California is a Red State

I came to California for the liberalism

Captain Renault: What in heaven’s name brought you to Casablanca?
Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
Captain Renault: The waters? What waters? We’re in the desert.
Rick: I was misinformed.

Casablanca (1942)

For those of you outside California who think this is a blue state, you’ve been misinformed. It’s a red state with a couple of blue splotches. Here’s a map of the country (from USA Today) colored according to how the counties voted in 2004:

I'd rather be dead than red

Scary, isn’t it?

I found a larger version, this one from the Boston Globe, so I extracted just California:

I'd rather be dead than red

The 10.3 on the map is the magnitude of the earthquake that will destroy California if Proposition 8 is defeated.

(Actually, that is Kerry’s percent margin over Bush.) As you can see, in terms of number of red vs. blue counties, California is predominantly red. It is those densely-populated urban counties that skew the vote and tend to shift the state into the blue column.

This conservative dominance is how hateful laws like Proposition 8 can get passed in a so-called “liberal” state. The only thing liberal about California is its liberal dose of retrograde religious Republicans.

I found the first map on the blog of a Florida Christian named Sam Sewell. Just so you know where he’s coming from, here’s what he has in his sidebar:

Sewell's folly

Because, after all, Obama is an enemy of America.

Nevertheless, his analysis of political demographics is pretty accurate:

IMHO political parties and political theories are not an accurate means of identifying the voting public. So I offer a “sociological” way of identifying the categories. Urban populations are predominately liberal/Democratic voters. Suburban populations are predominately Independent voters, or purple areas. Rural populations are predominately conservative/Republican voters[.]

I don’t think his characterization of suburbanites is accurate, but the urban liberal and rural conservative is generally true.

So, if we are going to begin the tricky exercise of predicting who is going to vote for whom I postulate that our predictions will be more accurate [if] we use the Urban/Suburban/Rural paradigm rather than the Liberal/Independent/Conservative paradigm. Most people have seen the Red State vs. Blue State map of the 2004 election. California, for example, stands out as a blue state. However this is misleading. When one looks at the red county vs. blue county map California is mostly red.

That is why California is more regressive than it is generally given credit for.

29 Responses to “California is a Red State”

  1. Parrotlover77 Says:

    It looks disheartening, but geographic dominance doesn’t mean crap. The cities are where most people live. Some of those red counties probably have a 100 people in it. Do you count the 20 acres they live on or do you count the ENTIRE county? In this graph, they count the entire county. Also, how do you count a county where 50%+1 are Republican? Do you just dump the Democrats? In this case they do.

    That’s a website with a cartogram of the USA under different scenarios. The second-to-last one is the most accurate in terms that it uses shades of purple to signify “split” counties and distorts the map based on population density. You will notice that it is all purple and blue with very, very little red.

    Conservatives show maps like the one you did, Ron, to “prove” America is a conservative country. It’s not. It’s just that the elitist liberals live in close proximity with many others of different backgrounds, and, therefore, tend to be more tolerant of others and of change (and also want to help everybody, no matter your differences). When you grow up with the same ten people you know since childhood and they all look, sound, and act the same, the different people in urban areas makes you run away screaming, wanting to change laws to make them go away.

  2. Parrotlover77 Says:

    P.S. I would love to see a cartogram after this election. I think the red will basically be non-existent.

  3. Ron Britton Says:


    Sure, that map is (in a way) a form of “liars use statistics”. My point in presenting it was to show that there is a lot more red in California than outsiders realize. This is what explains much of the support for Proposition 8.

  4. LadyRavana Says:

    …And I see my state is one of the few ALL red states.

    When I saw that map, I went “holy shit, we have a lot of stupid.”

    It’s an epidemic. It’s worse than I thought. -___-

  5. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Ron – I don’t blame the conservative red counties (you can’t fix stupid). I blame the “liberal” Christians — the Christian Democrats. Hell, I blame Obama AND Biden as they are a part of it. If the leaders of our so-called liberal party don’t believe in gay marriage, what chance does it have? It gives otherwise good liberals an excuse to be bigoted. It’s Obama’s biggest fault (one of only a few I can think of). Of course, Obama/Biden do believe in “separate but equal” domestic partnerships, but I still believe that although it’s a step in the right direction, it still has all the faults of southern segregation.

    Now don’t get my disgust as a lack of endorsement. I think Obama/Biden is an amazing ticket for everyone (our homosexual brothers and sisters included), especially when compared to the alternative. I think they’ll lead our country back out of its slide into the Dark Ages. But their lack of support for gay marriage is troubling to me. But who can truly say if Obama would veto a bill in support of gay marriage should it ever somehow find its way across his desk? I hope not.

  6. Parrotlover77 Says:

    LR – what state, if you don’t mind my asking?

  7. Troy Says:

    Maybe the Saguaro cacti must skew the red counties towards the republicans. Well cacti can’t actually vote but they are more prevelant than people. No one lives there, which is why Lex Luther wanted to nuke the San Andreas fault after purchasing all the inland real estate. Very intersting map, and it explains why McCain has already ceded the popular vote. Republicans have an advantage because of the electoral college system. I think perhaps on the topic of gay marriage people are a bit too harsh on people who have issues with it. Attitudes take time to change, and progress has been made. I suspect California will do the right thing. If not there is always next time.

  8. Wayne Robinson Says:

    I suspect many of America’s enemies (including probably Osama bin Laden) would prefer John McCain to win, just to continue the policies that have created the enviroment that serves their recruiting needs so well, and most of America’s friends would prefer Barack Obama to win.

  9. you know what I'm doing... Says:

    …as the kids say, I’m

  10. Independent CA voter Says:

    I am sad to hear that some people feel would call another American an enemy of America when he has done nothing wrong against America. Obama WAS a Senator and is now our President. United States Senators are enemies of America? That’s pretty mean spiritied.
    Timothy McVay or however you spell it, was an enemy of America as a citizen. Charles Manson was too, and many other crazies.
    Just because you are on the right wing and you don’t like the left wing President does not mean that he is an enemy. You don’t think Enron or Scooter Libby were enemies? Maybe because they were on the side of the right wing. It’s just a terrible way to have partisan talk and it leads to other bad partisan talk.
    Please don’t go any further and say that you want to kill Obama and that he’s a terrorist like a few of McCain’s supporters did. Face it, even if McCain won he would do things you wouldn’t like either.

  11. God man 2009 Says:

    PROP 8:
    As a christian, I believe like most other good christians to try to be like Jesus and love one another. In the bible, it says that love is many things: Love is kind, love is patient, love is non-judgmental, and that God is love.

    The bible also says that God does not impose upon our free-will. So, I ask then “why do we want to impose on the free-will of our brothers and sisters in the gay community?” Just like we don’t want the government breathing down our throats, we as christians should act the same way and not breath down other people’s throats. The bible tells us to eminate God and that means not imposing on other’s free-will. Until we get that, there will hate and not love.

    Let God judge each person’s actions, and we should just preach love. This isn’t a liberal talking point, it is straight from the bible.

    God Bless

  12. Steven Says:

    God man 2009 – You’re right that God will judge each person’s actions.

    But have you also noticed that in the Bible God also judges a people as a whole (Sodom and Gomorra)? As a Christian, I don’t want to see my country condoning behavior that God says are detestable, whether it’s homosexuality, straight adultery, incest, or bestiality.

    Leviticus 18 addresses each of these sexual behaviors (homosexuality is in verse 22). Verses 25 – 28 talk about judging people as a whole.

  13. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Holy crap! Is that what all this is about? You are afraid your god is going to smite the entire fricking country for the actions of a few? What a petty, petty, PETTY, asshole of a god! Rise up against that asshole! Don’t let innocent life be destroyed just because a minority of a country likes to engage in man-on-man sex!

  14. chris Says:

    I think, actually, that the prop 8 vote was more due to a number of Hispanic and black voters who were out to vote.

    Despite being for Obama, those demographics are largely against gay marriage.

  15. chris Says:

    @ God Man and Steven

    You are exactly the type of people who make thinking, reasoning people nervous.

    People with your views with political influence threaten to thrust our country back in to the dark ages.

    Not to mention that your moral views allow for right-wing types to bleed their other, less Christian views in to your minds by appealing to your religious leanings.

  16. Parrotlover77 Says:

    chris – That’s not true. I wish I had bookmarked the link (I think it might have been at, but don’t quote me), but when the demographics were broken down, that was not found to be the case. Yes, it was found that a greater proportion of black and hispanic votes went for Prop Hate when compared to other ethnicities, BUT (and this is a big but) the majority of both demographics voted against it. So basically, the determining factor was not ethnicity, but religion/party membership.

    Statistics are easy to manipulate, especially when it reinforces prejudices.

  17. chris Says:

    Parrotlover77 –

    That’s interesting. I guess that I need to research that a bit more before making claims. Of course, I didn’t make the comment out of prejudice, just based on news articles from the time.

    Is it broken up differently? I would assume that a large portion of the hispanic vote was also catholic, so there could be some overlap there.

  18. dsfasdfasfasdf Says:

    nice to hear. i want to move to CA and im glad its not a democratic like the political map says! thanks for this, i was really trying to find a map of counties instead of just states.

  19. dsfasdfasfasdf Says:


    God probably wont destroy the nation because of a few faggots, but He will destroy a nation that rises up against Him. However, there are a large number of God fearing Christians in America still, so I think the way its giong God still wont destroy us just yet. Hopefully not while I am alive.

    Although the demise of morale in this country (or for that matter, the world) is despicable.

  20. Ron Britton Says:

    Although the demise of morale in this country (or for that matter, the world) is despicable.

    Morale is so low in this country because it has been taken over by fundies.

    Morals, however, are at an all-time high. More Americans now care about their fellow man. That’s why we now have health care reform.

  21. Parrotlover77 Says:

    but He will destroy a nation that rises up against Him

    Why hasn’t he smited Sweden yet, then? Something like 80% of the population are non-believers.

  22. Jeff Eyges Says:

    dsfasdfasfasdf, you won’t like California. The governor isn’t a real conservative, and he certainly isn’t a REAL Christian. Why, he even believes in global warming!

  23. Parrotlover77 Says:

    And he’s against offshore oil drilling! Even a former Mr. Olympian with 90% dead brain cells can’t keep up the conservative facade.

  24. OtherRob Says:

    However, there are a large number of God fearing Christians in America still, so I think the way its giong God still wont destroy us just yet. Hopefully not while I am alive.

    So what you’re saying, dsfasdfasfasdf, is that you really don’t care what happens to your fellow man as long as the bad stuff doesn’t happen to you? That doesn’t seem like a very Christ-like way to think to me.

  25. Ron Says:

    Stop the Blue Virus!

  26. JWK Says:

    Most liberals want only the Christ that loves everyone; they forget the Christ who turned over the tables of the merchants in the temple. Christ has both sides. Christ (and I, since I try to be like Christ) loves everyone, but that doesn’t mean that he sanctions all actions.

    I also note in most of the liberal side of the dialog above that the liberals resort to name calling, including calling conservatives stupid. This is typical. These liberal who are ‘accepting’ of others ideas and ways of life are not accepting of conservatives. I accept the liberal mind set, although I don’t agree. I don’t think most liberals are stupid, but misguided. There are two ways to think, and both sides should keep the discussion at a rational level.

  27. Ron Britton Says:


    The conservatives who discuss things rationally are not the stupid ones we’re complaining about. Clean up your side of the aisle, and there won’t be any offensive verbiage on this side.

  28. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Regarding the Christ that turned over the tables of the merchants: what was he upset about? We call it capitalism. Yet conservatives tend to whitewash the Christ stories to make him out to be the proto-Reagan.

    Sorry, was calling out modern conservatism and christianity too offenseive?

  29. Sue Blue Says:

    JWK – Christ also said that he did not come to change the Old Testament law…so apparently he was down with all the stoning of kids who smart-mouth their parents, women who attract male attention (but not the males!), and your BFF who just happened to get caught picking up some sticks on the sabbath. He was cool with that good old-fashioned Gentile Genocide, too. Comes in handy, doesn’t it? True Christlike Christians can commit any crazy-ass cruelty, justify any war, condone all sorts of atrocities by pointing to the Bible and claiming God sanctioned it. And, if all else fails, they can confess their sins and claim Jesus has forgiven them so everything’s hunky-dory. It’s tailor-made ideology for conservative Republicans. Blame the country’s economic problems on the poor, the unemployed, Mexican immigrants, the single mothers, the gays, those evil sluts who want abortions; hell, it’s because of them that tornados and hurricanes and wildfires and droughts and floods are smiting the Bible Belt. Gawd’s punishing us for tolerating them. Big Oil ain’t causing climate change, and those bankers and corporate executives and stimulus-denying, union-busting Repub governors have only America’s best interests at heart. Liberals are all out to force you to take care of your brother with your tax dollars, to let women out of their kitchen-cages to do whatever they want, to teach your kids that gay is okay and that they came from monkeys when the Bible clearly states they were made out of dirt. Liberals want anarchy through a “live and let live” policy of social and fiscal irresponsibility! We can’t possibly give social programs any money – not when we have multi-trillion dollar wars to win and banks to support! Not when there are fat old white millionaire men out their who might have to tighten the belt a notch! Why, that would just be un-American. And unbiblical.