Thursday, November 8, 2012

Red and Blue: The Colors of American Politics


Colors have meaning.

The color red is the color of fire and blood; it is associated with energy, danger, war, strength, power, passion, and determination.  A very emotional color, red increases respiration rate and raises blood pressure.  It is used as an accent color to stimulate quick decisions, and is widely associated with danger.  The color blue, on the other hand, is the sky and sea, and is strongly associated with tranquility and calmness.  In heraldry, blue is used to symbolize piety and sincerity, and is linked to consciousness and intellect. Its association with depth, expertise, and stability makes it the preferred color for corporations in America.

Now, none of this has any real connection with what I’m writing, except for the fact that political pundits have chosen to use the colors red and blue to symbolize America’s political divide; with red representing the conservative, right-leaning regions of the country, and blue for the liberal areas.  Whether those who chose this color scheme did it consciously, I do not know, but it certainly aptly described the tenor of the two parties' campaigns, philosophies, and themes in this past election.

Everyone in America by now has had enough political commentary, and, if you’re like me, just looking forward to the holidays so they can stuff themselves to the hairline with turkey and all the trimmings and vegetate on the couch watching the football games.  So, I promise that this is the last political screed you will see from me until the next mid-term elections two years from now.

If you haven’t seen the maps showing the results of the just-completed election, though, you might find it interesting to see how the color spectrum came out.  The red states, all 24 of them, sit squarely astride the middle of the country for the most part, like a big scarlet gash, splitting the country roughly in half.  This means that the president will have an uphill battle getting any kind of consensus during his second administration. President Obama’s support among religious groups varied, with white evangelicals and weekly churchgoers opting for his opponent in large numbers.

What I found interesting about the election results was the identity of those states that, despite being in America’s heartland, swung so far to the right.  Some were not too surprising, but a couple defied what I would have predicted.  This list shows the percentages who voted for each candidate, with the spread shown in parentheses.  They are presented here for readers to draw their own conclusions.

Utah   Romney-72.9  Obama-24.9 (47.7)
Wyoming  Romney-69.3  Obama-28.0 (41.3)
Idaho  Romney-66.5  Obama-32.6 (33.9)
Oklahoma  Romney-66.8  Obama-33.2 (33.6)
West Virginia  Romney-62.3  Obama-33.5 (26.8)
Arkansas  Romney-60.5  Obama-36.9 (23.6)
Nebraska  Romney-60.5  Obama-37.8 (22.7)
Kentucky  Romney-60.5  Obama-37.8 (22.7)
Alabama  Romney-60.7  Obama-38.4 (22.3)
Kansas  Romney-60  Obama-37.8 (22.2)
Tennessee  Romney-59.5  Obama-39 (20.5)
North Dakota  Romney-58.7  Obama-38.9 (19.8)
Louisiana  Romney-57.8  Obama-40.6 (17.2)
South Dakota  Romney-57.9  Obama-39.9 (16)
Texas  Romney-57.2  Obama-41.4 (15.8)
Montana  Romney-53.3  Obama-41.8 (13.5)
Alaska  Romney-55  Obama-41.6 (13.4)
Mississippi  Romney-55.4  Obama-43.6 (11.8)
Arizona  Romney-54.8  Obama-43.6 (11.2)
South Carolina  Romney-54.6  Obama-44 (10.6)
Missouri  Romney-53.9  Obama-44.3 (8.6)
Georgia  Romney-53.4  Obama-45.4 (8)
North Carolina  Romney-50.6  Obama-48.4 (2.2)

At this writing, the outcome in Florida has yet to be determined, but President Obama has a 6% lead so far.