Why is IA so much more Dem than neighboring states?
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September 30, 2022, 08:50:58 AM
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  Why is IA so much more Dem than neighboring states?
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Author Topic: Why is IA so much more Dem than neighboring states?  (Read 506 times)
David Hume
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« on: September 22, 2022, 08:50:05 PM »

They are very white and a lot of non-college educated, and no large metros like MN, WI. Yet they vote to the left of neighboring states for decades.
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TDAS04
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2022, 09:16:11 PM »

Actually, it’s less Democratic than exactly half its neighbors.  It voted for Trump twice, while Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois all backed Biden.

I guess it’s safe to assume you’re asking “why is Iowa so much more Democratic than SD/NE/MO?” or “why is Iowa so much more Democratic than other Plains states?”  It’s more Democratic than the sates to the west because it’s much more densely populated, with less ranching.  Also, while Iowa is not as rural as South Dakota, it’s not as suburban as Nebraska (though as a result of trends in the age of Trump, IA and NE are converging somewhat).  As for Missouri, Iowa’s neighbor to the south is for the most part a Bible Belt state (when I was in northern Missouri, the accent sounded Southern-ish to my ears), while Iowa is not a Southern state at all.

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David Hume
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2022, 09:19:36 PM »

Actually, it’s less Democratic than exactly half its neighbors.  It voted for Trump twice, while Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois all backed Biden.

I guess it’s safe to assume you’re asking “why is Iowa so much more Democratic than SD/NE/MO?” or “why is Iowa so much more Democratic than other Plains states?”  It’s more Democratic than the sates to the west because it’s much more densely populated, with less ranching.  Also, while Iowa is not as rural as South Dakota, it’s not as suburban as Nebraska (though as a result of trends in the age of Trump, IA and NE are converging somewhat).  As for Missouri, Iowa’s neighbor to the south is for the most part a Bible Belt state (when I was in northern Missouri, the accent sounded Southern-ish to my ears), while Iowa is not a Southern state at all.


As I said, MN WI IL has large metros. Just looking at demographics you would expect them to vote in that way, while IA should be much more republican. (WI also vote more Dem than the state demographics).
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Roll Roons
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2022, 09:21:59 PM »

The main difference between Iowa and Missouri is that the former was largely settled by Yankees from New England who brought with them a more liberal political culture than the Southerners who settled the latter.
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King of Kensington
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2022, 09:32:27 PM »

Actually, it’s less Democratic than exactly half its neighbors.  It voted for Trump twice, while Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois all backed Biden.

I guess it’s safe to assume you’re asking “why is Iowa so much more Democratic than SD/NE/MO?” or “why is Iowa so much more Democratic than other Plains states?”  It’s more Democratic than the sates to the west because it’s much more densely populated, with less ranching.  Also, while Iowa is not as rural as South Dakota, it’s not as suburban as Nebraska (though as a result of trends in the age of Trump, IA and NE are converging somewhat).  As for Missouri, Iowa’s neighbor to the south is for the most part a Bible Belt state (when I was in northern Missouri, the accent sounded Southern-ish to my ears), while Iowa is not a Southern state at all.

Is Iowa a Plains state?
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Gass3268
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2022, 09:53:06 PM »

Residual remembrance of the 80's farm crisis which devastated Iowa. Go look at the maps comparing 1980 to 1984 to 1988.
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TDAS04
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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2022, 09:53:42 PM »

Actually, it’s less Democratic than exactly half its neighbors.  It voted for Trump twice, while Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois all backed Biden.

I guess it’s safe to assume you’re asking “why is Iowa so much more Democratic than SD/NE/MO?” or “why is Iowa so much more Democratic than other Plains states?”  It’s more Democratic than the sates to the west because it’s much more densely populated, with less ranching.  Also, while Iowa is not as rural as South Dakota, it’s not as suburban as Nebraska (though as a result of trends in the age of Trump, IA and NE are converging somewhat).  As for Missouri, Iowa’s neighbor to the south is for the most part a Bible Belt state (when I was in northern Missouri, the accent sounded Southern-ish to my ears), while Iowa is not a Southern state at all.

Is Iowa a Plains state?

Sort of.  Technically, it’s not the Great Plains, but Iowa is mainly prairie, moreso than the more woodsy states around the Great Lakes.
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kwabbit
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2022, 10:09:44 PM »

As others have said, the Farm Crisis made much of rural Eastern Iowa much more Democratic than its baseline. It caused a generation of rural Iowans to shift left, with these counties shifting rapidly Republican under Trump.

I think an underrated factor is the role Iowa's first in the nation primary plays. It definitely encourages a civic mindedness that's correlated with Democratic strength. Other high turnout states like Minnesota and Wisconsin have been more Democratic than what would be expected as well.
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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2022, 10:19:40 PM »

Vermont was also greatly hurt by the farm crisis, which led many to have to rely on welfare. An incredible amount of farms were bought out by corporations in the '80.
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David Hume
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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2022, 12:06:53 AM »

The main difference between Iowa and Missouri is that the former was largely settled by Yankees from New England who brought with them a more liberal political culture than the Southerners who settled the latter.
Isn't IA mainly settled by Germanic immigrants?
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David Hume
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« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2022, 12:18:15 AM »

Residual remembrance of the 80's farm crisis which devastated Iowa. Go look at the maps comparing 1980 to 1984 to 1988.
I heard many people saying so. Yet so many years had past and so many things had changed. VT moved from a safe R state to safe D state, WV the opposite. How could the memory of 80's farm crisis last forever?
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kwabbit
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« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2022, 01:34:19 AM »

Residual remembrance of the 80's farm crisis which devastated Iowa. Go look at the maps comparing 1980 to 1984 to 1988.
I heard many people saying so. Yet so many years had past and so many things had changed. VT moved from a safe R state to safe D state, WV the opposite. How could the memory of 80's farm crisis last forever?

If they blamed the Republican party for losing their livelihood, then they might hold that grudge for life. It was 40 years ago at this point, where many of these farmers are now dead. Their children will be standard rural Republicans; they don’t remember the farm crisis and don’t have any deep seated resentment.

It’s similar to the Red wall in Norther England. The hatred of the Tories lasted a generation. Only now is the area becoming hospitable for the Conservatives.

It’s a different phenomenon than simply losing your job in a recession, these events totally changed the local economy and way of life. That’s why they caused such huge political shifts.
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Christian mosh pit go mosh
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« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2022, 01:34:27 AM »

The main difference between Iowa and the Dakotas here is Iowa actually has a bunch of liberal urban areas. South Dakota doesn't have any (Sioux Falls is basically a center-right city that this puts it well to the left of the state) and North Dakota only has one barely tilt D city that's not even enough to flip its county in 2020.

If Sioux Falls and Fargo voted like Des Moines, there was an equivalent to Iowa City somewhere in the state and other cities were at least D leaning they'd be quite different states.
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Adam Griffin
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« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2022, 07:49:29 AM »
« Edited: September 23, 2022, 07:56:02 AM by Adam Griffin »

There is a simple, structural phenomenon throughout a large segment of the country's interior: the further north and/or east you go, the more liberal people become, and the further south and/or west you go, the more conservative.

A large majority of Iowans live in the eastern half-to-third of the state, and as such, are going to more closely resemble their peers in places like Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota - both in rural and urban areas alike.

Half of IA lives in the red; another 20% in the blue. In terms of figuring out why IA seemingly doesn't fit the profile of (largely) states further west, draw some lines from the northwest and southeast of the area in question, and ask yourself if these people are really voting all that much differently than those within the defined boundaries.

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David Hume
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« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2022, 08:18:50 AM »

There is a simple, structural phenomenon throughout a large segment of the country's interior: the further north and/or east you go, the more liberal people become, and the further south and/or west you go, the more conservative.

A large majority of Iowans live in the eastern half-to-third of the state, and as such, are going to more closely resemble their peers in places like Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota - both in rural and urban areas alike.

Half of IA lives in the red; another 20% in the blue. In terms of figuring out why IA seemingly doesn't fit the profile of (largely) states further west, draw some lines from the northwest and southeast of the area in question, and ask yourself if these people are really voting all that much differently than those within the defined boundaries.


If the red area voted Trump 0.6 and Biden 0.4, that's still to the left of non-metro WI and MN you circled, which voted about R+10.
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« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2022, 08:28:51 AM »

I think an underrated factor is the role Iowa's first in the nation primary plays. It definitely encourages a civic mindedness that's correlated with Democratic strength. Other high turnout states like Minnesota and Wisconsin have been more Democratic than what would be expected as well.

Indeed. While Iowa largely evaded the various Granger and other agrarian movements of long ago, the farm crisis birthed a loose-yet-distinct class consciousness in the Driftless Area. I’ve read on different fora over the years that this is due to the Driftless Area’s topography fostering mom-and-pop farms vis a vis the Great Plains’s agricultural giants, but cannot speak to this myself. Furthermore, Iowa’s quintessential Main Street America milieu, sizable college-town communities surrounding Iowa/Iowa State, and its spot on the presidential primary totem pole not only birthed netroots-influenced candidates such as Tom Vilsack, but provided a crucible for the Obama campaign’s national success:

Quote from: Barack Obama
I don’t want to get cynical that fast. I won Iowa twice. I won Iowa when unemployment was still 8.5 percent, in 2012. And the demographics of Iowa have not changed. I won Iowa comfortably. This notion that somehow everything in this country has flipped—I think it’s more complicated than that.

Iowa was the last time I was able to interact directly with voters who might not immediately be predisposed to vote for me. The first time I did that was when I was running for the Senate. Downstate Illinois is like Kentucky or southern Ohio or Indiana or much of Iowa. And what I discovered in that Senate race—and this was repeated twice in Iowa—is that I could go into culturally conservative, rural or small-town, disproportionately white working-class communities and I could make a connection, and I could win those votes. The reason I could is that I didn’t have a filter between me and them.
….

Even as late as 2008, typically when I went into a small town, there’s a small-town newspaper, and the owner or editor is a conservative guy with a crew cut, maybe, and a bow tie, and he’s been a Republican for years. He doesn’t have a lot of patience for tax-and-spend liberals, but he’ll take a meeting with me, and he’ll write an editorial that says, “He’s a liberal Chicago lawyer, but he seems like a decent enough guy, had some good ideas”; and the local TV station will cover me straight. But you go into those communities today and the newspapers are gone. If Fox News isn’t on every television in every barbershop and VFW hall, then it might be a Sinclair-owned station, and the presuppositions that exist there, about who I am and what I believe, are so fundamentally different, have changed so much, that it’s difficult to break through.
….

Now you have a situation in which large swaths of the country genuinely believe that the Democratic Party is a front for a pedophile ring. This stuff takes root. I was talking to a volunteer who was going door-to-door in Philadelphia in low-income African American communities, and was getting questions about QAnon conspiracy theories. The fact is that there is still a large portion of the country that was taken in by a carnival barker.
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Adam Griffin
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« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2022, 09:13:13 AM »

If the red area voted Trump 0.6 and Biden 0.4, that's still to the left of non-metro WI and MN you circled, which voted about R+10.

The lines were to illustrate the broader point about cardinal directions and the broader effect, but if you take the general orientation of the IA region and extend it along its average east and/or north - while omitting the coastal urban areas (Chicago, Milwaukee, etc), you end up with a very similar balance:

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« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2022, 09:31:20 AM »

If the red area voted Trump 0.6 and Biden 0.4, that's still to the left of non-metro WI and MN you circled, which voted about R+10.

The lines were to illustrate the broader point about cardinal directions and the broader effect, but if you take the general orientation of the IA region and extend it along its average east and/or north - while omitting the coastal urban areas (Chicago, Milwaukee, etc), you end up with a very similar balance:



Famously Iowa-Esque DuPage County
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David Hume
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« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2022, 12:25:06 PM »

If the red area voted Trump 0.6 and Biden 0.4, that's still to the left of non-metro WI and MN you circled, which voted about R+10.

The lines were to illustrate the broader point about cardinal directions and the broader effect, but if you take the general orientation of the IA region and extend it along its average east and/or north - while omitting the coastal urban areas (Chicago, Milwaukee, etc), you end up with a very similar balance:


The problem is your way of circling areas are quite arbitrary. I can just extend more into downstate IL like you did into WI, or make the east cutoff westward, to get a very R number I want.
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Adam Griffin
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« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2022, 12:43:21 PM »
« Edited: September 23, 2022, 12:55:10 PM by Adam Griffin »

The problem is your way of circling areas are quite arbitrary. I can just extend more into downstate IL like you did into WI, or make the east cutoff westward, to get a very R number I want.

Include the rest of western WI and the WI portion is Trump +1 (east of there, Biden won by 3).

Include a southward track relative to my selected IA's bent into IL and the IL portion is tied (Trump won south of there by 29 points; Biden won Lake/Cook by 47).

So now we're haggling over a 2-3 point difference in 2020 at best.

 


It's not abritary other than basing it on the clustered segment of IA that comprises the vast majority and expanding it in a north-east trajectory while avoiding egregiously larger urban areas (Milwaukee, Chicago, etc) where urbanized IA has no analog. Again, go north and/or east = things tend to become more liberal in an apples-to-apples sense; go south and/or west = things do the opposite. This also completely omits the discussion of cultural influences due to the Driftless Area, but that's not a major concern.

Most people think IA sticks out because they compare it to the Dakotas or Nebraska or Missouri. That's the wrong comparison. Perhaps eastern IA should be like 3-4 points more GOP than it is based on my metric, but that's not really enough to write home about and wonder "why?" - especially when the default concern is frankly rooted more in "why is IA 15+ points more D than Nebraska?" or whatever. Western depopulated IA looks a lot more like the parts south and west of it; eastern IA looks a lot more like the parts north and east of it - and since the latter is the larger portion, it skews the state in said direction.
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ProgressiveModerate
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« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2022, 08:38:23 PM »

Iowa has a general lack of geographic political polarization compared to most states, and one underrated possibility could be because it's the first primary state, it tends to get a disproportionate amount of attention, and Democrats actually work to get votes from these smaller towns and even rural communities in the state they would otherwise completely neglect. Iowa has quite high turnout in General Elections, especially once you factor in educational attainment.

It's also worth noting that Republicans do relatively well in a city like Des Moines despite it's size, educational attainment, and culture, and I think that could also be for the reason stated above.

And what's the second primary state? New Hampshire. Once again there you see far less extreme political geography than neighboring states and a very high turnout state.
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« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2022, 02:24:16 PM »

Iowa has a general lack of geographic political polarization compared to most states, and one underrated possibility could be because it's the first primary state, it tends to get a disproportionate amount of attention, and Democrats actually work to get votes from these smaller towns and even rural communities in the state they would otherwise completely neglect. Iowa has quite high turnout in General Elections, especially once you factor in educational attainment.

It's also worth noting that Republicans do relatively well in a city like Des Moines despite it's size, educational attainment, and culture, and I think that could also be for the reason stated above.

And what's the second primary state? New Hampshire. Once again there you see far less extreme political geography than neighboring states and a very high turnout state.

Educational achievement can be quantified in many ways. IA may not have a high college rate (though thats also deceiving since many Iowans leave IA after going to college). But IA, like many of its neighbors, has one of the nation's highest school graduation and literacy rates (and with fairly good K-12 schools). Traditionally, IA and MN swapped 1-2 in these 2 metrics, though they dont consistently do that in recent years. It doesnt fit the narrative that polls try to quantify, but a farming family with children who have gotten degrees and left the state does not vote the same way as a multi-generation blue-collar family.

I do agree with you about the attention it gets though.
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ProgressiveModerate
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« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2022, 03:46:27 PM »

Iowa has a general lack of geographic political polarization compared to most states, and one underrated possibility could be because it's the first primary state, it tends to get a disproportionate amount of attention, and Democrats actually work to get votes from these smaller towns and even rural communities in the state they would otherwise completely neglect. Iowa has quite high turnout in General Elections, especially once you factor in educational attainment.

It's also worth noting that Republicans do relatively well in a city like Des Moines despite it's size, educational attainment, and culture, and I think that could also be for the reason stated above.

And what's the second primary state? New Hampshire. Once again there you see far less extreme political geography than neighboring states and a very high turnout state.

Educational achievement can be quantified in many ways. IA may not have a high college rate (though thats also deceiving since many Iowans leave IA after going to college). But IA, like many of its neighbors, has one of the nation's highest school graduation and literacy rates (and with fairly good K-12 schools). Traditionally, IA and MN swapped 1-2 in these 2 metrics, though they dont consistently do that in recent years. It doesnt fit the narrative that polls try to quantify, but a farming family with children who have gotten degrees and left the state does not vote the same way as a multi-generation blue-collar family.

I do agree with you about the attention it gets though.

Ik from some folks familiar with Minnesota that there very much is just a culture of everyone votes compared to most places in the US soi I wonder if that culture also exists in IA for the reasosn you lay out?
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« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2022, 04:45:56 PM »

The main difference between Iowa and Missouri is that the former was largely settled by Yankees from New England who brought with them a more liberal political culture than the Southerners who settled the latter.
Isn't IA mainly settled by Germanic immigrants?


More so along the Mississippi. When my mother was growing up in Davenport, Iowa, in the 1920's and 1930's, the cultural and class differences between the WASPS and Germans was palpable, including considerable neighborhood segregation.
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« Reply #24 on: September 25, 2022, 05:52:12 PM »
« Edited: September 25, 2022, 06:04:30 PM by Ad Astra »

Because it's Iowa. Don't try to explain the unexplainable. Next question.
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