Reading this post and being inspired by the question: What is this line of counties voting for the Democratic party in the 2016 elections (the region labeled in the green color), we may wonder what are the common/combined/mixed factors of the following regions circled in the yellow, the purple-pink, and the blue regions that have majority voting for Democratic party in the 2016 election?

Are those regions simply occupied by big crowded cities or metropolitan areas? Or there are some other factors? (Great Lakes regions, near Mexico, near universities/colleges, west-coast blue regions, etc.)

a map of the USA, coloured by political preferences

  • The map you're using comes from a screenshot I took while the results were still coming in. The counties in white had no results yet and the light colors only had preliminary counts. This map or that one would be much better.
    – isanae
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 6:41
  • To be clear, some of the regions you're asking about are non-existent.
    – isanae
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 17:06

2 Answers 2


Some are regionally different:

  • New England
  • Coastal California

Some are urban areas surrounded by urbanized and/or high-education suburbs:

  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • Baltimore/Washington, D.C.
  • Seattle, WA
  • Portland, OR
  • Kansas City, KS and MO
  • Detroit, MI
  • Chicago, IL
  • Etc.

Some are just cities themselves:

  • Dallas, Houston, and Austin, TX (blue counties in a sea of red)
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Cleveland and Columbus, OH
  • Etc.

Some are Hispanic:

  • Southern California (and yes, this overlaps with coastal California)
  • Nevada (parts)
  • Southern Arizona
  • New Mexico
  • Texas border with Mexico
  • Colorado (parts)
  • Some Miami suburbs and neighborhoods

Some are African-American:

  • Mississippi river area
  • Appalachian foothills (Mississippi to Virginia)

As discussed in the other question, there are really three areas in the green: African-American, urban, New England.

That's also true of the other areas. Seattle, WA, coastal California, and Southern Arizona are all in the blue but have different reasons. Some of the yellow is just cities, while other parts are Hispanic and the Northern portions have their own basis. Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah have relatively small populations, so relatively small enclaves of Democratic voters can swing a county. In the pink, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin are primarily Democrat in cities. But Minnesota and Iowa have more rural areas.

The one semi-constant is population. Even in places like Wyoming, it's the urban areas that vote Democrat. The difference in Wyoming is that a large town or small city may make up most of the population of the area. In sort of medium populated areas like Pennsylvania, Kansas, or Louisiana, such small urban areas are outweighed by the rural population. It's only the larger cities that show up as blue counties.

Minorities were more likely to vote for Clinton. Higher educated people were more likely to vote for Clinton. But both tend to clump in or near cities. It's only a few other areas where they make a real difference.

Women were also more likely to vote for Clinton but are spread out much the same as men. Not useful for explaining trends in counties or map regions.

  • 2
    The sole bright blue county in Dakota is a Native American reservation. It appears Native Americans even more overwhelmingly vote Democrat than African-Americans, Hispanics, or Asians.
    – gerrit
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 11:45
  • @gerrit see also the county in north east WI (a reservation)
    – user1530
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 15:01
  • Also the north Arizona county includes at least two reservations.
    – Brythan
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 20:00

If you combined America's richest and poorest counties and overlay the two, you have a fair representation of the concentration of Democratic voters. The top 20 richest and top 20 poorest counties overwhelmingly represent the totality of the Democratic vote. In a real sense Democratic elected representatives are no longer much elected by the Middle Class in the United States.

  • Interesting analysis. A subsequent question would be why this is the case, but that is a very broad sociological question. I read an extract from Arlie Hochschilds book Strangers in Their Own Land that made me curious to read the entire book, but in a broader sense George Orwell already addresses the question in The Road to Wigan Pier, where he analyses why the lower middle classes won't ally with the lower classes, and the analysis is strikingly similar to Hochschilds. Interesting and relevant matter.
    – gerrit
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 12:22
  • The question that's going to keep you up at night is: does the Democratic upper class have a vested interest in keeping it's own base poor.
    – user9790
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 12:31
  • 2
    It may; historically some revolutionary leftist parties have opposed marginal improvements for the poorest because it would reduce the likelihood of a revolution. Likewise, one can wonder if the Republican Party has a vested interest in keeping people poorly educated when poorly educated are more likely to vote Republican. But even so, the Democratic Party should also have an interest in reaching out to precarious lower middle classes who consider their enemy is the Federal Government rather than big corporations, even where it may be unclear if that is objectively the case.
    – gerrit
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 13:10
  • 2
    it's simply that they are urban areas...which also contain plenty of middle class.
    – user1530
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 23:16

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