Yankees Fans, Red Sox Fans, and the Connecticut Senate Race

By Patrick Ottenhoff

Connecticut is a state divided this week. The southern and western parts of the state are reeling from an early exit by the Yankees, and the northern and eastern parts are cheering on Cliff Lee and the Rangers as a proxy for their beloved Red Sox. Map of the Day

The demarcation line between Red Sox Nation and Yankees Country is about as clear as the Sunni-Shiite border in Iraq, but a New York Times study found it meandering somewhere between Old Saybrook and Torrington.


Baseball isn't the only pastime dividing Connecticut. The state has historically seesawed between Republican Protestants and Catholic Democrats, two constituencies who are a world apart politically but are often only separated by a ridgeline or river.

In the 2006 Democratic Senate primary, a class divide emerged. "Joe Lieberman, son of a Stamford liquor store owner, won the workaday towns most likely to include ethnic voters," wrote Jonathan Martin at the time. "Lamont, scion of the Eastern Establishment," won the anti-war WASP towns. It was "a battle between Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks."

Two years later in the presidential primary, the divide was notoriously between wine and beer drinkers. Towns like Washington, in the leafy Litchfield hills, preferred Barack Obama, while towns like Naugatuck, in the industrial Naugatuck Valley, voted for Hillary Clinton.

All of these past patterns don't tell us much in 2010. The Senate race between Richard Blumenthal and Linda McMahon features a Brooklyn-born, Jewish career public servant against a Carolina-born and educated businesswoman whose company is more at home in Kentucky than New Canaan.

This election cycle, we may just have to throw all of the standby predictors out the window and rely on the most elemental form of political score-keeping, the red vs. blue map. Luckily, CT Local Politics has put together an excellent cartogram showing party registration in each town. The map below from the Times shows the contested Yankees-Sox border.

 Connecticut Voter Registration Connecticut Baseball Loyalties

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/10/yankees-fans-red-sox-fans-and-the-connecticut-senate-race/65064/