Dixie Land Looks Away

September 21, 2009
Posted by Jay Livingston

“What’s with Mississippi? Is that, like, some other country?” a student once asked. She had been looking at data on the 50 states and noticed that on several of the variables, Mississippi ranked at the extreme.

I suppresed my Nina Simone bit, saying merely something like, “Well it’s not too different from some of the other Southern states.

But is the South, like, some other country?

Research on the US often splits the Region variable into two categories – South and nonSouth, and with good reason. It works.

Here’s a graph by Stephen Benen at Washington Monthly The data are from a recent Daily Kos poll, so it’s possible that the numbers tilt toward the Democrats. But that would not affect the differences among regions.

Joshua Tucker at The Monkey Cage reprints the graph and adds, “if I saw this type of regional distribution of support for a political party in a country like Slovakia, I would assume the party represented an ethnic minority.”

Among the citizens, the GOP may be the functional equivalent of an ethnic minority party. But it’s minority party with national power far beyond its electoral appeal. For starters, it effectively has veto power over national legislation, it controls the Supreme Court, it represents powerful economic interests, and it runs an entire TV network.

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