Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Higher Development Linked to Obama Vote

Third World Republicans

The Cman Blog, via Andrew Sullivan and The Map Scroll, links me to this map of US states ranked by the UN human development index.

The UN defines the index as "a summary composite index that measures a country's average achievements in three basic aspects of human development: health, knowledge, and a decent standard of living. Health is measured by life expectancy at birth; knowledge is measured by a combination of the adult literacy rate and the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrollment ratio; and standard of living by GDP per capita."

Where have I seen this before? Oh, yeah:

Every one of the dark green "Scandinavian states" (as a descendent of socialist Sweden I like the term) went for Obama. And what of the light green states and yellow Mississippi? Original source the American Human Development Report calls those "the Underdeveloped Core."

And not only are all of these states red, they're the very states that swam against the national tide and trended MORE Republican in 2008: Appalachia, depopulated Louisiana, racially polarized Alabama and Mississippi, depopulated and destroyed Louisiana, pining for Hillary Arkansas, and every county red Oklahoma.

It's a very telling map and yet, at the same time, a very frustrating one. The very Americans who could most benefit from education, health care and jobs are the most resistant to the Obama program, voting against their economic self-interests. Maybe they're clinging to religion and guns? (Last map is from US Election Atlas; colors reversed from conventional blue and red.)

(UPDATE: FiveThirtyEight takes issues with this map as meme and says it's just a glorified income level map.)

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