How Southern is the South?


Brendan Nyhan has a bunch of interesting charts about the Democratic race of which this one, showing the negative correlation between Obama's level of white support and the size of the state's southern baptist population. If you ignore all the states with really small southern baptist populations and just focus on the South you see a correlation that holds up really well. Basically, if you think of the number of southern baptists as a proxy for how "southern" a given southern state is, you see that the more culturally Dixie states are the ones where whites are most hostile to Obama's message. They're not, however, necessarily bad states for Obama overall, since some (like Alabama and, soon, Mississippi) have African-Americans as such a large share of the Democratic vote that he wins anyway.