Somewhere, over the rainbow, a blog is born. A blog for Kansas. A blog for America. A blog by a reporter with a difficult-to-pronounce last name. But most importantly, a blog that is AMERICA'S ONLY PLACE dedicated to the vital intersection of politics and Sunflowers. The Heartland gods nod in wise approval.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Picking back up

Some interesting exit poll numbers from Charlie Cook's column today:

Perhaps the most interesting, and maybe puzzling, exit poll finding is
that Kerry lost 11 points among the 13 percent of Americans who live in
cities with populations over 500,000, while President Bush jumped up 13
points. Among the 19 percent who live in cities and towns with
populations of between 50,000 and 500,000, Kerry dropped eight points,
while President Bush jumped nine points. I suspect that this is due to
President Bush's improved showings among African-American, Hispanic and
Jewish voters.

Among suburban voters, who make up 45 percent of the electorate, Kerry
held his own compared to Gore in 2000; each took 47 percent. President
Bush increased his share by three points, from 49 percent to 52 percent,
and Ralph Nader collapsed in the suburbs (and elsewhere). In smaller
towns with populations of between 10,000 and 50,000, which represent 8
percent of the vote, Kerry actually picked up 10 points over Gore,
moving from 38 percent to 48 percent, while President Bush dropped nine
points, from 59 percent to 50 percent. Among the 16 percent in rural
America, Kerry improved three points over Gore, while President Bush
remained the same at 59 percent of the vote.

Some of that's counter-intuitive, and I don't know yet what to think of it, but there it is to mull over.

Playing catchup today, my first day in the office in nearly two weeks. John Hanna w/Kansas AP has a think piece on Dennis Moore. For my observations on the KS races, click here, and for a look at what's up next for some delegation members, click here.

So the world keeps spinnin', and in the new political alignment, Sen. Sam Brownback is leading social conservatives in the second Bush term agenda, although his cloning ban is still a tough sell in Congress. Pat Roberts continues to be the focus of will-he-or-won't-he questions on Senate Agriculture.

And I'm still thinkin' of what to do with this blog. It seems to me that, with all the questions about Heartland political appeal and how Middle American views translate into politics, that that sort of focus might be worthwhile, since this is a Midwest/Plains-centric space and the readership reflects that. There's certainly a lot of understanding that needs to be done. Witness, for example, this chestnut from The New York Times published right after the election about NY voters' attitudes toward Flyover:

Dr. Joseph, a bearded, broad-shouldered man with silken gray hair, was sharing coffee and cigarettes with his fellow dog walker, Roberta Kimmel Cohn, at an outdoor table outside the hole-in-the-wall Breadsoul Cafe near Lincoln Center. The site was almost a cliché corner of cosmopolitan Manhattan, with a newsstand next door selling French and Italian newspapers and, a bit farther down, the Lincoln Plaza theater showing foreign movies.

"I'm saddened by what I feel is the obtuseness and shortsightedness of a good part of the country - the heartland," Dr. Joseph said. "This kind of redneck, shoot-from-the-hip mentality and a very concrete interpretation of religion is prevalent in Bush country - in the heartland."

"New Yorkers are more sophisticated and at a level of consciousness where we realize we have to think of globalization, of one mankind, that what's going to injure masses of people is not good for us," he said. His friend, Ms. Cohn, a native of Wisconsin who deals in art, contended that New Yorkers were not as fooled by Mr. Bush's statements as other Americans might be.

"New Yorkers are savvy," she said. "We have street smarts. Whereas people in the Midwest are more influenced by what their friends say." "They're very 1950's," she said of Midwesterners. "When I go back there, I feel I'm in a time warp."

And on that note, have a great day!