Evangelical Epicenters

February 1, 2012
With a dominating win in Florida, the Romney campaign moves forward with a nice push of momentum into February. And now, well, who knows? The one certainty of the 2012 presidential campaign thus far is its uncertainty. It wasn’t long ago when we were talking about former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s dominating win in South Carolina and, before that, the possibility that Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, could be looking at a January sweep. But few things seem clear out of the Florida results. Romney has again reestablished himself as the front-runner for now. And, maybe more important, he has reestablished himself as the candidates of the wealthier swing-voting communities – counties that Patchwork Nation calls the Monied Burbs. Romney won six of Florida’s seven Monied Burbs and 49% of the vote in them overall. (You can see the results analyzed through Patchwork Nation’s 12 county types here.) As we have noted in the past, those places...
January 31, 2012
The game of presidential see-saw the GOP has been playing in 2012 continues Tuesday night in Florida. A short 10 days ago former House speaker Newt Gingrich emerged from the South Carolina Primary with a big win and lot of momentum. It looks like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is ready to take the momentum back. Many polls show him with a double-digit lead in the Sunshine State. Florida is considered a critical contest because of the state's size and diversity. More people will vote Tuesday night than have voted in all the Republican nominating contests thus far combined. And nearly all of Patchwork Nation's geographic/demographic county types -- 10 of the 12 -- are represented in the peninsula. But regardless of who wins the state, there are some key components in the vote to keep an eye on. (You can follow the vote live through the Patchwork Nation county-types on WNYC's website here.) WHERE ARE THE BASES OF SUPPORT? In many ways, Romney's lead in...
January 23, 2012
Just like that, the Republican presidential race feels changed. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich didn’t just win in South Carolina, he won everywhere across the state. Looking at the results through Patchwork Nation’s demographic/geographic breakdown, Mr. Gingrich could not have done much better. There are five county types in South Carolina and Mr. Gingrich won them all – the wealthy Monied Burbs, the culturally conservative Evangelical Epicenters, the Military Bastions with many soldiers and veterans, the Boom Towns that grew rapidly in the last decade and the Minority Central counties with larger African-American populations. This map from WNYC shows how the vote went county-by-county in South Carolina using Patchwork Nation’s county types. In some ways, the numbers aren’t a shock. Going into the vote, most analysts talked about how different South Carolina is from New Hampshire where former...
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 11, 2012
Mitt Romney had a lot of advantages going into New Hampshire – from residency to voter demographics – and in the end it all showed up on Tuesday night. It was an impressive win. The former Massachusetts governor won nine of the state’s 10 counties. He won a larger percentage of the vote than he or Sen. John McCain won in 2008 – 39 percent to 37 percent for McCain. And using Patchwork Nation’s demographic/geographic breakdown of counties, he won in all of the state’s county types from the wealthy Monied Burbs to the small town Service Worker Centers. The meaning for the nominating process has already been hashed over and over. In winning both the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary, Romney has pulled off a trick no non-incumbent GOP presidential candidate has even done. He looks well-prepared for the votes to come down the road in South Carolina and Florida this month and probably for the nomination. But the potentially bigger message...
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...
January 2, 2012
On Tuesday evening, when Iowa Republican caucus voters gather in classrooms and halls across the state, the name most critical to understanding the outcome won’t be among the candidates: Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor. Four years ago, Mr. Huckabee won the caucuses in something of a surprise – former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had invested a lot of time and money in the state. And while the power of the Christian Right is often cited as the force behind Mr. Huckabee’s victory, that’s only half the story. Look at the 2008 caucus results mapped and analyzed through Patchwork Nation, our demographic/geographic breakdown of counties, and a few points become clear. First, Mr. Huckabee’s win was broad-based. He won 74 of Iowa’s 99 counties, including those that hold Des Moines, the most populous city in the state. Using Patchwork Nation’s county types as a measure, he won in a range of places, from the wealthy Monied Burbs...
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...