From The New York Times, White Democrats Lose More Ground in South:
There are other signs that the realignment might not be permanent. Growing Latino populations in Florida and Texas, and in Georgia and South Carolina, could rearrange the political map again before too long.
And then there is the curious case of North Carolina. While Republicans racked up historic victories in state races on Tuesday, seven of the state’s eight Democratic congressmen survived challenges, including Heath Shuler, a young Blue Dog elected in 2006.
That, oddly enough, leaves North Carolina with one of the most Democratic Congressional delegations outside of the Northeast.
This an illustration of the maxim that differences among white people are not worth comment, even if they have more impact than differences between racial minorities and whites. At some point Latinos in states in the South aside from Texas and Florida will be numerous enough to be significant, but right now they’re not there yet. But what about Northern transplants? Or those from more exotic locales? If they’re white Northerners who resettle in the Research Triangle of North Carolina aren’t worth mentioning explicitly I guess, but that’s certainly a relatively parsimonious explanation for why North Carolina in particular seems to have weathered the “Republican wave” rather well. Just as Latinos may have given Democrats a demographic booster-shot out West, in North Carolina the addition of Northern transplants who operate somewhat outside of the traditional black-white cultural divide in the South may have bolstered the Democrats.
To make this more concrete, I’ve taken the pop, soda and coke data for Southern states and created ratios of each to the total sum of the three. Below is a bar graph which shows the values for all three by state:
The high values for “pop” in Kentucky and Oklahoma are pointers to the fact that these aren’t “pure” Southern states. Contrast with Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. These are the “Deep South” states which have been least touched by the demographic and social forces which characterize the “New South.” Notice Virginia and North Carolina. There is probably a geographic cline which explains the high value for soda here, but I suspect part of it is simply the large number of Northern transplants in both states.
Image Credit: Bora Zivkovic