Bush's approval by region

Looking through Bush's state by state approval rating, as provided by Survey USA and already diaired about by jdeeth, gave me an idea. Using the famous Ten Regions of US Politics analysis provided by CommonWealth, I wanted to see if there were regional trends in Bush's approval rating. Here is a map of the regions:

What I found was that not only were Bush's approval ratings higher in "red" states than in "blue" states, but that Bush's approval rating is actually dropping faster in blue regions where it was already very low (Upper Coasts, Great Lakes), and it was actually rising in strongly pro-Republican regions (Appalchia, the Farm Belt, Southern Comfort) where it was already decent. In other words, the current downward trend in Bush's approval rating is further widening the gap between the red and the blue. This supports Jerome's earlier finding that Bush's approval drop is entirely among self-identifying independents and Democrats.

The full analysis is in the extended entry. I have little doubt that the true legacy of Bush's presidency will be a country far mroe divided than it has been in decades.

Northeast Corridor
      App    Dis    Margin    Swing from May
CT    37     58      -21	   -10
DE    38     57      -19	   -1
MD    41     57      -16	   +3
NJ    38     58      -20	   +2
NY    33     62      -29	   -4
PA    42     53      -11	   +2
Bush is in a deep hole in these states, but his approval rating appears static here.
Upper Coasts
      App    Dis    Margin    Swing from May
CA    37     58      -21	   -6
CT    37     58      -21	   -10
ME    39     57      -18	   -2
MA    39     58      -19	   +7
NH    43     53      -10	   -1
NY    33     62      -29	   -4
OR    43     54      -11	   +2
RI    33     63      -30	   -3
VT    32     65      -33	   -1
WA    41     57      -16	   -6
With the odd exception of Mass., Bush seems to be actually dropping further in a region where he is already despised. It is not necessarily a good thing that we are gaining in an already deep blue area of the country. In 2004, the Upper Coasts passed the Northeast Corridor as the most Democratic rgion in the country. Our solid base appears to becoming even more solid.
Great Lakes
      App    Dis    Margin    Swing from May
IL    37     58      -21	   -4
MI    38     59      -21	   -3
NY    33     62      -29	   -4
OH    40     57      -17	   +3
PA    42     53      -11	   +2
WI    40     57      -17	   -5
While this region is solid Dem, its states are important swingers that tend to only slightly favor Democrats. However, right now it has clearly turned very hard against Bush. Outside of Pennsylvania, Bush's approval rating borders on the toxic in this part of the country. As we will see in Appalachia, Bush's gains in Ohio and Pennsylvania are probably not coming from the Grat Lakes region of these states.
El Norte
      App    Dis    Margin    Swing from May
AZ    46     49      -3 	   +4
CA    37     58      -21	   -6
CO    45     52      -7 	   +1
FL    46     50      -4 	   +8
HI    43     51      -8 	   -1
NV    38     57      -19	   -2
NM    45     50      -5 	   -1
TX    50     47      +3 	   -6
Although Texas is a nice surprise, outside of Nevada and California, it is fair to say that Bush's approval ratings are not as low as they should be in this very important future swing region. In these states with a heavy Latino population, Bush has still managed to keep his nose above water. This is a very high growth region, and we really should be doing better here if we are to hold a long term view of national demogtraphics.
Big River
      App    Dis    Margin    Swing from May
AR    44     52      -8 	   +4
IA    44     52      -8 	   +9
IL    37     58      -21	   -4
KY    50     45      +5 	   +3
MN    43     54      -11	   -9
MO    46     52      -6 	   +3
TN    48     49      -1 	    0
WI    40     57      -17	   -5
One wonders if this could still be considered a distinct region. Bush is losing ground in states that are in other, more anti-Bush regions, while he is gaining ground in states that are in other, more pro-Bush regions. In other words, the trend in Bush's approval rating seems to be coming from regions adjancent to this region, rather than from this region itself.
Southern Lowlands
      App    Dis    Margin    Swing from May
AL    54     41      +13	   +7
DE    38     57      -19	   -1
FL    46     50      -4 	   +8
GA    48     48       0 	   -3
LA    49     47      +2 	   -3
MD    41     57      -16	   +3
MS    50     46      +4 	    0
NC    45     50      -5 	   -4
SC    48     47      +1 	   -7
VA    49     46      +3 	   +9
In this swing region, Bush looks pretty static. At the very least, it is difficult to discern a trend.
Farm Belt
      App    Dis    Margin    Swing from May
IN    48     48       0 	   -1
IA    44     52      -8 	   +9
KS    51     45      +6 	   +2
KY    50     45      +5 	   +3
MI    38     59      -21	   -3
MN    43     54      -11	   -9
NE    60     37      +23	   +2
ND    52     43      +9 	   -1
OH    40     57      -17	   +3
SD    48     47      +1 	    0
In terms of trend, the two states that look out of place with the rest are Michigan and Minnesota. However, those states would have looked very much in place with the Great Lakes. In other words, while Bush loses ground in most of the rest of the country, in the Farm Belt he is actually inching up somehwat. Bush's follies still be appealing to rural and exurban voters. Perhaps more accurately, even as Bush screws up, the more or less unchallenged Republican Noise Machine in these areas keep Bush afloat here.
Appalachia
      App    Dis    Margin    Swing from May
AL    54     41      +13	   +7
GA    48     48       0 	   -3
LA    49     47      +2 	   -3
MD    41     57      -16	   +3
MS    50     46      +4 	    0
NC    45     50      -5 	   -4
OH    40     57      -17	   +3
PA    42     53      -11	   +2
SC    48     47      +1 	   -7
TN    48     49      -1 	    0
VA    49     46      +3 	   +9
WV    47     47       0 	   +7
In 2004, Appalachia passed Southern Comfort and Sagebrush to become the most Republican area in the country. Here the trend seems to continue. While some states, such as the Carolinas, are breaking against Bush, such a trend seem to be more in line with the moderate Southern Lowlands, of which those states are also members. Here, it appears that Bush is, like the Farm Belt, still gaining eve as he drops naitonwide. If Bush is dropping in the Upper Coasts and Great Lakes, but gaining in the Farm Belt and Appalachia, it seems entirely possible that the so called red-blue divide is actually growing even greater than it was before. I have little doubt that Bush's legacy is going to be a very, very divided nation.
Southern Comfort
      App    Dis    Margin    Swing from May
AR    44     52      -8 	   +4
AL    54     41      +13	   +7
FL    46     50      -4 	   +8
LA    49     47      +2 	   -3
MS    50     46      +4 	    0
MO    46     52      -6 	   +3
OK    49     47      +2 	   -15
TX    50     47      +3 	   -6
Outside of Oklahoma, which strikes me as a bad poll, Bush appears to be gaining here. That makes three pro-Bush regions wher Bush is gaining: the Farm Belt, Southern Comfort and Appalachia.
Sagebrush
      App    Dis    Margin    Swing from May
AK    53     43      +10	   +4
AZ    46     49      -3 	   +4
CA    37     58      -21	   -6
CO    45     52      -7 	   +1
ID    56     39      +17	   +1
ME    39     57      -18	   -2
MT    56     42      +14	   +6
NE    60     37      +23	   +2
NV    38     57      -19	   -2
NH    43     53      -10	   -1
NM    45     50      -5 	   -1
OR    43     54      -11	   +2
OK    49     47      +2 	   -15
TX    50     47      +3 	   -6
UT    63     34      +29	   +3
WA    41     57      -16	   -6
WY    58     38      +20	   -2
Bush looks static in Sagebrush outside of, once again, the Oklahoma outlier. This is the region where a reform platform will have the most potential appeal. It has been the stronghold of every major third party challenge over the last century. Perot received more than 25% of the vote here in 1992--possibly 30%. This is the Republican region where I believe Democrats have the most potential upside, and looking at Bush's staic numbers here when compared to Appalachia, Southern Comfort and the Farm Belt support that idea.

Tags: General 2008 (all tags)

Comments

21 Comments

DIdn't Bush Campaign in 2000...
Wasn't one of his slogans in 2000 that he was a uniter not a divider?  Boy I hope the history books tear him a new one, and the idiots who re-elected him... and the idiots who ran Kerry's campaign... and the people in Iowa who picked Kerry in the first place.  
by yitbos96bb 2005-06-29 08:47AM | 0 recs
interesting
my guess is that if you were able to aggregate the polling into counties and truly follow the 10 region map's division of states into regions, that the differences would be even starker. my guess is that upper coasts is even more anti-bush than it looks.
by wu ming 2005-06-29 08:55AM | 0 recs
Yeah
Few states are in only one region; many are in three different ones.  I think recent trends show Bush haters hate Bush even more than before and Bush lovers love Bush even more than before.  The good thing is that independents are moving fairly firmly into the Bush hating camp.  Whoever wins over the independents wins the game.
by Geotpf 2005-06-29 09:31AM | 0 recs
Good stuff
As usual.

Sagebrush is definitely the key to 2008--and it is littered with unpopulated states and bang-for-your-buck Senate seats as well.  

The most important thing to remember about winning this region in 2006 is that our swingers are really the rural/"exurban" voters who went for Bush in 2004.  So while any sag in his approval rating is definitely good, our candidates will almost all have corrupt incumbents/GOP state leadership to run against, and so we'll have a shot at plenty of voters who--for whatever reason--like George W. Bush just fine.

by Frontier PAC 2005-06-29 09:03AM | 0 recs
Puzzled Applause
Again, I applaud this analysis for the patterns it reveals, but remain puzzled about what it really shows, since we have nothing in the way of a breakdown linking actual demographics within states to the groupings they are put into, much less anything from the pollsters enabling us to connect poll results with those demographics.  

It really does make me intensely curious about what such a breakdown would show.

But, then I remember that "El Norte" includes Brownsville, TX and Hollywood--and, if I recall correctly--can't tell precisely from the map--at least part of Silicon Valley, and I really don't know what to think...  

Except that maybe Chris has missed his calling, and ought to be in Vegas, updating the old magic act for the digital age.

by Paul Rosenberg 2005-06-29 09:37AM | 0 recs
El Norte is places with lots of Hispanics
At least, as far as I can tell, that's what it means.

The political groupings strike me as a good way to categorize them-but nobody does polling based on these areas.  They should, though.

by Geotpf 2005-06-29 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: El Norte is places with lots of Hispanics
I know what it means.  I just don't know what it means.
by Paul Rosenberg 2005-06-29 12:20PM | 0 recs
by Stirling Newberry 2005-06-29 10:07AM | 0 recs
Indiana
I have a problem with the Indiana poll. I posted a comment on Kos about this and have emailed Survey USA hoping to get an answer. Maybe someone here can help...

read the Indiana internals... is it just me or does that say that the poll was 97% white in indiana, 0% African American?

That would explain how Indianapolis is shown at 50% (no way) and could mean the numbers are better (for us) than 48/48...

but maybe I'm reading something wrong.
Also posted about this on the Indiana Democratic Club blog
http://www.indianademclub.org/blog/2005/06/29/national-politics/111/

by descolada99 2005-06-29 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Indiana
a reply from SurveyUSA that they are "looking into the problem" with the Indiana poll. I'd suggest you all look at your own state's internals for oddness like 0% African Americans in the sample.

I'm hoping they inform me when they get an answer.

by descolada99 2005-06-29 10:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Indiana
I got the response back from Survey USA. They say it was just a cut & paste error, that the approval percentages are correct but the racial breakdown percentages were not.  

"The data has been corrected, and the web page should now be refreshed.

There was a problem with the DISPLAY of our data, but not with the
underlying data itself.

It was (to slightly over-simplify it, but not misstate it) a cut and
paste problem on our end.

The correct % of African Americans were interviewed and were reflected
in our original results, and now are displayed correctly.

Many thanks for your careful scrutiny."

Now the data shows
89% White
7% African America
3% Hispanic
1% Other

by descolada99 2005-06-29 02:01PM | 0 recs
Nevada
Your El Norte pessimism seems unwarranted.

Bush's ratings are horrible in Nevada. That is the most important state in El Norte. I truly think that Nevada is the key bellweather state in the future of American politics, and it is the fastest growing state in the union to boot.

Arizona is still pretty damn right wing. Spend some time there. I don't have much hope for AZ as a swing state in the near future. Look at its Congressional delegation right now.

New Mexico approvals are higher than one would hope, but it is not an especially dynamic region.

Colorado's rating seem right about where I would imagine. A good D candidate would beat Bush right now in CO.

BTW, I echo the folks who note that trying to breakdown the states like this is an interesting if note especially revelatory exercise, because these regions do not conform to state borders.

Ben P

by Ben P 2005-06-29 11:20AM | 0 recs
A question
To what do the immigrants settling along our souther border ascribe the problems in Mexico which they flee? A lack of moral behavior? Government meddling in their lives and keeping them down? A lack of economic opportunity? Politcal corruption?

I wonder if the key to Hispanic voters are the themes that drove them here. Of course, by the time an immigrant is allowed to vote, they are usually settled and have new outlooks and attitudes.

by Paul Goodman 2005-06-29 12:22PM | 0 recs
Look at Rhode Island
Looking at the Rhode Island numbers, it seems that Bush is about a low there as anywhere, so I would hope we could hang him around Lincoln Chafee's neck and take a Senate seat that should rightfully be Democratic.  If we can't beat Chafee in 2006, we're in trouble.
by sandzen 2005-06-29 01:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Look at Rhode Island
Chafee is probably the most liberal Republican in the Senate. He didn't even vote for Bush.

I don't know if we can beat Chafee straight-up, but we may get him to jump like Jeffords.

by wayward 2005-06-29 03:24PM | 0 recs
The map is confusing
What is "Southern Comfort" anyway, besides an alcoholic beverage?

If "Southern Comfort" is the whiter, wealthier, areas along the Southern coasts, then the coastal regions of the Carolinas and Georgia are much more in this region than in the "Southern Lowlands". I don't know about the other states, but Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley, Beaufort (Hilton Head), and Horry (Myrtle Beach) counties in SC are more probably  politically more like the Gulf Coast than they are the next county inland in SC. While these were once "swing" counties, they are now solid GOP, although they are nowhere near as socially or religiously conservative as the Republican strongholds in the upstate (Appalachia).

by wayward 2005-06-29 03:36PM | 0 recs
Re: The map is confusing
Another facet of the point I'm making re El Norte.  

In order to make meaningful socio-geographical maps like this purports to be, there has to be some sort of methodological formula in advance, so that it produces contiguities that are both meaningful and in some sense comparable.  

This map seems to obviously fail to do that. Yet, not only does it convey some useful information anyway, it allows Chris to do his magic tricks.  I'm even more impressed with the results the more I contemplate the underlying weaknesses of the method.  I mean, how in the heck does Sarasota, Florida end up in the same region as Stillwater and Muskoggee, Oklahoma, USA? But not Alva, Oklahoma?

"this is all making the kind of sense that's...not."
  -- Oz, "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer"
     Episode 34: "Becoming, Part 2"

by Paul Rosenberg 2005-06-29 06:23PM | 0 recs
Re: The map is confusing
Commonwealth magazine explained the groupings when they ran their article and gave a demographic breakdown of each region.

I believe the differences between Southern Lowlands and Southern Comfort had a lot to do with the percentage of African Americans.

I also believe that some of the segmentation was somewhat arbitrary and done to keep the 10 regions roughly the same size.

by ces 2005-06-29 11:44PM | 0 recs
This is great....
That someone actually seems to know about Commonwealth's great map....  I tried to send it to the f'ing morons in Kerry campaign last year, but they didn't do anything with it as far as I can tell.  
by strrbr 2005-06-29 06:29PM | 0 recs
Abolish the electoral college
You just did the leg-work. Call for the solution.
by Seldom Seen Smith 2005-06-29 06:33PM | 0 recs
For lack of a trackback mechanism...
Iraq - Packaged for Democratic Consumption

The recent Survey USA state by state approve v. Disapprove poll for Bush was UGLY from the Bush perspective. He is tanking hard in all of the Blue states, but he is still polling comparatively decently in the Red states with the exception of Ohio and Nevada. Chris Bowers at MyDD does some number crunching using the 10 region taxonomy developed by Commonwealth. He notes that Bush is bleeding support in the blue states at a fast clip. However he is adding to his personal approval ratings in Southern states, the Mississippi River Valley and Appalachia at a reasonable clip.

The Unpaid Punditry Corps

by Goose3five 2005-07-01 06:00AM | 0 recs

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