Talk:Red states and blue states

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Media bias[edit]

Stop kidding yourselves. It is acutely obvious that the major media networks, who are obviously Left-leaning and Democratic-leaning, reversed the color scheme in order to support the Democratic party in the wake of President Reagan's political domination of the 1980s. Any assertion to the contrary, to paraphrase the comments below under "Nebraska Map," is just ludicrous. The traditional color scheme of Democrats as Red makes perfect sense. The Democrats have been the Left-leaning U.S. party for at least a century, and Red has been the international color of the Political Left for 2 centuries. I am a Baby-boomer and watched the Dem-Red maps on TV for three decades before they were flipped. If I wanted to spend the time, I am sure I could find independent credible sources to cite in the Article. I would also qualify any citation attributed to contemporary Network News editors who naturally were never going to own up to their true motives for the color reversal. Jrgilb (talk) 04:06, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

Nebraska Map[edit]

It is quite telling that anyone who is making an argument against the collaboration of the news with the Democratic party to flip the long standing color schemes, (Blue Repuplican and Red for Democrat), is in a state of absolute denial (or simply dishonest). This is a "prima facia" historical fact. I grew up through the 70s and 80s and 90s and yes the 2000s and witnesses the this "3 card monte" attept. Im the one who got this whole argument started years ago on Wiki, and after 5 years plus I am glad to see the intelectual left leaning knuckle heads who primarily dominate Wiki, have been corrected (yet still spin the wording to downplay the verocity of this collective effort of the left to hide its true intentions. For a very long time they obsessively would remove all mention of this fact. Left leaning people (its ok to be red) be proud of your convictions, you don't have to stay in the closet.

The Nebraska Legislature, while nonpartisan and unicameral, the members do have "unofficial" party affiliations, as listed in the Nebraska Legislature article. It would be nice if the state legislature maps were updated to reflect that. Black implies that there's nothing to be said, but that's not true. 67.169.32.224 (talk) 05:45, 23 April 2010 (UTC)


-- It is quite telling that anyone who is making an argument against the collaboration of the news media with the Democratic party to flip the long-standing color schemes (blue for Republican and red for Democrat), is in a state of absolute denial (or simply dishonest). This is a prima facie historical fact. I grew up through the '70s, '80s, '90s, and yes, the 2000s, and witnessed this "three card monte" attempt. I am the one who started this whole argument six years ago on Wikipedia, and after more than five years I am glad to see that the "intellectual" left-leaning knuckleheads who primarily dominate it have been corrected (yet still spin the wording to downplay the veracity of this collective effort of the left to hide its true intentions). For a very long time they would obsessively remove all mention of this fact. Left-leaning people (it's okay to be red), be proud of your convictions, you don't have to stay in the closet.

The members of the Nebraska Legislature, while that body is nonpartisan and unicameral, do have unofficial party affiliations, as listed in the article. It would be nice if the state legislature maps were updated to reflect that. Black implies that there is nothing to be said, which is not true. 67.148.15.37 (talk) 22:04, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Arguments for Red=Democrat and Blue=Republican[edit]

It is also fair to mention those arguments that would reverse the current interpretation of red states and blue states.

1. The color choices for the 2000 and 2004 elections follow a pattern that since at least 1976, the color of the incumbent party alternates every four years. In the six elections prior to 2000 every Democrat but one had been coded red, but that was just because of how the cycle of incumbency happened to work out during that period. If this trend were to continue for the 2008 elections, then Republicans would be blue and Democrats would be red, reversing the current color assignment.

2. Many news organizations assigned this opposing color scehme in elections prior to 2000. For example, from 1972 until at least 1992, NBC consistently showed Republican-won states in blue, and Democratic-won states in red.

3. Internationally, red is often associated with socialism, and blue is associated with conservativism.

4. Communism has long been associated with the color red. Lenin's Red Army overthrew the elected Duma in Leningrad! Republicans, being more anti-Communist than most Democrats, are offended by being denoted as red. Who ever heard of the "blue" banner of Stalin or MaoTse Tung's Blue Army?

5. "Blue laws" are often associated with religious and cultural conservativism. Why else can we not drink on Sunday mornings in the South? LKW 9/14/08

6. These colors have just been Americanized. For whatever reason we like to change things slightly different than the rest of he world. It's most noticeable in sports. We call it soccer instead of football or futbol. And our home teams are displayed on the right side of the tv screen rather than the left which is where the rest of the world locates the home team. It is Americanization, pure and simple. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.254.240.24 (talk) 07:25, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

71.244.177.240 00:39, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Have you noticed how these points dominate the previous ones? Blue was stolen. --Haizum μολὼν λαβέ 08:15, 7 December 2006 (UTC)


@points 3 and 4: this argument ignores the wholly different political development in America as compared to Europe. The Democratic Party has no roots in either Marxism or social democracy, as the "red" parties in Europe do. The fact that Democrats today are more "liberal" than Republicans has no relationship whatsoever to European political alignments. (And keep in mind, until the end of the 1960s many "liberal" Republicans were just as "leftwing" as liberal Democrats; also the argument that Republicans have been inherently more anti-communist than Democrats is incorrect (cf. the ADA, Truman, JFK, Johnson) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 146.50.85.223 (talk) 12:19, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

@ point 3: When both the Democrats and the Republicans assumed their roles as the two dominant parties (circa the American Civil War), their ideologies were quite reversed, the Republican party having descended from the Whig Party, so one could consider the current scheme to have a historical precedent. Samhuddy (talk) 05:49, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

This is an important point that should be mentioned in the wikipedia article: the Democrats used to be more conservative than the Republicans! (also "liberal" and "conservative" did not quite have the same meaning in the 19th century as they do in current US usage. 77.4.36.251 (talk) 18:14, 16 January 2012 (UTC)


It's also vaguely notable that colour schemes for other parties around the world have not been uniform and to a large extent have settled the way they have more by accident than anything else. The UK uniform colour schemes emerged over time - in past elections the colours used in an individual area were a law unto themselves, usually reflecting the colours (from heraldry, racing etc...) of the local political patrons, with newer parties taking whatever was left over. When national party organisations emerged they started a drive for consistency with nationally produced campaign materials, whilst the rise of Labour and collapse of the Liberals (in many areas coalescing with Conservatives) in the inter-war years often "released" colours for use, but even in the era of colour television traces of the old local patterns remained - in the coverage of the 1983 general election results the-then Conservative Deputy Prime Minister can be seen wearing a yellow rosette at his constituency declaration and Liberal Cyril Smith is wearing a red rosette at Rochdale, whilst at one 1970s election the televised Ceredigion declaration was made in Welsh only and the victorious candidate wearing a blue rosette led to the seat briefly being reported on English-speaking television as a spectacular Conservative gain when it was actually a Liberal victory. All this was despite the national association of Conservative-blue, Labour-red and Liberal-yellow by this time. There's a strong case that red was the historic Tory/Conservative colour and blue the historic Whig/Liberal one (so maybe the US scheme isn't so out of line after all!) Timrollpickering (talk) 05:18, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
If there is going to be any sort of realignment with regards to the symbolism of the political colors, it is more likely, in my opinion, that the rest of the world would realign to the US scheme than vice-versa. My reasoning is based off of my assumption that there is much, much greater influence from the US to the outside world than in the opposite direction. I've read the New York Times article dealing with the US color scheme, and the graphic designer for the New York Times said the reason why he chose the scheme he chose was because both red and Republican started with the letter "r." Ugh, such simple-minded ignorance...... If only the GOP's founders had named their party the Federalist Party instead...... Proud Ho (talk) 08:03, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Very, very unlikely. In far too many other countries red=left and blue=right is not only firmly established, it is the scheme the relevant parties use themselves. Canadian Conservatives are not going to reverse the Red & Blue Tory labels, the UK Labour Party isn't going to sing "We'll keep the blue flag flying here", people aren't going to start calling the stereotypical upper class female UK Conservative member "the red rinse brigade", and so forth. The British media (at least, though the BBC has strong worldwide following) may now use the red=Republican & blue=Democrat scheme for US elections, but outside of election results that the colours aren't actually used that much by the parties in the way that colours are used elsewhere. Timrollpickering (talk) 13:25, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Although a realignment is never going to happen abroad, it is already happening in the US. A few times, during my AP US Government and Politics class, the hardcore GOP classmates and the hardcore Democratic classmates would have an argument over which party's color was superior or "more American." During one occasion, a hardcore Republican coined the term "conservative red." Proud Ho (talk) 06:53, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
I told him how most conservative parties outside the United States represent themselves with the color blue, and his response was, "Tight. Red's better." Proud Ho (talk) 01:38, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Well, in Thailand, that country's Democrats also use the color blue to represent itself, so at least there is some cross-country color matching there... With regards to the ideology-color mismatch, the US is an opposite land in pretty much every other respect anyway.... Proud Ho (talk) 05:20, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Is there any evidence that conservative parties use the color blue? I know that the Canadian and UK conservative parties do, but they are after all related. Also, many of the liberal parties that use the color red may be the conservative parties in their countries. The Four Deuces (talk) 22:35, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

By the time blue really settled as the UK Conservatives' colour the links with the Canadian party were much looser. Red is generally used by socialist parties rather than liberals, who in Europe at least tend to use yellow - e.g. the UK Liberal Democrats or the German Free Democratic Party. There are, of course, exceptions (e.g. the Canadian Liberals are red and the NDP orange).
There's a list at Political colour but other conservative or Christian Democrat parties (i.e. generally those in the International Democrat Union and/or the European People's Party) that use blue include:Liberal Party of Australia (despite the name), Union of the Democratic Forces (Bulgaria), Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria, Civic Democratic Party (Czech Republic), Colombian Conservative Party, Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica (Estonia), Party of Estonian Christian Democrats, National Coalition Party (Finland), Christian Social Union of Bavaria (Germany), New Democracy (Greece), Christian Democratic People's Party (Hungary), Forza Italia (Italy), Fine Gael (Ireland), Nationalist Party (Malta), National Action Party (Mexico), ChristianUnion (Netherlands), Conservative Party of Norway, New Zealand National Party, Law and Justice (Poland), Social Democratic Centre – People's Party (Portugal - despite the name), Democratic Party of Serbia, Christian Democrats (Sweden) and Moderate Party (Sweden). Timrollpickering (talk) 23:33, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

Timrollpickering - thanks for your reply. The Four Deuces (talk) 21:34, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Speaking as a non-American looking in, it makes absolutely no sense that Republicans are red and Democrats are blue. The current allocation of colors is so clearly ridiculous that one can only conclude that it is designed to confuse. Seriously, what kind of dribbling idiot decided Republicans should be red and Democrats should be blue? 122.60.93.162 (talk) 09:33, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
Indented line There is a logic and a historical reason for these colors, please refer to Samhuddy's comment above.77.4.36.251 (talk) 18:19, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Comment by Hmm1: I have not proof, but given the media's tendency at cover-up of the left's radical agenda, could it be that the blue instead of red is to hide the Demacratic party's lines of pro-socialism, pro-communism (remnants of it in Russia and of course China and Cuba)?

Comment by Bob Enyart: I've been a political observer for decades and a daily radio talk show host for 20+ years. My assessment: There is no doubt that the nat'l media intentionally switched colors between the Dems and Repubs to minimize the otherwise natural association of the Democratic Party with the social welfare policies of European socialists. Bob Enyart, Denver radio host at KGOV (talk) 23:48, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

Bob, do you have any actual evidence? A heartfelt "assessment" might carry weight on a radio talk show, but on Wikipedia, conspiracy theories need something a little more solid. Which is not to say that your opinion doesn't belong in the article as an opinion. Isaac Rabinovitch (talk) 19:33, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

Isaac, thanks for your question. Why else would the national media switch the traditional colors for the parties? What else would have motivated them to do that? What, they don't have better things to do with their time... uh... strike that last question. Bob Enyart, Denver radio host at KGOV (talk) 04:11, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

Recent edit: NE-02[edit]

Hello all,

I added the 2nd district of Nebraska to the map and caption. The Dems won in 08 [1] and the GOP won in 2000 [2] and 2004 [3]. As for 1996, I couldn't find the result by district online except for Dave Leip's site (and its member only). As a last resort, I've made two assumptions:

1) Accordding to a Nebraska map in the 106th Congress edition of the Congressional Directory, the old NE-02 consisted of all of Douglas and Sarpy counties, and tiny corner of Cass county [4]. Dave Leip's figures show that Bob Dole won all three places by double digits [5]. This means a GOP victory in NE-02 was likely. If a Nebraskan Wikipedian has access to a good library with State publications, could they confirm this?

2) A bunch of sources from our article, the FEC, Presidentelect.org, and NARA's Electoral College site all show Bob Dole winning all of Nebraska's electoral votes. None of them show a Clinton victory in any district.

This is the reason NE-02 is pink on the map. - Thanks, Hoshie 06:52, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Americanization of red and blue[edit]

Timrollpickering mentioned how "[v]ery, very unlikely" it is for the world outside America to realign red and blue to their American connotations. Since I don't want to further clutter the "Arguments for Red=Democrat and Blue=Republican" section with discussion on the realignment of red and blue in the United States and possibly worldwide, I'm going to start a new section. The phenomenon where red becomes associated with conservatism and blue becomes associated with liberalism shall henceforth be known as the Americanization of red and blue. With the introduction out of the way, I want you to know that I have an on and off fascination with Japanese politics. In my mind, blue became associated with the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (it is indeed conservative, despite the name) and red became associated with the liberal Democratic Party of Japan. Even their respective Wikipedia articles use those associations. Then, today, in the Japanese general election, 2005 article, when I looked at the chart...


Japan election 2005.png


...GASP!!! Blue was being used for the more liberal DPJ!!! Not only that, red is being used for the NCGP, which is an acronym for the conservative New Komeito! (Although the infobox still used the "more correct" color scheme.) I went to the file history to see why. The comment was, "(Made with ADSVote 1.0 (by myself). Changed the colors to the scheme described at Talk:Japan general election, 2005#Charts) (sic)" So I went to that section and some of the comments gave me an epiphany. Once comment mentioned,

As far as I know, there is no commonly-associated colour for any party. I looked at tables and charts on tv and newspapers and the colours are different and seem arbitrary. Here's one chart I found: [6]. (jiminto:red, komeito:orange, minshuto:blue, kyousanto:light-green, shaminto:aqua) --Yodakii 14:11, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

"jiminto" referring to the conservative LDP, while "minshuto" refers to the liberal DPJ. Another comment puts it more blatantly,

I don't think there is a color-association, but red for LDP and blue for DPJ seem to be common. Even your example follows this. (Well, it's an arc graph, so I guess some people in Japan do use it.) -- Taku 02:11, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

Thus, Japan could be the first country besides the USA itself to undergo the process of Americanizing red and blue. Proud Ho (talk) 00:54, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

Or maybe not. Here are the diagrams on the article for yesterday's election:
JapanGE2009.png
45th House of Representatives of Japan Seat Composition.png
Japan general election, 2009 en.png
The LDP in blue, the DPJ in red. (Before these were filled in the article was a little inconsistent with the tables using this scheme but a diagram of the old house using blue for the DPJ and green for the LDP.) I think the problem with Japanese parties is that they don't appear to use particular single colour schemes for campaigning, plus until yesterday Japan was a one-party dominant state with multiple opposition parties (and some realignments - e.g. the DPJ replacing the SDP as the main non-LDP party) so any colour scheme would regular have to be rearranged to accommodate changes (and even existing parties might get shifted purely for aesthetic clarity) and probably represented little more than an individual media outlet's choice, much like the US pre 2000. Timrollpickering (talk) 11:28, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Although Japan probably won't Americanize red and blue, this chart seems to show that in the United States, the process of Americanizing red and blue is virtually complete. Out of curiosity, I then did a Google image search on "political spectrum" and accidentally ran into a blank chart which had the colors in the international order. Looks like they have also made a world edition of the chart. Nonetheless, the fact that they had to make a US edition shows how far into the process of Americanizing red and blue the US is. None of the comments that I've seen in the comments section of the first link even bring up the issue of color-ideology association, even though a few Canadians and Europeans contributed comments (most of the commenters were American). Proud Ho (talk) 02:23, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Over-generalization not valid[edit]

Consider this line: "In the 2008 elections both parties received at least 40% from all sizable socio-economic demographics, according to exit polling."

In the table immediately below, we see that McCain failed to receive 40% by the two income groupings of <$30K/yr. Note that these are "sizable socio-economic demographics" - and show a strong preference for Obama among the economically disadvantaged -- directly contradicting the point being implied in the line I quoted.

What that line implies is that economic factors were not significant in voters choosing between the two candidates -- and yet the facts in the table below it clearly say otherwise!

Therefore I have modified it with an addendum pinpointing the two income groups that are an exception. ToolmakerSteve (talk) 18:39, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

The whole demographics section seems out of the scope of the article. 198.151.130.64 (talk) 00:49, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Uhh... something big is missing[edit]

where is mention of Karl Rove? His role in creating the whole red state-blue state myth should definitely be here.Gold1618 (talk) 04:08, 31 January 2011 (UTC)


Actually - something much bigger is missing - an entire state actually.... there is no Indiana in the list of Blue/Purple/Red states. SInce I am currently visiting Indiana I am pretty sure they are still here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.137.136.162 (talk) 15:30, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Error in opening[edit]

"This unofficial system of political colors used in the United States is the reverse of that in most other long-established democracies, where red represents right-wing and conservative parties, and blue represents left-wing and social democratic parties."

Shouldn't this be the other way around? I would change it but I have a tendency to mess up the simplest of things. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 50.133.227.193 (talk) 19:19, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Yes, it looks backwards to me as well. The second part of the sentence appears to pertain to "most other long-established democracies". Either the red and blue should be swapped, or the comma and "where" should be replaced with a semi-colon to indicate the latter phrase pertains to "this unofficial system". I think I'll swap them as it makes more sense to me. Ebow (talk) 19:31, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Color switch[edit]

'Before the 2000 presidential election, the traditional color coding scheme was "Blue for Republican, Red for Democrat,"...'

My recollection is that the US television networks used this scheme through the 1984 elections, switching it for either the mid-term elections in 1986 or the 1988 elections. An example of this can be seen in a video clip of CBS news; both ABC and NBC were using the same scheme by 1988 as well. — Preceding unsigned comment added by FenwayFrank (talkcontribs) 16:59, 16 October 2012 (UTC)


What doesn't seem to be addressed adequately is the question of why the change? Everywhere else the colours are reversed. Who decided that America should be different, and why did the press go along with it?203.184.41.226 (talk) 02:48, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

Purple States data[edit]

Can we have some clarification of what the "Average margins of presidential victory" means in the concluding section? What sort of data does this refer to? Percentage, votes, what? 129.15.127.50 (talk) 11:52, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

Key to map[edit]

This is a map depicting each states senators in the US Senate during the 112th Congress

There is no key to this map, what are the green slashes indicating in New England? --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 21:13, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Well-intended but bad edit?[edit]

I was actually just passing through this article on the way to finding some information elsewhere, and it caught my eye that some formatting characters (specifically "|}") were simply floating at the top of the article. Cutting a potentially long story short, I found that this edit, while almost certainly in good faith, unfortunately mangled a lot of the page formatting. I decided to simply erase the scraps left behind rather than try to sort out whether the edit should be reverted. Someone more invested in this article should probably double-check all of this to see if things are acceptable as they now stand. --BBrucker2 (talk) 13:12, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

Ludicrous phrasing[edit]

I think this complaint is based on a failure to read the original source. Although the Federalists existed in the 18th century the maps were created in the 20th century. Can you suggest a clearer way to communicate that? Mathematician0 (talk) 19:38, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

In the section Origins of the color scheme this sentence appears:

"Traditional political mapmakers have used blue for the modern-day Republicans, and the Federalists before that, throughout the 20th century."

But the phrasing means that the Federalists operated "throughout the 20th century".

No. "the Federalists before that" is a parenthetical comment set off by commas. See Strunk & White. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mathematician0 (talkcontribs) 23:08, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

In the U.S., "Federalists" is generally understood to mean a political group that was active in the late 1700s. According to this encyclopedia, the only contemporary meaning given to this word is The Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies — "an organization of conservative and libertarian lawyers and others dedicated to debate of these principles" and The World Federalist Movement, described by the phrase "World federalists support the creation of democratic global structures accountable to the citizens of the world and call for the division of international authority among separate agencies."

But hardly anyone has heard of these groups, and it is unclear which Federalists are being referred to in the quoted sentence above. Perhaps someone knowledgeable on the subject can fix the phrasing so it is clear which Federalists are being referred to (and in which century!) — or else remove the reference to Federalists entirely.Daqu (talk) 15:23, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

Addendum to Mathematician0: Maybe you ought to check Strunk & White yourself, or any number of other books on how to use commas in English. If one wants the phrase "throughout the 20th century" to apply only to modern-day Republicans and not to Federalists, then one would write:
Traditional political mapmakers have used blue for the modern-day Republicans throughout the 20th century, and the Federalists before that.
I hope this is clear.Daqu (talk) 04:08, 27 November 2012 (UTC)