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Sorry, more american politics musings. - Sally's Journal
November 6th, 2004
11:05 am

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Sorry, more american politics musings.
I'm confused by all the people shouting "A physically divided America" and waving big maps around. I mean, on the surface it looks very convincing, lots of red states in the middle and blue states around the edge, but if you actually look at the results for those blue states, it's (lets ignore DC for a moment) commonly 50-mumble / 40-mumble, and I can't find (although this is a random LJ musing from a half remembered Guardian article, and I couldn't be bothered to look at all of them, so I'm sure you pedants could if you really wanted to) anywhere it's more than 65 / 35.

So although America does seem to be divided, it's not as nice a neat geographical thing as would be easy. If you drew those lines in the sand to make the 3 USAs, you'd be forcing the wrong rule on, *almost half the people who vote there*, not a small minority of Republicans / Democrats who live in the wrong place. It's far more mixed up than people have been ranting about.

Of course, on a smaller scale it becomes much clearer cut between the cities and the country (I think, but being an uneducated english type I'm not very clear about where the cities are, and the CNN maps don't seem to think this need pointing out), but even then... well, take New York. There's a nice bright blue New England "bastillion of sense" and yet... doesn't look so blue at that scale, does it? I mean 40% of the vote was for Bush! Even educated Massachusetts, (well, they have *a* Cambridge uni, or two) bluest of the blue even at that scale, was over a third of the votes for Bush. It swings both ways, over a third of texans voted for Kerry.

So while the maps look pretty, and it makes for some good gags (the hurricane one springs to mind, and is at least more accurate than the split the USA into three countries idea) it's wrong. Just plain wrong. So don't kid yourselves that there are lots of stupid americans in the middle, and sensible people round the edge. Because it's all a lot more mixed up that that.

See, writing not very interesting stuff about America has stopped me having to chronical my own life. It was foundation dinner last night. Much good wine was drunk. Once again I talked drunkenly to Julia Gog and Dr Inglis, but I think I only embarresed myself this time. Talked to Tore, and it was great to actually get to know him. He's far more interesting than "the quiet engineer who I sometimes see with Graham". But then I suppose more people are more interesting than I give them credit for. Rhian was there unexpectedly, which was wonderful, but the seating plan kept us apart (they'd sat me with the *engineers* instead of the mathmos, for chrissake). And I was drunk and flirted with Rob, which seems to be becoming a tradition at these things. We ran round college together in a very mission-impossible-esque way, the heel fell off my shoe, and we saw bits of the fitzpatrick hall that I doubt even it knows exists. Much to the annoyance of the guy selling tickets to the bop, who was very irate at us for crashing his pathetic little hip hop night, but had to stop chasing us when we got to doors we could open and he couldn't :-D However, I fear he had his revenge as when we tried to leave the secret room deep in the heart of the fitzpat all the lights had been turned out - and there don't seem to be any light switches down there. At least that's what Rob told me ;-) Lots of groping for walls and each other and following tape... and giggling and running past the irate ticket seller again in the other direction, clutching my broken shoe, and my rather low flying dress and laughing my head off....

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[User Picture]
From:filecoreinuse
Date:November 6th, 2004 04:23 am (UTC)
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You could look at this map of results broken down by county. The height of the bar represents the margin AFAIK.

http://www.esri.com/industries/elections/graphics/results2004_lg.jpg
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From:the_marquis
Date:November 7th, 2004 04:58 am (UTC)
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Hmm, that makes for a simplistic divison of big cities = democrat.
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From:cjwatson
Date:November 6th, 2004 04:57 am (UTC)
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If you drew those lines in the sand to make the 3 USAs, you'd be forcing the wrong rule on, *almost half the people who vote there*


Ah, just like 1920s Ireland then :-)
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From:senji
Date:November 6th, 2004 05:22 am (UTC)
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And my, was that a case of fucking up by the numbers.
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From:megaleena
Date:November 6th, 2004 05:45 am (UTC)
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Hmm. I think I'll leave the political musings to others and comment on your Mission: Impossible (but only for irate ticket seller) - sounds like you had fun :)
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From:ceb
Date:November 6th, 2004 06:26 am (UTC)
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You might be interested to see this less extreme map:
http://bigpicture.typepad.com/writing/2004/11/purple_america.html
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From:atreic
Date:November 6th, 2004 06:30 am (UTC)
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Ah yes. That does in one picture what four paragraphs of my wibble tried to do. Maybe one picture *is* worth a thousand words...
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From:arnhem
Date:November 6th, 2004 10:24 am (UTC)
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and takes about 38 times as many bytes ...
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From:arnhem
Date:November 7th, 2004 05:14 am (UTC)
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Argh. This has clearly been nagging my subconscious, because I suddenly realised it's more like 6 times as many ...
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From:atreic
Date:November 7th, 2004 05:27 am (UTC)
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You really *are* procrastinating, you know... :-)
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From:flats
Date:November 6th, 2004 10:41 am (UTC)
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was just about to suggest purple as a sensible means of illustrating all this; nice that someone's drawn the pictures for me!
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From:olithered
Date:November 7th, 2004 02:00 am (UTC)
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I totally agree!

See here for another map (county by county results).

What's most interesting is that the map from 2000 is so very similar.
From:mtbc100
Date:November 8th, 2004 07:06 pm (UTC)
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Excellent site - thanks.
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