Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Maps of Messages and Money

The most popular post in the decade of the Deeth Blog remains my 2005 political look at television markets. It's not about my brilliant prescience of predicting that Omaha electoral vote going Democratic in 2008 - people just want the map.

In any case I'm fascinated by maps that cross state lines and illustrate patters that help me make political sense of things. Or find things that don't make sense.

This map illustrates baseball preferences. You can clearly see the Cards/Cubs line that divides Illinois in baseball and to some extent in politics. Missouri, too, splits, east-west. and My native western Wisconsin is interesting with a significant chunk of Twins territory on the western border. In the corresponding pro football map, Wisconsin is Packer Green all the way to the Mississippi, and north into Da U P of michigan, which cheers for the Tigers in the summer but the Pack in the fall.

Iowa's just a mess except in the college football map. Cyclone Territory corresponds roughly with the post-split 515 area code, and the deaded Cornhuskers control the southwest. Oddly, the arch-conservative northwest corner cheers for the team from the People's Republic.

This map tracks the movement of dollar bills from, which you see on money about as much as you see this:

The thicker lines indicate lines less often crossed. Iowa's lines seem to go east-west pairing us with Nebraska. Wisconsin shows that same east-west divide, and the Cubs-Cards line is again in clear relief. Also as in sports, Chicagoland reaches into Indiana and Michigan.

West Virginia-West Pennsylvania emerges ad a common community (which explains a lot cultural-politically). And Idaho may as well be two states or no states; the south looks to Utah while the panhandle pairs with eastern Washington and Oregon. Panhandle Florida = South Alabama, while southeast Georgia looks away from Atlanta. Texas is distinct (with El Paso an anomaly just as it is with its time zone) with no ties to Okahoma.

This map of cell phone call data repeats a few patters but shows that in some places our calls behave differently than our money. The Cards-Cubs line is here again, also the Idaho split, and as with all things non-Packer western Wisconsin looks to Minnesota.

Texas remains a cohesive unit, with the exception of El Paso, and again with the split from Oklahoma-Arkansas. But the horizontal border states are interesting: a solid phone universe, but split on dollar bills. (Also note that NW Mississippi is fully in the metro Memphis orbit.) And California is sharply split.

None of these patterns holds the key to the political universe, unless you can see it hiding here somewhere.

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