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Old 08-08-2014, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee
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Twin Cities, I don't know - it's sort of the region between the northwoods and the Driftless, but not in either. I always think of it as more connected to the northwoods/lake culture than Driftless (I could be wrong), just like all the people in Milwaukee/Chicago enamored with the northwoods vs. the arguably prettier (but less "recreationally" oriented) Driftless. It takes about as long to reach the Driftless from Milwaukee burbs as it does Minneapolis (or within a half hour difference), which is a lot closer than the northwoods for Milwaukee. I'd say Madison/Rochester/Dubuque/La Crosse (maybe: Eau Claire/Winona) are sort of the main influences/influenced by the Driftless.

Again, I feel that the areas south of the Driftless along the Mississippi are more influenced by the Quad Cities and manufacturing (as well as the Mississippi being a cultural pathway - BBQ, fried catfish and other trad southern items are quite common in Wisconsin along the river, and this perhaps is a cultural deal travelling south along it) and the Central IA areas are more about a fairly liberal and influential biggest regional city.
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Old 08-08-2014, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis
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In geological terms the Driftless Area goes through St Paul and ends at Fort Snelling but doesn't include Minneapolis. Goodhue County (Red Wing) is part of the Driftless but tends to vote Republican because it is a Twin Cities exurban area which overrides the Driftless effect.
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Old 08-08-2014, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drewcifer View Post
In geological terms the Driftless Area goes through St Paul and ends at Fort Snelling but doesn't include Minneapolis. Goodhue County (Red Wing) is part of the Driftless but tends to vote Republican because it is a Twin Cities exurban area which overrides the Driftless effect.
Just not seeing this, either in Driftless geological reports or in terms of geographical features. It's about 40 minutes from St Paul and much further from Minny. I'm probably exaggerating Milw suburb to Driftless a bit I guess - it's a little over an hour. But still, I think the point stands. I don't believe the Twin Cities are really part of the region itself. This is neither a positive nor a negative.

It would be hard to have a large metro right in the Driftless due to topography, and that's why there isn't a large metro in the Driftless. The closest for a city enveloped by the region is probably La Crosse, which is built on a large valley/plain that extends underneath the bluffs along the Mississippi in that stretch:





Same with Dubuque:
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Old 08-08-2014, 10:32 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Excluding those, blue rural counties are really only found in four parts of the country. The Upper Midwest, as you noted, with some outlier counties all the way into the Dakotas. New England, of course. Another is the rural West Coast north of the Bay Area to Seattle. Not the whole thing mind you - Southwestern Oregon is pretty right-wing. But you'll find rural Democratic areas all the way from Mendocino up to San Juan Islands. The final is some rural counties in central Colorado - I think this is the "ski vote" - but I'm not entirely sure.
Also, a lot of upstate NY, particularly the central and eastern parts. But it might be considered a transition between rural New England and the more "typical" rural America such as Pennsylvania or Ohio. Note hilly areas of Pennsylvania vote mostly Republican. And the Republican voting parts of upstate NY rarely vote by huge margins (> 60%), again like the Upper Midwest.
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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To show my point about the fundamental moderate nature of the upper midwest, here's a red/blue county map which colors every county that went less than 60% Obama/Romney as purple. As you can see, virtually every county in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Northern Illinois falls into this range. In contrast, the lower Midwest (Ohio, Indiana, Southern/Central Illinois, and Missouri) have deeply Republican rural areas. If it wasn't for Obama's home-state advantage in Illinois, and the huge effort that went into swinging voters in Ohio, the pattern would likely appear even more stark. The pattern even spreads a bit further west - the eastern half of the Dakotas are fairly moderate, but there are few moderate areas in Nebraska or Kansas.

The interesting thing is this pattern very closely aligns with settlement patterns going back to the 19th century. Areas which are blue to purple today were mostly settled by "Yankees" - New Englanders who traveled west through Upstate New York, and after the establishment of the Erie Canal settled the entire Great Lakes littoral and the Upper Midwest more generally. In contrast, the southern Midwest was settled by "Midlanders" - a mixture of people coming from Pennsylvania and upland southerners who traveled down the Ohio. The area was thus a mix between South and North, and politically speaking, people today there tend to be more conservative than "Yankees" but less so than white southerners generally are.

While partisan alignment has of course changed over this period, it is true that in general the "Midland" has generally always been more of a swing region, where Yankeedom and the South have aligned along separate poles.
Attached Thumbnails
The Liberal Upper Mississippi Valley - anywhere similar?-moderate.png  
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Milwaukee
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
While partisan alignment has of course changed over this period, it is true that in general the "Midland" has generally always been more of a swing region, where Yankeedom and the South have aligned along separate poles.
Other than that Vermont region block, it looks virtually identical in NE vs. Upper Midwest (MN/WI/IA/MI) to me.
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Old 08-08-2014, 01:46 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheese plate View Post
Other than that Vermont region block, it looks virtually identical in NE vs. Upper Midwest (MN/WI/IA/MI) to me.
It basically is. New England and Upstate NY have more 55% Democratic counties, and the Upper Midwest has more 55% Republican ones, but this is a minor difference. I mean, it makes a big difference in terms of who gets elected (as in modern terms either is mostly considered "safe" territory for the respective parties), but in terms of the average person in the region, both have more in common with each other than they do with San Francisco or the Texas Panhandle respectively.
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Old 08-08-2014, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Milwaukee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
It basically is. New England and Upstate NY have more 55% Democratic counties, and the Upper Midwest has more 55% Republican ones, but this is a minor difference. I mean, it makes a big difference in terms of who gets elected (as in modern terms either is mostly considered "safe" territory for the respective parties), but in terms of the average person in the region, both have more in common with each other than they do with San Francisco or the Texas Panhandle respectively.
Gotcha - I enjoyed the further breakdown, by the way
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Old 08-09-2014, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheese plate View Post
Twin Cities, I don't know - it's sort of the region between the northwoods and the Driftless, but not in either. I always think of it as more connected to the northwoods/lake culture than Driftless (I could be wrong), just like all the people in Milwaukee/Chicago enamored with the northwoods vs. the arguably prettier (but less "recreationally" oriented) Driftless. It takes about as long to reach the Driftless from Milwaukee burbs as it does Minneapolis (or within a half hour difference), which is a lot closer than the northwoods for Milwaukee. I'd say Madison/Rochester/Dubuque/La Crosse (maybe: Eau Claire/Winona) are sort of the main influences/influenced by the Driftless.

Again, I feel that the areas south of the Driftless along the Mississippi are more influenced by the Quad Cities and manufacturing (as well as the Mississippi being a cultural pathway - BBQ, fried catfish and other trad southern items are quite common in Wisconsin along the river, and this perhaps is a cultural deal travelling south along it) and the Central IA areas are more about a fairly liberal and influential biggest regional city.
Why does it matter if the Twin Cities is in the Driftless or not for it to be included in this conversation? Des Moines is obviously not in the Driftless and it's part of the region highlighted by OP. The Driftless is just part of the Upper Midwest; so are the Northwoods and the Iron Range and the North Shore and the UP and the northeast Great Plains and so on.


Quote:
Just not seeing this, either in Driftless geological reports or in terms of geographical features. It's about 40 minutes from St Paul and much further from Minny. I'm probably exaggerating Milw suburb to Driftless a bit I guess - it's a little over an hour. But still, I think the point stands. I don't believe the Twin Cities are really part of the region itself. This is neither a positive nor a negative.
I mean I'm sorry it doesn't seem that way to you, but... you're kind of arguing against a geological fact here. Nowhere in the Twin Cities region is a grand as La Crosse or Dubuque, but the boundaries of the Driftless extend to Fort Snelling... the end. I don't know what to tell you. Most of TC is as close to more dramatic bluff country as Denver is to the Rockies. The Wisconsin city you should be comparing it to is Madison, not Milwaukee.
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Old 08-09-2014, 09:55 PM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
4,461 posts, read 7,528,125 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Also, a lot of upstate NY, particularly the central and eastern parts. But it might be considered a transition between rural New England and the more "typical" rural America such as Pennsylvania or Ohio. Note hilly areas of Pennsylvania vote mostly Republican. And the Republican voting parts of upstate NY rarely vote by huge margins (> 60%), again like the Upper Midwest.
LOL. I'd challenge you to find a significant portion of Pennsylvania that isn't hilly.

To the OP, this is very interesting. I think the region you've pointed out is definitely unique in terms of a truly bonafide RURAL interior section of the US that has a pretty significant Democratic voting-streak (the other rural areas of the US with Democratic voting patterns, IMO, are not comparable due to pretty different racial demographics [Hispanics/American Indians in the interior West and the 'Black Belt' of the Deep South], have more urban centers/college towns, or are essentially tourist areas with an influx of more liberal urban refugees, as they're much closer to highly-populated coastal areas [e.g., Vermont, Upstate NY and Coastal Oregon/Northern California]).

Last edited by Duderino; 08-09-2014 at 10:06 PM..
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