifted heavily leftward, Montana has a Democratic governor, and both Dakotas and the plains states will be in play in the upcoming election. I suspect Idaho and Utah’s resistance to this leftward trend stems from their high numbers of Mormons, a staunchly conservative group.

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