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| | |-+  Why the massive rural/urban divide?
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Author Topic: Why the massive rural/urban divide?  (Read 13672 times)
A18
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« on: December 21, 2005, 08:22:37 am »
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Particularly in the last two elections, cities have been voting overwhelmingly Democratic, whereas rural areas have been voting like it's 1984.

Why the huge split?
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2005, 12:45:24 pm »
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People are self-selecting where they live like never before. Trendy Democrats are moving into urban areas, while Republicans are still fleeing.
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2005, 03:53:01 pm »
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Well, in part because the parties are currently choosing to define themselves that way. Basically, both parties ideal images of themselves are linked to the geography. Democrats want to be a) trendy, modern, etc, which means urban, and b) the party that stands up for the poor workingman, who is once again an urban figure (so it doesn't include miners and farmers to the extent it used to).

Republicans want to be the party that stands up for good old American stuff, family, farming, religion, etc. And that leads to rural areas.

Also, I think it got something to do with the way the Democratic party is based on party machines that can only be effective in huge concentrations of people, while Republicans need anti-Government indiviudalists who are almost by definition situated on their own and far away from centres of power, i.e. cities.
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2005, 04:27:00 pm »
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Demographics mean that *both* parties are essentially urban now (if we include suburbs, exurbs and commuter villages etc. as "urban" which, if we're doing a strict line between urban and rural, we should). Essentially the Democratic Party is the party of the inner core of a "city" while the GOP dominates the outer limits. The idea that the Democratic party is the party of latte sipping yuppies while the GOP is the party of slack-jawed yokels and rednecks just isn't true, no matter how much the media and many partisans from either side seem to wish that it were.
Rural areas have been left by the wayside and abandoned by both parties save for a few token gestures; significantly the GOP now does badly in some rural areas where it was once the master (the Upper Mississippi is the obvious example, but there are others) and we all now this is the case with the national Democrats...
Seeing as the issues that the two serious candidates made a fuss over last election were yon social/wedge issues, then it is to be expected that most rural areas voted for the more conservative of the two candidates. Had the issues been unemployment, economic development or healthcare, you'd expect the reverse of that to be the case. That Kerry got so solidly hammered in most Democratic rural areas is entirely his own fault and not part of some great national "trend" towards urban/rural polarisation; many rural Democrats did well in Congressional races and *especially* in the State Legislative elections (look at Montana).

To finish, some rather sobering maps:

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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2005, 04:37:33 pm »
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It's not a rural vs. urban divide so much as an exurban/suburban vs. metropolitan divide. Looking at maps tend to exaggerate the importance of rural areas, where less than 20% of the population lives. The GOP is getting its margins from suburban areas, while Democrats are getting their margins from the cities.
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« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2005, 07:05:21 pm »
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Another divide that is somewhat related to this one is the Sun-Belt/non-Sun Belt divide. Republicans do very well in the SunBelt because Reps since Reagan (although not Bush Sr.) have pushed the SunBelt image hard, doing things like speaking in a heavily exaggerated Southern accent or dressing up as a cowboy. None of the other Bushes speaks like W. Did he pick the accent up at Yale?
« Last Edit: December 21, 2005, 07:22:26 pm by memphis »Logged

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« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2005, 04:25:24 am »
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Yes, he did. A Texas accent is much easier to pronounce when drunk than a Northeastern one.

Same goes for a Frankfurt accent vis-a-vis standard German, by the way.
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« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2005, 02:07:07 am »
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It's not a rural vs. urban divide so much as an exurban/suburban vs. metropolitan divide. Looking at maps tend to exaggerate the importance of rural areas, where less than 20% of the population lives. The GOP is getting its margins from suburban areas, while Democrats are getting their margins from the cities.

Partially right.  You really have to put the older suburbs who (with a few 9/11 related exceptions which are now over with plunging Bush poll #'s in  some of these areas) in with the cities because they have really trended to the Democrats.  Generally its the cities & older heavily populated suburban areass that are Dem vs the newer, lesser populated, but faster growing suburbs, exurban & rural areas.  For example their are massive differences between Nassau County NY & Cobb County Georgia.  So you can't link all suburbs together as being a GOP stronghold as their are some (which are mainly older highly populated suburbs in the mid-atlantic, northeast & bay area, with some spots in the Denver area) that are mostly Dem and those that aren't tend to be  trending Dem
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« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2005, 07:11:22 am »
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It's not a rural vs. urban divide so much as an exurban/suburban vs. metropolitan divide. Looking at maps tend to exaggerate the importance of rural areas, where less than 20% of the population lives. The GOP is getting its margins from suburban areas, while Democrats are getting their margins from the cities.

Depends where you are, although this is true overall.  What you describe is more of a northeastern phenomenon.  In some states (Washington included), cities are generally more Democratic than suburbs, but suburbs are generally about state average, while exurbs are more Republican than state average but oftentimes still Democratic.
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« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2005, 08:01:12 am »
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It's not a rural vs. urban divide so much as an exurban/suburban vs. metropolitan divide. Looking at maps tend to exaggerate the importance of rural areas, where less than 20% of the population lives. The GOP is getting its margins from suburban areas, while Democrats are getting their margins from the cities.

Depends where you are, although this is true overall.  What you describe is more of a northeastern phenomenon.  In some states (Washington included), cities are generally more Democratic than suburbs, but suburbs are generally about state average, while exurbs are more Republican than state average but oftentimes still Democratic.

Interesting... though I think what I described more than just a northeastern phenomenon, with California being the most obvious and extreme example. Though, what you describe is interesting. I would like to see a map of King and Pierce counties broken up into township-like results, along with population densities. Even if these suburban areas are marginally Democratic, I'd still argue the Republican voters inside these areas are significantly more numerous (and thus important to the GOP) than rural Republican voters.
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« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2005, 08:14:38 am »
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It's not a rural vs. urban divide so much as an exurban/suburban vs. metropolitan divide. Looking at maps tend to exaggerate the importance of rural areas, where less than 20% of the population lives. The GOP is getting its margins from suburban areas, while Democrats are getting their margins from the cities.

Depends where you are, although this is true overall.  What you describe is more of a northeastern phenomenon.  In some states (Washington included), cities are generally more Democratic than suburbs, but suburbs are generally about state average, while exurbs are more Republican than state average but oftentimes still Democratic.

Interesting... though I think what I described more than just a northeastern phenomenon, with California being the most obvious and extreme example. Though, what you describe is interesting. I would like to see a map of King and Pierce counties broken up into township-like results, along with population densities. Even if these suburban areas are marginally Democratic, I'd still argue the Republican voters inside these areas are significantly more numerous (and thus important to the GOP) than rural Republican voters.

California is very true.  I guess it's not just northeastern - good point.

Affluent Seattle suburbs like Bellevue and Redmond generally vote about 60% Democrat.  Suburban Seattle is about 70%.  The outer suburbs are around 50-60% Democrat; Seattle exurbs are narrowly Democratic.

Pierce County is mainly Tacoma (which is about 60%), Tacoma suburbs (narrowly Democratic), and Tacoma exurbs (Republican).  The exurbs are more populous relative to the suburbs than normal, and closer in.  There aren't really any Seattle exburbs in Pierce, but there are in Snohomish (they are around 55% Democrat).

I'm afraid we don't have townships, but here's a precinct map:



A lot of the red in the southeast is marginal Bush victories; the legislative district down there actually voted Kerry.

I haven't really looked at any other area in detail, but I always had the impression that suburbs leaned Democratic until I saw exit poll numbers that disagreed with that in virtually every case.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2005, 08:16:23 am by Yarmulke »Logged

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A18
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« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2005, 11:05:06 am »
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What percentage of the country lives in exurbs, suburbs, and cities, however defined?
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« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2005, 12:05:30 pm »
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No idea about exurbs/inner suburbs split but I think rural - suburban - urban is roughly 20-55-25 or 17-58-25.
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« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2005, 05:52:34 pm »
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No idea about exurbs/inner suburbs split but I think rural - suburban - urban is roughly 20-55-25 or 17-58-25.

Some of that "rural" % will be commuter towns and stuff. Almost always included in "rural" and never really should be...
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Lewis Trondheim
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« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2005, 06:00:03 pm »
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Ah, here's teh official Census 2000 data.

Urban/rural and metropolitan/nonmetropolitan population
 
URBAN AND RURAL
 
Urban
 222,360,539
 79.0
 
of which: - In urbanized area
 192,323,824
 68.3
 
(of which: In central place
 109,705,763
 39.0
 
Not in central place
 82,618,061
 29.4)
 
- In urban cluster
 30,036,715
 10.7
 
(of which: In central place
 22,844,647
 8.1
 
Not in central place
 7,192,068
 2.6)
 
Rural
 59,061,367
 21.0
 
of which: - Place of 2,500 or more
 4,089,599
 1.5
 
 - Place of 1,000 to 2,499
 4,989,152
 1.8
 
 - Place of less than 1,000
 3,821,336
 1.4
 
 - Not in place
 46,161,280
 16.4
 
INSIDE AND OUTSIDE METROPOLITAN AREA
 
In metropolitan area
 225,981,679
 80.3
 
of which: - In central city
 85,401,127
 30.3
 
- Not in central city
 140,580,552
 50.0
 
(of which: - Urban
 114,885,009
 40.8
 
[of which: In urbanized area
 105,628,220
 37.5
 
In urban cluster
 9,256,789
 3.3]
 
Rural
 25,695,543
 9.1)
 
Not in metropolitan area
 55,440,227
 19.7
 
of which: - Urban
 22,695,347
 8.1
 
(of which: - In urbanized area
 2,708,887
 1.0
 
- In urban cluster
 19,986,460
 7.1)
 
- Rural
 32,744,880
 11.6
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A18
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« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2005, 08:16:07 pm »
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So what are the numbers?
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« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2005, 12:44:28 pm »
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It appers to be 39-50-21
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Lewis Trondheim
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« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2005, 04:18:06 pm »
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Officially. But that includes a number of small towns and a number of incorporated areas of suburban character as urban.
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"Our party do not have any ideology... Our main aim is to grab power ... Every one is doing so but I say it openly." Keshav Dev Maurya
A18
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« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2005, 04:38:09 pm »
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Do exurbs count as suburbs or rural areas?
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Lewis Trondheim
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« Reply #19 on: December 25, 2005, 05:26:55 pm »
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Do exurbs count as suburbs or rural areas?
I suppose most of them count as suburbs, some (unincorporated ones, that the Census hasn't gotten around to count as Census Designated Places yet) count as rural, and many that once were independent smaller cities/towns that have been drawn into the commuter ring are probably counted as urban...
Notice that 40% of the "rural" population is within metro areas, though.
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A18
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« Reply #20 on: December 25, 2005, 05:29:46 pm »
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Quote
Notice that 40% of the "rural" population is within metro areas, though.

Yeah, that includes me.

I can't picture an exurb. Any photos online?
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Lewis Trondheim
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« Reply #21 on: December 25, 2005, 05:33:22 pm »
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Notice that 40% of the "rural" population is within metro areas, though.

Yeah, that includes me.

I can't picture an exurb. Any photos online?
If people in your "rural" community in Loudoun County are mostly commuters, you should probably just look out of the window.
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« Reply #22 on: December 25, 2005, 05:35:50 pm »
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So then what's the difference between a rural community within a metropolitan area and an exurb?
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Lewis Trondheim
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« Reply #23 on: December 25, 2005, 05:44:21 pm »
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The one is a marketing term that Al rails against, the other is an ugly neoword.
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"Our party do not have any ideology... Our main aim is to grab power ... Every one is doing so but I say it openly." Keshav Dev Maurya
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« Reply #24 on: December 25, 2005, 05:45:50 pm »
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Marketing term? What?
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