Campus and Careers

March 6, 2012
This Tuesday is "super" in the Republican nominating battle because of sheer volume. There are 11 states holding votes and more than 400 delegates at stake. But even with all those numbers in play, most eyes will be Ohio. Ohio is not the biggest prize on Tuesday; Georgia has more delegates, but one can certainly make the case that it is the most significant. Many analysts believe the future of the Republican nomination fight hinges on how the two lead candidates -- former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum -- do there. When you look at Patchwork Nation's demographic/geographic county breakdown you see why. The complex electoral landscape in Ohio will indicate a lot about the futures of Romney and Santorum, but the lessons will be less about the candidates and more about the electorate. It centers on one question, are rank-and-file Republican voters prepared to settle on Romney as their front-runner? ONE STATE, LOTS OF...
March 2, 2012
Two months in, the 2012 battle for the Republican presidential nomination has become a more protracted fight than many had expected or wanted. But as analysts wonder what the drawn-out fight means, a critical point has been lost. The current scenario, with a fractured base on display, is not really surprising. In fact, in some ways it is the most obvious outcome. The Republican Party’s triumph in the 2010 midterms was a measure of Republican antipathy toward President Barack Obama, but not a statement about what the party stands for. And now, as the Republican Party searches for consensus, there are structural factors pushing its back-and-forth nominating fight. First, the party is trying to redefine itself. Without a president or a strong leader at its top, the various factions within the party are using the primaries to have a very public argument about its direction. Second, the way most of the primaries have divvied up convention delegates up to now –...
February 29, 2012
There have been more than a few twists and turns on the road to this year’s Republican presidential nomination, but one tried-and-true 2012 GOP storyline reemerged in Michigan on Tuesday night: Mitt Romney’s strength lies in wealthy communities and he has trouble most everywhere else. Out of Michigan there has been talk about things like Democratic voter hijinks, absentee voters and older voters, but when you really look at the results using Patchwork Nation, the dominant story remains one of wealthy, educated communities versus lower-income blue-collar ones. Using Patchwork Nation’s demographic/geographic breakdown of county types, former Massachusetts Gov. Romney won all the types that tend to be better educated and better off – the Monied Burbs, Boom Towns, Industrial Metropolis and Campus and Careers counties. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum won all the other county types – the Emptying Nests, Evangelical Epicenters, Service Worker...
February 17, 2012
Among the many forces that go into shaping a campaign – from speeches to advertisements – late-night comedy has earned a special place. It’s where narratives about candidates can be created and grow free of the constraints of regular journalism, for better or worse. On late-night TV a candidate can be branded and rebranded as a flip-flopper or stiff (see Sen. John Kerry in 2004) or reckless and foolish (frequently part of the jabs at former President George W. Bush). But not all late-night shows are the same. For some, politics is more than just the stuff of monologue one-liners; it’s a critical element to the program. Take, for instance, the late-night shows on Comedy Central, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. They thrive on politics. And when you look at who watches those shows through Patchwork Nation’s demographic/geographic county breakdown an interesting pattern emerges. Both shows do well in places where the vote is...
January 16, 2012
Purpose marketing, cause marketing -- the phrases are among the biggest buzzwords in the advertising industry today, and with good reason. Americans like to support products and companies thay affirm their values. Cause-related spending by marketers is projected to grow 3.1% this year, to $1.7 billion, according to the 2012 Sponsorship Report by IEG Consulting, a Chicago firm that helps brands and organizations find the right sponsorship partners. Add in spending on the arts, festivals and associations, and you're looking at nearly $4 billion in spending -- more than three times what eMarketer projects will be spent on mobile advertising. But not all causes are equal in the eyes of consumers. Some communities are concerned about saving the local theater, while others care about protecting the local watershed. With that in mind, Experian Simmons created a baseline for charitable contributions nationally and looked at how each of the Patchwork Nation county types...
January 4, 2012
Everyone will talk about who won in Iowa, they always do. But the real story out of the state is the sharp divide in the vote – and one that might be expected. We wrote earlier that the most likely result out of Iowa was going to be a complicated mess with several candidates able to claim a good night. And when the votes were counted, that’s what we had. But look closer at the numbers using Patchwork Nation’s geographic/demographic breakdowns and you see a clear divide in the vote on the map. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won in the state’s wealthier more urban counties – the wealthy Monied Burbs, exurban Boom Towns and collegiate Campus and Career locales. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum won all the other county types including the agricultural Tractor Country, culturally conservative Evangelical Epicenters and aging Emptying Nests. And Texas Congressman Ron Paul, with the help of independent voters, stoked some populist anger...
December 19, 2011
Going into 2012, the biggest shift in the electorate may be its feelings about who is best suited to handle the challenges of the economy. Back in 2008, the Democratic Party was not only the choice on the poll question “which party would do a better job” with the economy, it was the choice by a wide margin. Urban, suburban and rural, young and old, rich and poor, geographic and demographic groups of all stripes chose the Democrats. The picture is very different on the eve of the 2012 primary season, according to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll. Republicans best Democrats on that same question with some very important voting blocs, including the elderly, the wealthy, middle income voters, white working class voters and suburbanites. The Democratic Party’s fall since 2008 has been sharp: a 15 percentage point drop among  18- to 34-year-olds and those 65 and older, a 12-point drop among those who make more than $75,000 a year, an 11-point slide...
December 7, 2011
This October Patchwork Nation Director Dante Chinni spoke at TEDxMidAtlantic 2011. His presentation ‘You Don`t Know America, Or How Community Triumphs Over Soccer Moms and Red and Blue States in the 21st Century U.S.’ explored how the U.S. news media often misunderstand and mischaracterize American communities.  Chinni talked about how his experience as a reporter travelling to various communities around the country had led him to create Patchwork Nation to gain a more nuanced perspective on the many different kinds of communities and subcultures within the United States. The work led to the creation of this site and the book Our Patchwork Nation.. The project was noticed TEDx organizers who chose Chinni to discuss it at Sidney Harman Hall in Washington, DC on October 29. The presentation can be seen in the video below. Dante Chinni at TEDxMidAtlantic 2011 from Jefferson Institute on Vimeo. TED conferences bring together the...
December 5, 2011
By: Matt Carmichael, Ad Age   Consumers are saving less again. And while that might not be great for their retirement accounts, it may be good news for marketers.   Historically, Americans save about 4% of their income, but in 2008 the recession changed behavior. Between January and May of that year, the savings rate shot to 8.3% from 3.7%. That's part of the reason recovery has been so slow to come: More savings equals less spending. But in the past three months for which Bureau of Economic Analysis data are available, consumers are saving less again -- just 3.5% in October -- freeing up more cash for spending. The trends aren't universal. As we look at the counties in Ad Age's American Consumer Project -- and the consumer segments they represent -- we see different types of areas are saving and spending in different ways. To uncover those differences, Experian Simmons used our two county-classification frameworks, Patchwork Nation and Esri...
November 27, 2011
With all the uncertainties around the 2012 presidential race there seems to be one sure thing: The fight for the White House will be about the economy. After four years of recession, a stalled recovery and growing tensions, it is issue No. 1 with the voters – and probably issues Nos. 2 and 3 as well. Generally, when elections are about the economy, the system for determining a winner is not complicated. When times are bad, the sitting president and party take a hit. Voters tend to see troubles occurring on their watch as their responsibility and punish them at the ballot box. But as primary season nears, the game looks a bit different for 2012. Not even President Barack Obama, would argue that times are good – sluggish economic growth, an unemployment rate of 9% and the still-troubled housing market dominate the news. And yet, despite all the problems, Mr. Obama sits in a fairly comfortable position. In the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, 45% of...