Talk:Red states and blue states/Archive 1

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"Implications Also, what color does the Libertarian Party for the Future of the United States"

Why discuss just the Vietnam War and why say the current polorization is unique because it is a clash between two ways of life? The United States has always had political polorization, it has always had 'clashes between two ways of life'. Some big examples: American Revolution (there were splits between loyalists and rebels); the debates of the early american government (Federalists Papers etc., Big States vs. Small States); American Civil War (Sucession); Industrialization, rise of the worker's unions, rich vs. poor etc. etc. up to Vietnam and beyond. The fact that the US has always had two dominant political parties has always made it politically polarized.

Created at Max Power's suggestion. Could use some cleanup, and those section devisions for red and blue states, and redirect red and blue states here.

UPDATE: Did cleanup, redirected, major edits and rewrites. I'm done for now. Theobromos 22:02, May 7, 2005 (UTC)

The solid "blue states" would generally be California, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, Minnesota, Vermont, Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Rhode Island.

“Solid blue” implies that the states are reliably democratic, and that the other side doesn’t contest them at all, so these are wrong choices. Michigan was one of the most major swing-states in this election, and Kerry’s margin of victory was only 3.4%. Kerry won by 3.5% in Minnesota, another major swing-state. Oregon was a minor swing-state, which Bush lost by 0.4% (because Nader got 5+% of the vote) in 2000, and 4.1% in 2004. Maine is the last one I’m removing from this list, because even though Bush lost by 9% this year, it’s usually just a blue-leaning swing-state.

I removed those four from the list.

Many of the states listed above voted Republican in elections in 1980s. (Connecticut and Maine even voted for Bush Sr. in 1992.) Given this, I'm hesitant to refer to many of them as "solid" for the Democratic party. It remains unclear whether the current political alignment is a permanent one. Funnyhat 02:46, 23 May 2005 (UTC)
I do know that Iowa was split almost right down the middle - the difference in popular votes between Kerry (741,898) and Bush (751,957) was a little over 10,000 people. It was an open question for a couple days afterwards if Iowa would be named red or blue. And this division extended right down to the state legislature, the Republicans had a two seat majority in the house, and both parties had an equal number of people in the Senate. So I don't consider Iowa as much a red state, maybe it'd be more accurate to call it a purple or light red state.

JesseG 18:43, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

I deleted the following text:

The color associations have crept into other areas as well; during the 2004 pre-election debates, Democrat John Kerry wore a blue necktie, while Republican George W. Bush wore a red one.

There are plenty of images out there showing both candidates wearing red and blue ties at the debates. See: [1] and [2]

-- Friedo 09:51, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I added that text. I seemed to remember that Kerry wore a blue tie and Bush a red for the first two debates; looking at those articles, though, I guess I was mistaken. Thanks for the correction! --bdesham 15:59, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

2000 election?

Does anyone know where one could find a map for the 2000 election?

Try U.S. presidential election, 2000. HTH! --bdesham 22:22, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for that. Also, the David Brooks article requires you to subscribe.

Alternating red and blue?

If there is an authoritative standard which all networks, newspapers, and pollsters agree on before the election, I've never heard of it. There may be an individual source which uses this "fair" methodology, but other outlets seem to use either the coin-toss approach or stick with red for Republicans (rather than call Democrats "Reds"). Either way, this claim needs backing up. --Dhartung | Talk 20:18, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

FWIW I do clearly recall a year where at least one outlet had the colors reversed from the convention. Given the current colloquial trend to refer to "blue states" and "red states" (such as resulting from this election, I wonder if the table will hold true in 2008 (when incumbent would flip to blue according to the chart, meaning GOP would be blue and dems red). The traditional identification of Dems as the "blue collar party" would also seem to push to blue.
Now, there is no attribution for the source of the table. Someone somewhere must officially follow this convention (e.g. New York Times), and in turn, perhaps, most everyone else follows whatever they do. It's not like there's a Election Reporting Regulatory Agency that sets these things. - [[User:KeithTyler|Keith D. Tyler [flame]]] 20:48, Dec 14, 2004 (UTC)

The first political campaign in which I worked was 1972. That year I watched NBC almost exclusively, and the color state map was in full use. However, blue was the color for the Republicans and red was the color for the Democrats. NBC continued this color scheme without any kind of change until at least 1992. There was no universal standard amongst the networks. In fact, I remember that ABC during at least one election (1972 or 1976) used YELLOW for one of the parties and blue for the other, though I don't remember which was which.

It is amusing to read and listen on TV to the commentators whose memories only go back five years. The now-ubiquitous terms "red state" and "blue state" only became possible in 2000, which was the first year that that all the major networks were alligned with the same color scheme. Anyone using those terms prior to 2000, outside of the confines of a network studio covering a presidential election, would have been greeted with confused stares.

The liberal media knew it would be too ironic for Democrats to be red, so they gave the communist color to eeevil Republicans, starting with Reagan. --Haizum μολὼν λαβέ 08:06, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

I too have heard people claim that Red and Blue were used alternatingly. Each year a different color would designate the party in office. In 2000 this meant Blue was the Democrats. In 2004 this meant that Red would be the Republicans. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Pennyjw (talkcontribs)

  • Well, Penny, I'm sure it's not your fault, but you're just plain ignorant on the history of this topic. Unschool 19:06, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Still, when it comes to left vs right, communists and democrats are both on the left, so surely they oughtta share the color red if anyone's going to.

Comment by J. Gilman, Orange County, CA:

Whoever wrote the "I'm sure it's not your fault" comment is the one who is uninformed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:42, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

The history is clear -- Red is the color most associated with socialist/communist nations, and blue is not. Election maps used to have Republican states in Blue, and Democrat states in RED. Obviously, someone finally made the connection that while Democrats are more like Socialists than they are like Free Enterprise Capitalists, that using RED as their color hammered home that idea in a way that needed to be corrected. So they changed the colors, in an effort to confuse the issue, at the same time the use of Democrat party was shunned, and Democratic party was adopted, all in an effort to make the Democrat party appear less like Dixiecrats and Socialists, and more like main stream members of our Republic, which many confuse with a pure democracy, which it is not.

Blue was the color of Republican states, period. It was changed for obvious reasons. If an effort to make Democrat states RED, there would be a howl from the democrats that it would be confusing, unfair, unnecessary, etc., all covering the real issue -- RED is the proper color for Democrats, but they don't like the socialist tag, even though it describes their programs and policy ideas. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:39, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Edit by

I don't think this edit was beneficial. First, it removed noteworthy info about demographics between the blue and red states, also the new version removes the intent of mentioning Pennsylvania -- as an example rather than to include it. 0 [[User:KeithTyler|Keith D. Tyler [flame]]] 07:22, Dec 19, 2004 (UTC)


I moved this article because it's generally policy at Wikipedia not to have dashes in the title of an article, but anything without a dash might be good.--naryathegreat 01:58, Dec 20, 2004 (UTC)


The article as it was written was misleading and in some cases just flat-out false. There was no such incumbency convention. There was no standard among news outlets. I have pasted the table here, in case anyone has a use for it. It reflects no reality I am aware of. The only comment I could find on the Federal Review website[3] suggests a tradition that I doubt. It certainly does not offer the analysis that our article referred to, so I have dropped that reference until someone can provide a direct link. For the moment, I have left the reference to the Barnicle-Begala conversation, though as written it suggested an insight that far predated Barnicle.

I also rewrote the whole to avoid the senseless repetition. I would like to hear from Naryathegreat where this policy on hyphenated titles is spelled out, as I think Red state-blue state divide was a better title, and would support moving it back, and then sorting out the serious redirect issues. Surely there are many pages with hyphens in the titles.
Ford 14:25, 2005 Feb 11 (UTC)

Year Incumbent Party Incumbent Color
1976 Republican Blue
1980 Democratic Red
1984 Republican Blue
1988 Republican Red
1992 Republican Blue
1996 Democratic Red
2000 Democratic Blue
2004 Republican Red
I provided a reference for this table in the edit summary when I added it, it's here: [4]. If it doesn't match the color assignments that were actually used, could you perhaps provide a table that does? Or references for the fact that there wasn't a standard at all? Bryan 08:08, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I am not editing at present, but in response to this direct question, I will note that the reference you provide cites as his only reference a guy named “Petey” (that’s it, just Petey), who cites no references himself but simply says “all serious political junkies” know what he claims. He claims this: “Since the advent of color TV, all networks have used the same color scheme in any one year.”[5] I have been watching returns since 1988, and can state for a fact that this is false. I know from personal experience that all networks have not used the same color scheme in any one year. If you think Petey is a trustworthy source you are welcome to change the article back, and I will not revert. It will, however, be factually inaccurate.
Ford 13:13, 2005 Feb 27 (UTC)
I'd think "Red states and blue states" would be the most fitting title; frankly. The reader doesn't come here to discuss the polarity or "divide" of American politics; that is best served by other articles that have nothing to do with color and is a topic that certainly predates the common use of these terms. No, the reader comes here specifically because they want to read about this talk of "red states" and "blue states" that people in the U.S. have been babbling about lately. - Keith D. Tyler [flame] 19:51, Feb 11, 2005 (UTC)

‘Red states and blue states’ would be fine. I agree with part of your statement, but like it or not the discussion in the United States has taken on this form. I find it inaccurate, because the political and cultural divide does not follow state boundaries. But that is how people want to talk about things at present. Fait accompli.
Ford 20:19, 2005 Feb 11 (UTC)

While that's of course true; they are only new terms for old concepts. The only difference that these terms provide is a sense of communal identity in a pseudonational sense. As for the inaccuracy of these concepts... well, I could go on about that for quite some time, and I think it has less to do with politics or with fuzzy understanding of geography than it does with our illogical tendency to etch political boundaries in stone without regard for the reality of the people living within and across those boundaries. See Nine Nations of North America et al. Certainly Eastern Washington does not remotely consider itself a "blue state", but Western Washington certainly does. Of course, that is because they are for all cultural intents and purposes already two different states. - Keith D. Tyler [flame] 20:42, Feb 11, 2005 (UTC)

I stand by qualification of Blue Laws as being religious in nature and not merely conservative. The article on Blue law itself clearly supports this qualification. - Keith D. Tyler [flame] 21:36, Feb 11, 2005 (UTC)

Not a big deal, but ‘cultural’ includes religious, and in my experience of usage, blue laws are broader than those mentioned in our article. I’ll give way on ‘cultural’, but not ‘socialist’, since the Democratic Party is in fact socialist in the sense used elsewhere in the world, and red is as much associated with socialism as with communism or Communism. Incidentally, I found ‘Nine nations’ intriguing when I read it many years ago. Glad to see it is still read and discussed.
Ford 21:51, 2005 Feb 11 (UTC)
In the political colors page, it notes that blue is the international color of conservatism, which makes a stronger case than the blue laws argument. Also, while the Democratic Party is left-leaning by American standards, it is far from socialist according to world standards, by which it is considered a liberal or centrist party. Khanartist 23:11, 2005 Feb 26 (UTC)
Plain and simple; blue was stolen from the Republicans. --Haizum μολὼν λαβέ 08:08, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Cleanup -- Steve Sailer

While an article about Sailer's rather ideosyncratic (as is typical of him) analysis would be fine, it has not entered mainstream discourse about the red/blue states. Thus, I am moving it to the article about Steve Sailer, where it belongs. This article needs to be better fleshed out, because as it is, it is essentially just a map, dictionary definition and a conservative writer's own views about race, natality and voting. --Zantastik 00:26, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Accuracy dispute

As disputed earlier, for some reason the chart of the incumbency theory was added back into the article. Before 2000, I DID NOT see a common color designation between all the networks. Different networks used red or blue randomly for the Republicans or Democrats.

From 2000 and beyond, about every year Republicans are Red and Democrats are blue, not just in presidential elections.

I am 80% sure that in the 2008 election (probably George Allen vs. Hillary Clinton), Republicans will continue to be red and the Democrats will continue to be blue. Andros 1337 01:55, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

NPR's show, Fresh Air, had a segment today (May 17th, 2005) at the end of the program about the origin of the red state/blue state thing. According to the guy on NPR, the colored states started out with the broadcast networks in the 1992 presidential election and eventually caught on. If you want to hear it you can find Fresh Air by going to Hope this helps. ----Orporg

The use of colored states definitely goes back beyond 1992. I am certain that it was used during the 1980s. In fact, I remember one of the TV guys talking about Minnesota being a "red drop in a sea of blue," or something close to that, in the 1984 election. Funnyhat 03:07, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

And I guess I'm a bit older than Funnyhat. The color map was being used at least as far back as 1972, with the barely discernable slip of red in the northeast where Massachusetts stood defiant against the other 49 states, all blue for Nixon. Unschool 01:33, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

Here is the best map I have seen on the subject.

It's from the page below

It's an election map of 2004 based on the amount of electoral votes for each state. It also gives information regarding the 2000 election. I'm not sure if this is copywrited. If it isn't, I think it would be relative.

Definitely copyrighted. It says "New York Times" right in the bottom corner. That actually seems to be a map of poll results from before the 2004 election, not actually election results, BTW. Gwalla | Talk 19:40, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

My addition in "purple states"

I'm the one who added the last paragraph to the section about purple states. I believe the last sentence to be a nice lead-in to polarization. -Amit

Removed disputed table

It looks like this article has been disputed without any sort of move towards a resolution for a couple of months. I've removed the disputed table (and the disputed tag). It seems to me that it's not even relevant to the article, even if it's factually accurate; the article is about the divide, not the origin of the names. I suppose it's interesting to know, but I don't think it's important enough to keep this article disputed.

Anyone disagrees, I'd be happy to talk about it here. —Cleared as filed. 01:04, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

That table was flat out incorrect. In 1996 and previous years, the media did NOT have common color associations between all the networks. No, not all the networks used blue for Republican and red for Democrat in 1996. Plus, on non-presidential elections used between the 2000 and 2004 elections, Red was used for Republican candidtates and blue for Democratic candidates. I expect Republicans to continue being red and Democrats to continue being blue. Andros 1337 15:36, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Charles, I disagree. For starters, the articles for "Blue state" and "Red state" point to this page. Non-Americans aren't going to know what a "blue state" or a "red state" is -- in fact, many I've spoken to insist that these color associations are backwards (red is a color usually used by radical leftists, blue is a color usually used by conservative parties -- for the latter, see examples such as Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party of Canada, Liberal Party of Australia (which is in fact rightist)).
This article unfortunately ends up trying to explain two notions -- the somewhat geographic liberal/conservative split in America, as well as the terms "blue state" and "red state" and their origin and usage. So ultimately, both topics are relevant here.
As for the table, it is being misconstrued by its opponents. No, there are of course no common conventions that apply to all media outlets. Media isn't regulated like that in America. Media outlets are free to use whatever colors they want. They could use purple and orange-yellow if they wanted to. That doesn't mean there aren't a lot of outlets that don't end up using the same convention, especially if it stems from a respected and influential member of the news community. I'm pretty sure the article pointed out that the table was a general convention, not a hard and fast rule. If we can get our heads around the definition of convention as it differs from requirement, we'll all be happier about the table. - Keith D. Tyler 19:34, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
Looking back at the article, I agree that "red state" and "blue state" could use a little more explanation. However, I don't see that the disputed table is necessary for that. In fact, I think it confuses the issue; post-2000, red states and blue states refer to specific parties and it's unlikely the media will fiddle with that in the near future. I don't think that the history/background of why the media used to color states the way it did is relevant to the article. What matters is what they represent now. We should take a hack at expanding that in the article. —Cleared as filed. 19:41, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
Okay, I have taken a first stab at an introduction that better explains where red and blue states came from. It looks a little rough, so I welcome any suggestions or cleanup... any thoughts? Does it seem reasonable to you, Keith? —Cleared as filed. 20:07, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
I submit my rewording, trying to clearly unobfuscate the reasons and basis for the red/blue terms. - Keith D. Tyler 00:45, July 19, 2005 (UTC)
I liked your revisions. I've made some changes, including rewording that second paragraph, which I thought was kind of oddly worded and unclear. Hopefully it's satisfactory to everyone... —Cleared as filed. 01:37, July 19, 2005 (UTC)
Pong. Some minor points: it's not only real-time election results that use colored state maps, and we shouldn't go overboard trying to define winner take all because that is what the winner take all page is for. And then I realized that this isn't actually accurate; the fact is that most states do have a winner-take-all system, though in actuality not all do, and not necessarily by the same reasoning. But I think this intro is getting a lot better, so... yay collaboration! :) .... Actually, the more I twiddled that paragraph, the more I felt I needed to hack at. What do you think now? - Keith D. Tyler 18:30, July 19, 2005 (UTC)
I like it content-wise. I've made a couple of little changes to the wording, how's it look? —Cleared as filed. 20:54, July 19, 2005 (UTC)

Blue-Red reversed?

Shouldn't this article reflect the fact that the sense of "red" and "blue" was reversed until recently? TV coverage of elections, until recently, used to indentify blue with elephant Repubs and red with "flaming red" donkey Democrats. Several articles about this below.

I'm surprised someone hasn't added it. Fuzheado | Talk 05:27, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

There used to be something in the article, but its factual accuracy was disputed and it's not actually that important to understanding the red state-blue state divide. "Red" and "blue" weren't really reversed until recently; they seem to have been more or less randomly assigned. Some people think it had something to do with incumbancy. In any case, I still think it's not relevant to the article. —Cleared as filed. 05:52, July 28, 2005 (UTC)


An encyclopedia is suppose to cover the history of a topic. The history of blue vs red has always been blue republicans, and red democrats. I really think it is part of the yin and yang of the universe. Red being the "fire" or redical color and blue of course being the blue color.

Imagine the fignt if one color was black and the other white? Black is associated with negative and evil...The democrats would definatley not want this.

Then why did the media change the dems to blue and the republicans to red? Doing this would be like the media changing the blue in the flag to red and the stripes to blue...

Why? You know the answer...The left is way better at subversion than any right winger could dream.

1+1=3 and know.

I have to strongly insist that the fact that it was not until the 2004 election, not 2000, that the conservatives were called red... And that the reason is due to the liberal media biais.

If GE was placing subliminal messages on the TV, you would want this to be pointed out...right?

If you want to contact me about

  • Thanks for your input on this Adam8675. My recollection is that the colors were never really settled and not at all important (tho tended toward red=Dem) until the 2000 election, when the whole thing landed butter-side down, so to speak. --Tysto 05:44, 2005 August 16 (UTC)








  • There's no need to shout and no need to add anything more to the article. It already acknowledges the reversal of colors in recent years, complete with citations. Like it or not, "red state" and "blue state" have a certain meaning to the American public and this article explains it in a neutral manner. --Tysto 16:53, 2005 August 16 (UTC)
  • Seeing as how you're already red' with anger, Adam, you shouldn't be blue about the article. - Keith D. Tyler

Who is the Head Honcho here? Tyler, O'Neil...Quien? How can I formally protest the content of this article? Many of the editions and comments should not be on the comment page but on the article page. Such as the HISTORY of the blue v red, many external articles, etc...As many have pointed out, the republicans have always been blue...and, once again it was not until 2004, not 2000 that red and blue was flip flopped. I really feel that due to the nature of acedemia, the power of subliminal subversion, and the lust for those wishing to cannonize an orchestrated, annomally for purley political reasons. This is much more profound than the the "polarization" sub-theme.

Once again, how do I formally contest this article? The only addition I want is: In 2004 for an unknow reason, the mieda reversed the long standing color designations of "Red" as Democrats and "Blue" as Republican. Oh yeah, everyone typing here, including me, get back to work!

  • Please review the citations at the top of this section. Your memory is faulty. You can make any change you like to the article, but without citations that others can check, someone else will change it to what is actually known to be historical fact. And the fact is that in the 2000 election George W Bush was generally assigned the color red in most of the television media, which gave rise to many red-state-blue-state jokes and news stories[6] for four years. Not to mention websites., .net, .org,, .net, and .org were all registered well before November 2004. Here is an excellent page [7] created immediately after the 2000 election (note the copyright 2000 notice and the gray states that were still undetermined) that not only shows the distribution of votes in different ways, but preserves example maps from the CNN and NBC websites. --Tysto 03:52, 2005 August 30 (UTC)
  • I do agree that the decision to remove the table was a bad one. The justification was that the table did not reflect a universal standard. Of course, there *is* no universal standard. What it did reflect was *a* standard that seemed to be followed by many news organizations. And by doing so, it cleared up misconceptions like the above, who believe that all US media outlets have always used color X for party Y. - Keith D. Tyler 20:45, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
  • I think the main issue is that even if the table had been factually accurate, which was disputed, knowing how the media randomly assigned the colors in the past doesn't tell you anything about the "red state vs. blue state divide," which is the name of the article. And certainly conspiracy theories of the type expanded upon above have no place in the article. —Cleared as filed. 00:29, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
It's so obvious the back stage liberals stole blue from the Republicans because red is just too similar to their agenda. --Haizum μολὼν λαβέ 08:12, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

The reason the repubs are red and the dems are blue is simple evolution. The dems have a problem with red because it has been associated with communism. The repubs don't mind because they are clearly the party of capitalism, and the association of the color is not confusing.

Refer for example to the recent protest outside of the republican 2008 convention where signs were carried stating "fight capitalism". If you adopt most of the precepts of communism (capitalisim is bad, collective/social policies are good, etc) but you don't wish to be associated with communism, then you don't want to be red. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:16, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Back in late sixties, I played a 3M bookshelf game called Mr. President that ruined me on red and blue. The Republicans were blue and the Democrats were red, and (for me) that's what has stuck. --Srnelson, 6 October 2008 —Preceding undated comment was added at 19:39, 6 October 2008 (UTC).

Civil War References

--Ampersand 01:26, 22 June 2006 (UTC)==Image:USA Map 1864 including Civil War Divisions.png==

Red means "Confederate" instead of "Republican"?

I find this image misleading. Since the point of this article is that "red state" has come to mean "dominated by Republicans," this map suggests that the South was a Republican stronghold during the Civil War, which, of course, is exactly wrong. I don't see how this map helps clarify the subject of the article. If it's just meant to show that America has long been divided, then maybe blue and gray would be more suitable colors. --Tysto 21:24, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

  • What it indicates is not a historic party split but a progressive / conservative split. The characterization of ideologies of what are now the Republican and Democratic parties have not stayed constant since 1861. Your characterization of the article only in terms of parties focuses on the superficialities of party names rather than the underlying symptoms (which the article does address) of the ideological split which drives the manifested party split. Keith D. Tyler 20:33, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

Hi all,

I created a different Civil War map based on standard colors (grey, blue) and with proper territorial borders. It has been reverted a couple times to the aforementioned red/blue map. I changed it for a final time here and on the US Civil War page, since the topic has come up again. None of us wants to engage in pointless revert wars. So let us discuss which (if any) maps to use and finish this subject once and for all. My objection to the red/blue one is that it implies that Republicans are like Confederates (with the obvious negative characteristics that go with it). I think that is quite poisonous to discourse. In addition, the other map does not have the proper bounderies of that time. I hope that we can come to an understanding. I invite all viewpoints contrary to mine to comment here. --Ampersand 01:26, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Forgive my presumption, but this Civil War stuff seemed to need its own section. 03:30, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

  • Help me out here. What is all this Civil War stuff doing in here? That the US is headed in that direction again? Please. The divisions of 150 years ago were based upon regions that were culturally homogeneous and geographically contiguous. This is completely irrelevant to the current situation. Does anyone with an IQ over 80 seriously believe our current divide could result in a secession crisis? Puleeeze. I move that this section be completely removed from an article that describes our current political situation in the US. Unschool 03:55, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

    • Unschool is right, the Civil War stuff is junk and does not belong in Wikipedia. Rjensen 05:05, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

it more appropriate to have red as republican because the confederate flag is mostly red. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:01, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Including information about the 1996 election

Including the information on the 1996 election in the way that it's been added lately makes no sense; the red state vs. blue state divide is about the chism in the country following the polarizing 2000 and 2004 elections. Later in the article (under The Divide subheader where other history is included), it may make sense to use 1996 data to show how the divide only really formed post-Clinton. But the information that I've removed didn't belong where it was. It doesn't show that polarization has been around a long time, because obviously both the north and south came together behind Clinton. —Cleared as filed. 02:47, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

The polarization was around in the 1980, 1984, and 1988 elections. Running a candidate from Arkansas was the exception that proved the rule for the Democrats. I don't see that this article should show only the present climate and not the red state vs. blue state divide in each of the most recent elections, not only the very last one.

The 1984 election? Reagan won every state except Minnesota. Exceptions don't prove rules, they disprove them. The polarization as it exists today was obviously not what was going on pre-2000. —Cleared as filed. 03:08, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
Yes, but it's worth noting that Reagan won the "red states" by larger margins than the "blue states". DanBishop 02:28, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
No. Not really, no it isn't (worth noting, I mean). Unschool 12:08, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Arguments for Red=Republican and Blue=Democrat

It is worth noting arguments for the selection of red as Republican and blue as Democrat. Note that many of these are speculative. Even if these arguments are a valid reason to assign the colors this way, they may not necessarily have been the reasons why the media chose these colors in the 2000 and 2004 elections.

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. However, not all media outlets followed this rule.

2. The words "Republican" and "red" start with the letter R, making an easy to remember mnemonic.

3. The Republican party historically has strong support in rural areas, where some people are perjoratively called "rednecks."

4. The Democratic party historically has strong support from unionized workers, often called "blue collar" workers.

5. The so-called blue states tend to be adjacent to large bodies of water (the Altantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Great Lakes). This is probably because Democrats have their greatest support in urban areas, which can only exist where a sufficient source of water is located for drinking and commerce. Blue is usually used to indicate bodies of water on maps.

6. There is great inertia to continue using this coloring scheme, now that the terms "red states" and "blue states" have entered common usage in American English.

7. In the MLB and NFL sports leagues, the older league/conference is color coded blue and the younger league/conference is color coded red. As the Democrats are the older of the two parties, and the ironically named Grand Old Party is actually the younger of the two parties, it thus makes sense for the older Democratic party to be blue and the younger Republican party to be red. 15:38, 14 September 2007 (UTC) 00:42, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Those are terribly weak points. --Haizum μολὼν λαβέ 08:13, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Congratulations, that was the most arbitrary, self justifying list I have ever seen.

I would posit the idea that the assignment of colors, RED for the Republican Party / BLUE for the Democratic Party, might derive from the dominant color used in each of the parties' logos. I have no documentation as such, merely speculation on my part. I would welcome any sources that might back this idea for presentation.
- Scratchmark 00:49, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

I see no problem with calling the Republicans "red", because they are historically a liberal party, formed from the "Whigs", which in the UK are now called the Liberal Democrats. --The Four Deuces 11:49, 17 October 2007 (UTC)


I have removed the current map in favor of the previous one. The new map is very confusing (no explanation for why Kansas is pink) and wrong (Nevada was not a state until after the war) and uses colors that are not in line with public perception (blue and gray are standard colors used to depict the conflict). Until an argument is mounted against the older map, the reversion should stand. (Full Disclosure: I created the former map) --Ampersand

County Map

The map that shows the vote per county is really irrelevant. a) It does not show population proportions b) it does not impact electoral college. Should it be removed?

It's entirely relevant to the article topic. - Keith D. Tyler 18:26, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Please explain. The article deals with red vs blue states, not counties. The electoral vote for each state is decided by popular vote in each state. If you want to show the percentage of republican voters

vs democratic voters per state, shouldn't each state be a shade of purple? Counties have nothing to do with it.

It illustrates that red-statedness or blue-statedness is not a statewide phenomenon, but an accumulation of regional voting tendencies that work indifferent to state lines. A county total map is more or less the lowest and simplest available method of illustrating this. (Though frankly an even better one would show major cities in addition to counties.) - Keith D. Tyler 17:51, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Strong red state?

I'm curious as to the criteria of which "strong red" states were selected. While North Carolina, for instance, has been voting republican in national elections since Johnson (not carter), the middle section of the state is democratic in the extreme. Moreover as some research points out: it is often a pretty close race in NC. The state government usually has democratic governers, state representatives, and state senators. The middle part of the state sends reliably democratic representatives to the house (with the exception of '94). Recent elections of Burr and Dole had more to do with the ineffectiveness of the opposing candidate and some remaining Clinton backlash combined with issues around tobacco and agriculture interests than republican sentiment per se. (Bowles irritated his base with disinjenuous anti-pork "a Iowa...comeon'" ads and little else). A fairly recent work by Paul Luebeck (one time represnetative from the state and professor at UNC) has characterized the states politics as more of a clash between traditional (mill/agricultural) interests and development/business (tech, chemical, pharm., real estate) interests. The alignment of the parties locally is more around these issues and the national somewhat fractures with these (local republican candidates are more likely to advocate trade protection than national candidates due to alignment with the textile workers). While the whole blue/red state thing is a gross simplification, I feel a mere characterization of "strong" vs "weak" doesn't even match the numbers (would a strong red state be won by only 5%?).

If it consistently votes conservative, then I'd gather it's a strong red state. It's clearly not a swing state. Overall, it's a conservative one, however proud or loyal its statewide minority party population is. - Keith D. Tyler 17:53, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

I might point out by your definition there are only swing states and strong red states... You're also missing that the middle part of the state which is probably one of the darkest blue parts outside of the northeast. Reboot 16:02, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

No, I was specifically referring to strong red states as the OP was referring to. There are clearly strong blue states -- MA, RI, DC, CA, WA, MN, etc.

Speculation on future colors


It seems unlikely, now that all the major media outlets are operating "on the same page", that the current pattern will be changed. There are still many non-broadcast sources (encyclopedias, government publications, textbooks) which still utilize other color schemes (the most common actually being the complete reversal of the current standard), but it seems likely that, eventually, even they will change to the current dichotomy.

This was reverted as opinion, and restored as factual. I tend to agree with the former. Note the repeated use of the term "seems likely". This is a speculation, not a provable fact. Should be replaced with something such as:

  • a reputable, notable source on the matter who says this
  • a statement from a media outlet that they intend to use the same color scheme from noe on
  • some concrete evidence that the pattern has normalized to these colors

- Keith D. Tyler 22:30, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Third-party colors

Third-party candidates rarely win any states, but media outlets are prepared with other arbitrary colors for noteworthy third party showings, such as green for the Green party and white for Reform party.

What's the source for this? Also, what color does the Libertarian Party get? --Lukobe 01:18, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

On what few occasions they get noticed: Yellow. Constitution Party tends to be brown or orange, though Libertarians also seem to like those colours. 22:39, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

All-Democratic Congressional delegations

I spotted these two sentences in the "The Divide" section (third and fourth paragraphs, respectively), the latter of which seems to confuse the former:

Of special note is North Dakota, which is solidly red in presidential elections but has an all-Democrat Congressional delegation. ... In addition, Massachusetts is the only large state to have an all-Democratic Congressional delegation.

If the key is that Massachusetts is a "large" state with an all-Democratic delegation and North Dakota is by implication not, maybe there's a way to word that differently? It reads a little bit contradictory to me, at least at first glance. Not sure what the right answer is here but I thought I'd throw it out there. sldownard 20:54, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Choice of color

I have eliminated two sentences from the Choice of Color section because both of them (one which pointed to a source, the other which was uncorroborated) were factually incorrect, insofar as they failed to recognize the lack of universal color schemes prior to the 2000 presidential election. The writers (even the source given) were essentially providing their own perception. But these perceptions are demonstrably false. There was never "a" color scheme that made the incumbents one color, because the networks were not in agreement (prior to 2000). Unschool 03:09, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Images reversed?

Shouldn't the two images at the top be reversed? The one at the top says that it is from the 2004 election, and the one on bottom says 2000. In my view, it should be reversed so people can properly see the changes. I am going to go ahead and change them. Later!!!

A Couple of Issues

1. The inclusion of the Civil War map is wholly irrelevant.

2. The reference to "states rights" is totally inappropriate and inaccurate. Both of these smack of POV from a disgruntled "blue stater" who wants to tar the "red states" with the issue of issue that has been settled for 140 years.

3. Most importantly...I believe the primary focus of the article should be, as denoted by the district-by-district or county-by-county maps, on the divide between urban areas and the rest of the country. That is where the real fault line lies. If you removed NYC from NY, it would have gone for Bush. If you had removed LA and SF from CA, it would have gone for Bush. This divide is the central fact of the whole issue.

4. Just my own recollection prior to 2000 had always been of the Republicans represented by blue and the Democrats by red, as is the case in practically every other western democracy. I have no idea why the media collectively chose this format in 2000, although I suspect it was ideological, and I think a return to the normal colors in the future could actually serve in some small way to psychologically defuse some of this polarization.

Historical United States presidential election maps

I was a bit surprised to find that this article does not link or refer to the rather interesting page, United States presidential election maps. Among other things, it lets readers judge for themselves how permanent or ephemeral the "divide" is. (For those too lazy to look: since DC got added in '64, it is the only one to go the same "colour" every time.) Perhaps someone could work in a suitable link. (For myself, I avoid editing US political articles!) -- Securiger 09:41, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Interesting. I may add this. --Lukobe 18:59, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Shifting states

Only three states shifted in these two elections. Actually, five states shifted. Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, New Mexico, and New Hampshire. Should I add something like: Only five states shifted in these two elections. (Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, New Mexico, and New Hampshire)?

Change in wording

"Affluent" could be misleading, as it fails to denote any specific income range. Statistics have shown that while the large majority of people making over $200,000 a year vote Republican, a plurality of people making seventy five to one hundred thousand dollars a year vote Democrat. It is a matter of opinion as to how much wealth constitues "affluence." To fix this problem, I changed the wording to "The very wealthiest of Americans." 19:27, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Blatant POV that should be completely reworded

"While the Democratic Party tends to represent labor interests, the Republican Party tends to represent the interests of employers and businesses." oh, really?...Justice III 14:21, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

There is probably a better way to express this, but there are policy differences and coalition differences between the parties. Shouldn't they be detailed? Why is this blantantly POV? The Democratic Party is far friendlier to organized labor than the Republican Party, and the Republican Party is far friendlier to business. Still A Student 19:03, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
It may or may not be POV, we just need it to be sourced. JPotter 19:33, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Sourcing is easy, and I agree, helpful. Among the huge number of sources that systematically catalog and document the primary policy differences between the parties:
  • James L. Sundquist, Dynamics of the Party System: Alignment and Realignment of Political Parties in the United States. Brookings: 1983.
  • Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal, Congress: A Political-Economic History of Roll-Call Voting. Oxford: 1997
  • Nolan McCarty, Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal, Polarized America: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches MIT: 2006
  • John Gerring, Party Ideologies in America, 1828-1996 Cambridge: 1998.
But Justice III isn't saying it's unsourced, but that it's POV.
Still A Student 19:46, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

OK. Two things: a) I think the current rewording by Unschool is fine (though his edit summary could have been somewhat less, uh, patronizing) & b) No, I don't think it really needs any other references, as most people know about the color-ideology relationship. The problem I had with this part was just about wording. So the "sources" that were added should be removed or at least replaced, since they're both from partisan websites that really are just not good references for an encyclopedia. Justice III 21:00, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

POV = Wiki taking sides in a dispute. Here it is simply reporting--and it's not a dispute just a simple statement of party positions. no pov. 21:02, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Map coloring

I'm surprised I'm the only one bringing this up, I understand that maps and graphs have keys, but does anyone else find it really odd that for the 1996 elections map (red vs. blue) that it has Democrats as being red, and Republicans as being blue? And the fact that there is a difference between the 2000 and 1996 maps as far as color representation goes. --MikeDawg 14:01, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Using polls to determine redness and blueness

I think it rather silly to use public opinion polls to determine blueness or redness of a state. The use of this kind of information also leads to the need to update it regularly--monthly or even weekly. The current version, which I am about to delete, includes a poll from August of 2005. Just silly.

I think what we need to do is to simply refer to electoral results. Period. The article will contain much less speculation this way. Unschool 17:50, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Opening Pictures

I'd just like to say I think it's absurd that there's not a map of the 2004 election at the opening of this article, given that '04's contest best epitomizes the current divide. The presence of the 1996 map, detailing an election that took place before the Red State/Blue State schism began (and what's more, in incorrect colors) is completely irrelevant and inappropriate at the beginning of the article. This is political correctness (or something else) gone mad.

SwedishConqueror 02:12, 28 September 2006 (UTC)SwedishConqueror

California's Economy

Hello, I just removed the following from the article:

(Although California is assumed to be a blue state, agriculture is the largest industry.)

This would seem to directly contradict Economy of California, which states that electronic exports of $40bn were greater than total agricultural revenue of $32bn, suggesting that agriculture is in fact dwarfed by manufacturing. If someone has a citation that agriculture is California's largest industry, please add it to this article and to Economy of California. Cheers, Vectro 07:36, 28 October 2006 (UTC)


Maybe an interim update with the 2006 election results would be appropriate? Or would this be misleading, as many usually Republican districs likely switched to Democratic only because of their disappointment with the current developments, and not due to a larger trend? —Nightstallion (?) 15:49, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

Solving the red/blue reversal of 2000

Mystery solved. Really. The 2000 Bush/Gore "county-by-county" election map printed in USA Today was the most visible red republican/blue democrat map of the election period. And was an admittedly-accidental (see below) reversal of the historic dem-red, blue-republican color scheme.

Do you remember the BUSH COUNTRY t-shirts and bumper stickers? They were reproductions of "county-by-county" maps. This important distinction (not the state-v-state maps) has been forgotten in the intervening years (the county-v-county map powerfully showed a sea of rural "red") .

During the Nov-Dec 12, 2000 election dispute, it was the USAT county-v-county map that was repeatedly held up on TV by conservatives "proving" that the country really wanted Bush. Paul Begala and other dems countered that unfortunately the election wasn't decided by square mileage but by votes-...touché

USA Today's historic Bush/Gore county-by-county map illustration would be used on many of the network news programs as well as such wide-ranging media as MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, Live with Regis, CNBC news, and The Rush Limbaugh Show Web site. (Limbaugh noted the accidental color "reversal" at the time and had the USAT map on his website for many months) other republican/conservative groups made T-shirts of the county-v-county map throughout the months-long election dispute.

The Post article is interesting in that it concludes that most outlets were using the old scheme (red-Dem : blue-Repub) in Nov., 2000, but reversed by the time of the Dec. 12, 2000 Supreme Court: Florida v. Gore decision. This was the power of the one holdout(or screwup!!) -USA Today ( NBC's was the only other match with USAT )

I called the Post author -a Style section writer, not a politics reporter-, fuming that he had omitted USA Today's obvious central role in the mystery. The mystery is that the powerful county-by-county map had been forgotten in the intervening 4 years before Farhi wrote his Post article.

In the Thursday edition following the 2000 election, Paul Overberg, database editor at USA Today scooped AP, The NYT and the Post by delivering the map a day ahead of the others ( all 3 others, AP, Post, Wash Post used the "previously correct/historic" red-Dem, blue-Repub scheme).

Anyway, the accidental coloring of red-Republican, blue-Democrat, (reversing years of history) happened due to USAT's chief cartographer going home early. He left the job to another graphic artist who thought red (the predominant republican area) "stood out more and would look better". The next day it was on every news channel fanning the debate of "who really won the Bush-Gore" election.

Dmapdude 21:59, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

Voter News Service

I thought it was the Voter News Service that decided on the Blue = Democrat, Red = Republican coding convention that was used when publishing the results of the 2000 election. Considering what a mess the vote counting in that election turned out to be, including premature VNS projections that could have affected the outcome, I'm surprised they didn't scrap everything, including the color scheme, that might have reminded people of it. (talk) 00:45, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Electoral College Section

The entire section on the Electoral College needs to be deleted. Regardless of the cogency of the statements in that section, none of this belongs in the Red/Blue article. Debates of the impact of the EC or its replacement with another system belong elsewhere. Nothing in this section would not better be placed in United States Electoral College.

I am sure that this opinion will not be universally held, so I await comments before making this deletion. Unschool 11:25, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

Mason Dixon line

There should be a mention of how the Mason Dixon line often divides blue and red states in the Eastern US, such that blue states correspond geographically to the former "free states" while red states correspond to the former "slave states." Not a POV thing, its a fact, just look at the maps. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

First of all, sign your posts, please. Secondly, the proper place, if I'm not mistaken, to start new discussion points, is at the bottom of the page, not the top. Anyway, I disagree with you. I do think it's a POV thing. First of all, it's clearly not accurate, because there are significant exceptions to the "rule" (Ohio, NH, Indiana). I also, having discussed it with others in the past, find that persons at the liberal end of the political spectrum seem to "enjoy" the fact that those ignorant Southerners who vote Republican are the "same people" who supported slavery. Well, they're not the same people; the population of the South has swollen tremendously over the past 50 years, including the importation of thousands of Northern Republicans. (Incidentally, when voting on the civil rights legislation of the 1960s, Kennedy and especially Johnson would not have gotten those bills passed without the support of the Republican party leadership.) Secondly, many of the states that vote GOP didn't even exist during the Civil War. Also, the Mason-Dixon line doesn't actually carry out as far even as Illinois, let alone across the plains and Rockies. There's simply no fair point to comparing them, other than for elitist liberals to mock the redneck republicans. Unschool 01:02, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

I don't think either of you realize where the Mason-Dixon Line is. There is a common misconception that this boundary lies between Maryland and Virginia, when in fact it is actually between Maryland and Pennsylvania. The confusion mainly arises from the fact that, while Maryland is a Northern state, it permitted slavery until 1864.

Following the abolition of slavery, the Mason-Dixon Line ceased to be a valid dividing point: both Maryland and Pennsylvania are Northern states, despite being on different sides of the border. The most relevant demarcation to use today is the Potomac River. Maryland, a Blue state, is north of it; while Virginia, a Red state, is to the south.

A mention of the Potomac River would be very pertinent, however, and I welcome it.

SwedishConqueror 17:31, 25 January 2007 (UTC)SwedishConqueror

Removed vandalism

Some vandal entered a line at the top of the page (after intro paragraph) saying "BILL CLINTON ROCKS!!!!" Removed the statement.JimZDP 18:40, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Article name

It strikes me that red states and blue states would be a more natural name.--Pharos 19:45, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

  • I'll second that. Including the word "divide" is unnecessary, and may even be part of the reason that the article has (IMHO) tended to drift away from being a merely descriptive work into an almost argumentative piece. Unschool 20:29, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Please allow me to clarify. The word "divide" is included as part of a popular political commentary on the issue. It is known as the R.S. v. B.S. divide for that reason... not for reasons of insighting Wiki arguments, rather as part of a greater political argument. Thanks. - Eisenmond 21:05, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm just trying to go with the most natural and common phraseology per Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names). The whole idea that there are "red states" and "blue states" of course implies a divide; there's no need to say it twice.--Pharos 21:54, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Exactly. We understand that the word "divide" is part of much commentary today, and has been since the terms "red states and blue states" came into popular use about six years ago. The point is, that you do not need to have the word "divide" in the title to have this discussion. How would the discussion be limited if the article was simply titled "Red States and Blue States"? You could include that concept of the "divide" within the article without it being the sole focus of the article. I mean, there should be an article called Red States and Blue States, without anything else in the title, because it's a significant part of American culture, in of itself. Then, within the article, you could have a section, or even the largest part of the article, be about the divide. Or you could have a second article on the divide. As it stands right now, this is the equivalent of having an article called "Climate in Alaska", without having an article on Alaska itself! The concept of red states and blue states came first, simply from looking at the map, then the analysis came afterwards. Unschool 22:01, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
The greater importance is that the article addresses the political argument regarding the divide. It provides a background, discussion, etc. Renaming the article to Red States and Blue States may gloss over the political importance of the word, and signify that these states are Red or Blue and thusly cannot be changed. The divide, if I may restate, is the key word in drawing attention to the debate. - Eisenmond
Did I read that correctly? You state—Renaming the article to Red States and Blue States may . . . signify that these states are Red or Blue and thusly cannot be changed. Huh? I can't tell if that statement belongs here or here. If there was any possible implications for permanency of these terms (a proposition of infinitesimally demonstrable nature), then the attachment of the word divide would, I submit, intensify that possibility. The title in its current form is redundant and even awkward.Unschool 22:19, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
If this statement of yours is true: The divide . . . is the key word in drawing attention to the debate, then we don't even need to include "red" and "blue" in the title. We can just term it "The American political divide", or, "Left vs. Right Divide" or some such thing. Unschool 22:23, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Agreed - perhaps the title should be changed to "The American Political Divide". That is a great suggestion by Unschool. This does more accurately represent the topic of the page. great idea. Any thoughts? - Eisenmond 15:46, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

I would suggest that this article be moved to red states and blue states. Then political info not relevant to the 2000 paradigm can be spun off to Electoral geography of the United States (see electoral geography).--Pharos 00:40, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Okay, so here's what we can do: Have one very brief article entitled Red States and Blue States, which will simply explain the origins of the term (the wake of the disputed election of 2000), will note that red states are those that voted GOP, blue states voted Dem, and will leave out all analysis of why which states vote which way. Then we get a second article on American Political Geography which will mention (tangentially) that in the US, states that vote Dem are called "blue" and those that vote "GOP" show up as "red", but will devote the vast bulk of the article to an analysis of why each state is how it is, and how things are trending, etc. What sayest thee and thee? 22:52, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
I like this idea. Unschool 03:29, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Support. These terms are acceptable :) - Eisenmond
Support. Who's going to make this happen? Any volunteers? Unschool 02:42, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
OK, but I like "red states and blue states" uncapitalized (per guidelines) and I think we should use "electoral geography" because that's the academic term ("political geography" tends to be used for international relations). Also, I think that the current title should be a redirect to the "red states and blue states" article. Other than that, I agree with the basic division between the articles. I'd volunteer to split them, if that's OK with you folks. Alright?--Pharos 04:01, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Ok by me. And yes, you can do the work. Lent starts in an hour and at my family's behest I am giving up editing for the duration (can I make it so long?). Unschool 04:11, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, I've made a very rough division now with some overlap. Hopefully future refinement will push these two articles along their paths.--Pharos 00:53, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Urban areas voting republican

You should say the county, not the city proper. Again, people seem to confuse county with the city. For example, do you expect ANYONE to believe that Birmingham city proper, which is 3/4 black, voted Republican?

Actually you shouldn't say a city voted for Bush/Kerry either. In most cities, suburbs and small towns each canidate received a sizable portion of votes. Stating that Orange County voted for Bush, is misleading as more than 40% of voters didn't. Stating an area to have voted for one canidate or the other gives the impression of a quasi-unanimous consent, when in most cases the vote was split. There are few exceptions, Birmingham likley being one of them. As for city/county confusion, I agree. When a county and city do not share the same demographics but the same name, it may certainly be appropriate to specify which is being discussed. Regards, Signaturebrendel 03:53, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Very well put, BrendelSignature. I did not make this edit you are speaking of, but I strongly agree with you about speaking in generalities especially when it is politics and voting being discussed.--Lucky Mitch 03:00, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Ideological Demographics

With all respect to the editors who have made a sincere contribution to this article, I must say that this section on Ideological Demographics has to go. Why?

Well, first of all, this is an encyclopedia of general knowledge. This particular section is in reality simply an exposition of one (obviously intelligent) person's analysis. Now I'm not saying that this has no place in Wikipedia, I'm merely saying that this is not the place. An article dealing with a very specific demographic analysis could utilize this person's or institute's viewpoint, citing it as such. The point is, this breakdown in no way represents a consensus viewpoint, but a reader unfamiliar with this subject would probably think that it did.

Secondly, this article's subject is about arguably the greatest generalization in politics in the last 100 years, if not all, of American history. This article should probably (and yes, this is clearly my opinion, nothing more), explain to a casual reader who wondered about the term, what the terms generally mean, and then briefly provide an explanation of why this paradigm may not be entirely useful (hence, the need for the "Purple" sections of the article). I just think that this section goes way beyond the scope of the article. Red and Blue is about Republicans and Democrats. In my (completely irrelevant) opinion, it's a tragic oversimplification of the situation, but it doesn't mean that a full-blown analysis of all of these groups is relevant to this article. Instead, it clearly belongs here. Unschool 03:33, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Non sequitur

When I read the following statement—

Although the Electoral College determines the Presidential election, a true measure of how the country actually voted is best represented by a state-by-state, county-by-county, and district-by-district map.

I became really confused. The use of the singular indefinite article seems completely contradicted by the listing of three types of maps. Yet the singular "map" is used. Is there in fact such a thing as "a state-by-state, county-by-county, and district-by-district map"? What would that look like? How could you read it? I want to change this, but I can't figure out the intent of the writer. Unschool 03:40, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

It just gets worse. When I read the following:
These maps generally shade from red to blue and is more aptly described as a purple map
I realize that this article has simply been plagued by people who are either a bit careless with their grammar, or who perhaps are not native English speakers. I shall try to fix it up a bit. Unschool 03:45, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
The first part you quoted would fall under OR, unless you there's a reference. I think what the person who added these paragraphs tried to say is that it is better to use maps that show election results by county, rather than state. These maps make the country look less divided as they employ different shades of red and blue. A county that was split (55% Kerry vs. 43% Bush) would look a bluish-purple, whereas my neck of the woods (SF Bay Area) is solid blue. You're right - whoever wrote those sentence above didn't express these ideas well. Regards, Signaturebrendel 04:29, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Biggest splits

Bush got the majority of married, while Kerry got the majority of singles.

Bush also got a slight but significant majority of the wealthiest 55% of Americans (by household income). The 22% of middle income folks were evenly split, and Kerry got a clear majority of the poorest 22%.

Looks like the Republican base is married people with money, while the Democratic base is singles and poor people. Can we say this in the article somehow? --Uncle Ed (talk) 16:22, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Not quite. No candidate got over 60% of the $100k+ vote; college grads were split; post-grads favored the Dems slightly & professionals favored the dems by a small margin. So no, its way too much over an over-generalization and gives a misleading impression of the electorate. Signaturebrendel 04:17, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Purple CA.

Maybe something for the Critiques section?:

Salerno, Steve (2008-02-13). "Journalist-bites-reality!". eSkeptic, ISSN 1556-5696. Skeptics Society. Retrieved 2008-02-13. Although California did wind up in the Kerry column in 2004, some 5.5 million Californians voted for George W. Bush. They represented about 45 percent of the state’s total electorate and a much larger constituency in raw numbers than Bush enjoyed in any state he won, including Texas. 

-- Jeandré, 2008-02-13t12:23z

Well, du'h, California has more people than any other state, it probably has more of both, anchro-capitalists and socialists, than any other state. It is, however, a state divided. The S.F. Bay Area, including all suburban areas, are heavily, heavily Democrat - usually around 70%, see Marin County, San Mateo County, etc... Along the central coast it's a similar story - usually at least 60% Dems. Which is why Coastal California has a CPI of D +13, meaning that a Dem will win over a GOP candidate by an average of a 13% margin (even if you include highly conservative Orange County). The story is different in the inland regions however; the San Gabriel Valley, Bakersfield, Fresno, etc... (solid red). Stating CA to be purple is somewhat misleading as it implies that most areas in the state are mixed. Such is, unlike in many areas, such as say, suburban Chicago not the case. CA is geographically segregated. The central coast & Bay Area are truly sloid blue, while the OC & inland areas are solid red. If anything CA's plolitical segregation should be mentioned - overall, though, the state is reliably Democrat - so much so that candidates often don't run ads here during the general election. Signaturebrendel 02:47, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Last line about media bias is POV

The final line in this article states the following: It should be noted that the current color scheme was the product of the American mainstream media, which studies have shown to lean substantially to the left. This line is blatant POV, and is an attempt by a conservative editor to inject the right's preferred narrative about the so-called "liberal media" into this article as if it were an accepted fact, suggesting that the labeling of Republicans with red is some kind of "liberal media" ploy. The line cites two URLs in support of its statement, but the first does not support the POV argument, and the second is a very biased source that should not be cited in such a contentious subject where the cited source has a vested interest in pushing this narrative. Moreover, the assertion in this sentence is contradicted by the rest of this Wikipedia article. Finally, the use of the term "mainstream media" in the context of discussing media bias is POV, as the term is usually used derogatorily--primarily by conservatives--when discussing the media and its bias one way or another. In fact, while the demographics of journalists in general does lean liberal, there is considerable evidence to support arguments from both conservatives and liberals that the reporting of certain specific individuals or news organizations are biased against them.

To expand on this a bit, read the first link cited. [8] It is an eleven-year-old analysis of the demographics in newsrooms, and it correctly states at one point that 61% of journalists lean liberal in their personal politics--in 1997. It not only says nothing about what the makeup of newsrooms is as of 2008, but--more importantly--it provides no support whatsoever for any correlation between the political demographics of journalists and the assignment of red to Republicans.

In the second link [9] the editor cites CNS News, a conservative news site with its own history of biased reporting. The subject of this article is a study by Jim A. Kuypers, a conservative professor whose personal hobby-horse is liberal media bias. Neither CNS nor Kuypers are credible, neutral sources for accusations of liberal bias.

Finally, this line adds nothing of value to the article. The origins and evolution of the current political color scheme are well-covered in detail previously in the article, and this history directly contradicts the assertion that there is some kind of liberal conspiracy behind it. I am going to remove this line entirely. If someone else feels that the information in it has value, then please reword it along the lines of "Some conservatives believe that ...", and source it properly. Amezuki (talk) 00:38, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Some thoughts:
  • I disagree with the assertion that the term "mainstream media" is a value-laden term. It is true that it is used by many on the right as a term of derision, but the label itself did not originate as a pejorative, nor is it exclusively used that way today.
  • Given that the terms "red states" and "blue states" are a product of the 2000 election, an analysis of the media done in 1997 (three years off of the election date) is actually more relevant to this discussion than an analysis of the current media (eight years after the election).
  • The dismissal of the reporting of CNS, especially by using Media Matters, is simply amusing. Yes, CNS is—by their own admission—conservative. But if it follows that nothing that CNS says about liberals can possibly be relevant, then this simply allows conservatives to use the same ploy about media that they feel harbor liberal bias (CBS, New York Times, et al), allowing conservatives to dismiss these "liberal media outlets" when they evaluate conservatives. The answer to this dilemma is (for both sides) to stop dismissing media outlets from which they detect ostensible bias, and instead to take issue with specific instances of reporting, demonstrating bias on a case-by-case basis. (And, in fairness, this is what some on both sides are doing.) So if the aforementioned CNS citation is factually correct or somehow twisted, then demonstrate that fact, do not dismiss CNS en toto.
Having said all this, I must still say that I agree with Amezuki's decision to delete the line from the article. Not because I doubt that most of the news media is liberal (Hell, I had a megaliberal mass media professor tell our class that very fact back in the 1970s). But I think that the statement that the color scheme was a leftist plot is unsupported by history. I mean, I understand the instinct to believe that the current color coding was the product of a liberal cabal. But the facts don’t support that. Look, even if a conspiracy to do this was limited to the presidents of the news divisions of the relevant outlets, would it not have come out by now? Besides, it would have taken a minimum of dozens of people to make this sort of thing happen after several decades of uncoordinated color schemes—and what? No one has broken his silence? And besides, how does one explain that this occurred in 2000, after the establishment of Fox News? Maybe Roger Ailes is color blind?
Look, I hate the current color scheme. It is counterintuitive; for most of the 20th century, the vast majority of American sources (I'm including textbooks, newspapers, magazines, as well as TV outlets) did follow the international convention of assigning blue to the right and red to the left (if and when they actually used red and blue). I also have little doubt that the current color scheme has caused much joy and chuckling amongst liberals around the United States who know how much it gets under the skin of conservatives. But even if I could prove that liberals enjoy this irritation to conservatives, it does not prove that they conspired to make this happen. It was just an unfortunate coincidence that, on the first occasion that all networks used the same colors, we had a presidential election that was undecided for over a month. Had that not happened, I suspect these terms would not have achieved ubiquity. Unschool (talk) 01:43, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
A few thoughts of my own in closing:
  • Fair point about the relevance of 1997 to a phenomenon that originated in 2000. I still maintain that the more important point--that the article doesn't support the argument--stands, and it doesn't seem like we disagree on that point.
  • While in general I am inclined to agree with you about not dismissing news sources outright (I would not hesitate to link to Fox News for an article on, say, a chess tournament, even though their political reporting is heavily biased), I feel that it is reasonable to question citing any given source on a subject where said source has a demonstrated agenda and/or vested interest. In this case Kuyper's literary career is built around describing liberal media bias. The stated mission of CNS is to provide news without said bias. Neither could be even remotely described as a neutral source to support an argument that the media has a liberal bias.
  • The irony of linking to Media Matters in the current context is not lost on me. Amezuki (talk) 06:47, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
I inserted that sentence in order to give an explanation for the lingering question the previous sentence would leave in the reader's mind. In other words, if both parties equally objected to being labeled red, then why did republicans end up with the color? Especially after having been traditionally labeled blue. I have, however, deleted both sentences, as the whole thing was unnecessary and the "democrats...would have never" was a weird axe-to-grind statement. 2nd Piston Honda (talk) 17:34, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

What about Blue and red states?

Why is the title of this article "red states and blue states", not vice versa? ANONYMOUSPUSSY 17:37, 12 March 2008 (UTC)


With this table in mind....

Year Incumbent Party Incumbent Color
1976 Republican Blue
1980 Democratic Red
1984 Republican Blue
1988 Republican Red
1992 Republican Blue
1996 Democratic Red
2000 Democratic Blue
2004 Republican Red

...why not create a table showing each network's color scheme year-by-year (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, etc.)? The information should not be too hard to research. Doctorindy (talk) 17:13, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, I put the youtube videos in the links. Red-Republican is the most dominant. ABC has used red-Republican blue-Democrat all along, CBS switched to it after 1980 and started with it in 1984 and has continued to this day, CNN has always used blue for Democrats, and I'm not entirely sure about NBC, tho I know they did use blue as Republican in 1980, but I don't know about after. 1976 was weird, some used green and gray as colors.Tallicfan20 (talk) 20:55, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

can we just make it the MODERN color scheme on all the maps here on Wikipedia?

even tho that historically, the scheme varied, I suggest Wikipedia just change the scheme of the pre-1980 maps to the modern day colors. Otherwise, it is too confusing to many who are trying to compare elections from past to present.Tallicfan20 (talk) 02:38, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

2004 USA election by county map percentage.PNG seems appears mostly red

This map uses white for the 50-60% Democrat range, which makes many Dem counties appear neutral, and as a result makes red seem predominant over the whole map. I suggest that the color scheme be slightly fixed so that the Dem counties are as blue as the Rep counties are red. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:32, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

It is also a result of county sizes. Larger counties tend to be rural and Republican. Counties near cities are typically smaller and more usually more Democrat leaning. There are exceptions to this rule of course, but it is a strong enough pattern to make maps more red than blue. Got to remember that it isn't land area that counts, it's people. Pfly (talk) 03:02, 14 April 2008 (UTC)


I was the individual who originally added the commentary on this systems relation to the systems in the rest of the world and see no reason to remove it. Apparently someone did. This bit of information is extremely useful for non-Usonians to quickly understand the system in the United States of America, and for Usonians to understand their own system. It being in the introduction offers a quick understanding, leading into further information later in the article. It is a very important aspect of this article and as such should remain as it is and where it is. Dale-DCX (talk) 06:40, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Cold Civil War

One cannot consider the red-blue state divide in America in 2000 and 2004 without considering the concept of the "Cold Civil War". A mere search entry of this term in Google elicits 12,000 hits. The idea of course behind this concept is the growing polarization and animosity felt between people (not everyone of course) in blue states and people in red states that is not being fought on a battlefield or in the sky, but rather in the printed press, blogs, television, radio and public addresses.

I second the comments above that this grand schism between the states was relatively non-existent prior to 2000. If you go back to 1868, Grant carried both Florida and Maine; in 1872, he carried both Alabama and New York; in 1876, Hayes carried both Massachusetts and South Carolina; in 1912, Wilson carried both Georgia and Vermont; and in 1920, Harding carried both Rhode Island and Tennessee. The list goes on and on. More recently, Reagan won Connecticut and Mississippi in 1980 and in 1984, and Bill Clinton won Louisiana and New Jersey in 1992 and in 1996. There were of course some elections between 1868 and 2000 in which the schism was a little more palpable, but you'd have to go 2000 to find a fissure between the states that was nearly as wide as the one existing prior to Reconstruction. It was even wider in 2004. In 2008, luckily, it seems that the fissure is narrowing somewhat, but it is still there.

So to sum up, should the term "Cold Civil War" be used in this article to describe the election situations seen in 2000 and 2004?

Ericster08 (talk) 16:39, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

No, I don't think calling political debate a "war" is appropriate or encyclopedic, and implied analogies to the Civil War or Cold War are just silly. I also am unconvinced that the last two elections represent some kind of gigantic shift from the past. Regional voting preferences have always existed. Take another look at the election maps from between the Civil War and the 1930s, for instance. Funnyhat (talk) 02:59, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
I second the comments of Funnyhat. Unschool (talk) 17:19, 13 July 2008 (UTC)


The cartogram is an unreadable piece of garbage. It's a testament to GIS gone horribly wrong. I don't care if it's "accurate" or "right." Visual understanding and viewing pleasure is the cardinal rule of mapmaking. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:06, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

I beg to differ. As of Sep 22, 2008 there are two cartograms, both of which I find extremely informative. They illustrate wonderfully the contrast of area vs. population.--345Kai (talk) 04:04, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Origin of red and blue

The only explanation as to the source of the colors red and blue in this article is the unsourced conjecture that these colors "make sense", because they are also in the American flag. Can't we do better than that? --345Kai (talk) 04:08, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Possible External Link

Instructions for creating your own maps using Mathematica: instructions on importing polling data and customizing an example from The Wolfram Demonstrations Project to make custom Red State/Blue State maps. --Pleasantville (talk) 21:42, 24 September 2008 (UTC)