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We’ve become a nation of Republican ‘red’ or Democrat ‘blue’ states. As Paul Fahrti noted in an insightful Washington Post column on election day in 2004, the terms ‘red’ and ‘blue’ evolved from a way of indicating graphically on TV which candidate had won a majority of a state’s popular vote. But the designations have become ‘shorthand for an entire sociopolitical world view. A red state bespeaks … a series of cultural cliches (churches and NASCAR) … (while) blue states’ suggest … urban and latte-drinking. Red states … are a little but country, blues are a little more rock-and-roll.’
There were 22 red states, and 28 blue and the District of Columbia in the 2008 election.
But states aren’t either/or red or blue. In 2008, John McCain won 52.2% of the popular vote in Georgia and Barack Obama won 47%. So Georgia’s a red state by three percentage points. Consider, however, that only about 55% of the country’s voting-age population voted in the last three presidential elections. So Georgia’s a red state based on the votes of slightly more than 50% of the population, slightly more than 50% of whom voted for McCain.
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