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View Poll Results: Which Midwestern states feels the most Western?
Minnesota 1 2.08%
North Dakota 2 4.17%
South Dakota 34 70.83%
Nebraska 8 16.67%
Kansas 3 6.25%
Voters: 48. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-19-2015, 10:33 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee
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Wisconsin is half forested. Minnesota is 28% forested. It's a big state, and people think/relate to the large northern forest (and the half-forested driftless chunk along the Wisconsin border), but the reality is that most of MN is farms and plains. And as the above map shows (the rain one, not the forest one below), the land transitions from wet (eastern end) to Plains-dry (western end) as you move across the state. It's clearly Midwestern to me, but it's also a transition to the Plains/West. Doesn't belong on the poll, though.

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Old 05-19-2015, 10:49 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Well, part of the reason southern Minnesota is so de-forested is because of intense farming rather than climate. However, down to Illinois was tallgrass prairie pre-European settlement, but climatologically it can support trees. Native American burning and ungulate grazing kept the tall grass prairie stable.
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Old 05-19-2015, 10:52 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee
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No, actually, close to half of Minnesota was prairie: Natural history of Minnesota - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 05-19-2015, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee
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But yes, farmers changed biomes. In this case, however, western MN was always prairie-land.
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Old 05-19-2015, 10:56 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katarina Witt View Post
^^Minnesota is very midwestern. Lots of churchgoers, while Portland and Seattle are among the most unchurched cities in the country. Just one example.
One other point, not really relevant to answering the poll question. Where Minnesota is religious, it's partially evangelical in a way that's not found in the Northeast. The most observant Christians in much of the Northeast are Roman Catholic, not evangelical protestant [it's either mainline or roman Catholic here]. You could get moderate conservatives in say both upstate and downstate NY, but they'd never be something like Michelle Bachmann. I suspect Detroit or Cleveland couldn't elect someone like her either.

Oddly, while Oregon is less observant overall, those that do observe are more likely to be evangelical. Oregon has far fewer Catholics and probably mainline protestants:

State by State Percentage of Evangelicals, Catholics, and Black Protestants - Beliefnet.com

Note New York State has more black protestant than white evangelicals. I remember seeing religious billboards in Minnesota and plenty in the Dakotas (and anti-abortion billboard), the only one I've seen in New England was by an evangelical protestant church frequented by hispanics.
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Old 05-19-2015, 10:56 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Originally Posted by cheese plate View Post
No, actually, close to half of Minnesota was prairie: Natural history of Minnesota - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
That doesn't contradict what I was saying. I said climatologically it could support trees but native americans and bison prevented that.
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Old 05-19-2015, 11:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
One other point, not really relevant to answering the poll question. Where Minnesota is religious, it's partially evangelical in a way that's not found in the Northeast. The most observant Christians in much of the Northeast are Roman Catholic, not evangelical protestant [it's either mainline or roman Catholic here]. You could get moderate conservatives in say both upstate and downstate NY, but they'd never be something like Michelle Bachmann. I suspect Detroit or Cleveland couldn't elect someone like her either.

Oddly, while Oregon is less observant overall, those that do observe are more likely to be evangelical. Oregon has far fewer Catholics and probably mainline protestants:

State by State Percentage of Evangelicals, Catholics, and Black Protestants - Beliefnet.com

Note New York State has more black protestant than white evangelicals. I remember seeing religious billboards in Minnesota and plenty in the Dakotas (and anti-abortion billboard), the only one I've seen in New England was by an evangelical protestant church frequented by hispanics.
The West seems more divided religiously. Most people are either not religious at all, or EXTREMELY religious in the West. While in the Midwest and Northeast you have more people who are wishy washy about their faith, only nominally religious, unsure, agnostic, "Christmas Catholics" who only go to church twice a year, etc.
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Old 05-19-2015, 11:02 AM
 
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If you exclude the plains states (which many consider part of the west) I'd say Wisconsin. It has uplands and some cliffy areas reminiscent of the west. That part of Ontario just north of Lake Superior is even more western looking. " Mountains" and high bluffs. Gorgeous.
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Old 05-19-2015, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
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I'd go with all of them except MN, but especially NE and SD in terms of having a lot of land that looks "western." As others have pointed out, the 100th Meridian is a good (though often subtle) demarcation between the more arid plains and highlands/landforms of the west and the greener farmland of the midwest. FWIW US HWY 83 could also be a good dividing line.

MSP has some vague attitudinal and cultural similarities to Seattle and Portland, but other than the somewhat isolated nature of Minnesota, it doesn't look or feel western at all to me.
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Old 05-19-2015, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Milwaukee
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Originally Posted by TwinbrookNine View Post
If you exclude the plains states (which many consider part of the west) I'd say Wisconsin. It has uplands and some cliffy areas reminiscent of the west. That part of Ontario just north of Lake Superior is even more western looking. " Mountains" and high bluffs. Gorgeous.
I see what you're saying - Wisconsin has the only collection of buttes and mesas east of the Mississippi - but it's 1/3 Canadian Shield forests and outlined by Great Lakes. Green, humid, and filled with thousands of lakes and rivers. Unless you're talking about the Driftless, which doesn't really look Midwestern or Western.

The bluffs and mesas of the central sands aren't called that locally, because of all the vegetation (usually called bluffs, mounds, hills, or cliffs), but that's what they are:





These were islands in Glacial Lake Wisconsin during the last ice age. Western features, but Midwestern foliage/climate.
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