At one time, the breakdown of America during election season was simple: red states and blue states. Times have changed, and we are now living in a “patchwork nation.”
Dante Chinni, director of the “Patchwork Nation Project,” delves into the demographics and ideological shifts of voters on the project's website. Chinni researched the economic and culture aspects of counties in key states. His big takeaway from the November election? Because America has become so divided and diverse, no candidate can win the presidency with a single grand message. Instead, it's all the small issues that add up to a big win.
Twelve new community types have replaced the old red and blue stereotypes. Those types include: Boom towns, military bastions, campus and careers, minority central, emptying nests, monied 'burbs, Evangelical epicenters, Mormon outposts, immigration nation, service worker centers, industrial metropolis, and tractor county.
“I like talking about places because places are what they are, they can’t describe themselves,” Chinni told NBC’s Chuck Todd on The Daily Rundown.
Back in July, Chinni predicted on The Daily Rundown that the election would be won and lost in the boom towns, the service worker centers (rural areas where residents tend to be older and poorer), and the monied suburbs. He was right. Just look at what happened in the boom towns. Mitt Romney won those counties, but by a much smaller margin that President Bush in 2004.
Chinni noted that the increased Hispanic population in the boom towns could be a reason. “The Hispanic populations of the boom towns is almost at 17%, it’s gotten quite high,” Chinni said. That demographic was viewed as a major problem for Republicans this time around.
Todd asked Chinni whether he planned on retooling his map based on new census information and other data. Chinni said two groups may need to be redone. The first would be boom towns, “because they aren’t really booming anymore”; some of them are now “bust towns.”
Also, Chinni said there may be a split in the monied 'burb group, targeting the wealthier aspect of that demographic. “I’m convinced that’s coming,” he said. “But I’m not sure if we’re there yet.”