Red states and blue states

Since the 2000 United States presidential election, red states and blue states have referred to states of the United States whose voters predominantly choose either the Republican Party (red) or Democratic Party (blue) presidential candidates.[1] Since then, the use of the term has been expanded to differentiate between states being perceived as liberal and those perceived as conservative. Examining patterns within states reveals that the reversal of the two parties' geographic bases has happened at the state level, but it is more complicated locally, with urban/rural divides associated with many of the largest changes.[2][3]

All states contain both liberal and conservative voters (i.e. they are "purple") and only appear blue/red on the electoral map because of the winner-take-all system used by most states in the Electoral College.[4][5] However, the perception of some states as "blue" and some as "red" was reinforced by a degree of partisan stability from election to election—from the 2000 election to the 2004 election, only three states changed "color" and as of 2016 fully 38 out of 50 states have voted for the same party in every presidential election since the red/blue terminology was popularized in 2000.

Color Representation Swap from original meaning

The choice of colors reverses a long-standing convention of political colors whereby red symbols (such as the red flag or red star) are associated with left-wing politics and right-wing movements often choose blue as a contrasting color.[6] Indeed, until the 1980s Democrats were often represented by red and Republicans by blue.[1] According to The Washington Post, the terms were coined by journalist Tim Russert during his televised coverage of the 2000 presidential election.[7] That was not the first election during which the news media used colored maps to depict voter preferences in the various states, but it was the first time a standard color scheme took hold; the colors were often reversed or different colors used before the 2000 election.

Red state, blue state
Summary of results of the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 presidential elections
  States carried by the Republicans in all four elections
  States carried by the Republicans in three of the four elections
  States carried by each party twice in the four elections
  States carried by the Democrats in three of the four elections
  States carried by the Democrats in all four elections
116th United States Congress Senators
116th Congress Senate party membership by state showing Vermont and Maine one independent senator each, Bernie Sanders and Angus King, respectively

Origins of the color scheme

The colors red and blue also feature on the United States flag. Traditional political mapmakers, at least throughout the 20th century, have used blue to represent the modern-day Republicans, as well as the earlier Federalist Party. This may have been a holdover from the Civil War, during which the predominantly Republican north was considered "blue."[8] However, at that time, a maker of widely-sold maps accompanied them with blue pencils in order to mark Confederate force movements, while red was for the union.[9]

Even earlier, in the 1888 presidential election, Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison used maps that coded blue for the Republicans, the color perceived to represent the Union and "Lincoln's Party", and red for the Democrats.[10] The parties themselves had no official colors, with candidates variously using either or both of the national color palette of red and blue (white being unsuitable for printed materials).

There was one historical use, associated with boss rule, of blue for Democrats and red for Republicans: in the late 19th century and early 20th century, Texas county election boards used color-coding to help Spanish speakers and illiterates identify the parties;[11] however, this system was not applied consistently in Texas and was not replicated in any other state. In 1908, The New York Times printed a special color map, using blue for Democrats and yellow for Republicans, to detail Theodore Roosevelt's 1904 electoral victory.[12] That same year, a color supplement included with a July issue of the Washington Post used red for Republican-leaning states, blue for Democratic-leaning states, yellow for "doubtful" states and green for territories, which had no presidential vote.[13]

Contemporary use

The advent of color television prompted television news reporters to rely on color-coded electoral maps, though sources conflict as to the conventions they followed. One source claims that in the six elections prior to 2000 every Democrat but one had been coded red. It further claims that from 1976 to 2004 in an attempt to avoid favoritism in color-coding the broadcast networks standardized on the convention of alternating every four years between blue and red the color used for the incumbent party.[13][14]

According to another source, in 1976, John Chancellor, the anchorman for NBC Nightly News, asked his network's engineers to construct a large illuminated map of the United States. The map was placed in the network's election-night news studio. If Jimmy Carter, the Democratic candidate that year, won a state, it lit up in red whereas if Gerald Ford, the incumbent Republican President, carried a state, it was in blue.[1] The feature proved to be so popular that, four years later, all three major television networks used colors to designate the states won by the presidential candidates, though not all using the same color scheme. NBC continued its color scheme (blue for Republicans) until 1996.[1] NBC newsman David Brinkley famously referred to the 1980 election map outcome showing Republican Ronald Reagan's 44-state landslide as resembling a "suburban swimming pool."[15]

Since the 1984 election, CBS has used the opposite scheme: blue for Democrats, red for Republicans. ABC used yellow for Republicans and blue for Democrats in 1976, then red for Republicans and blue for Democrats in 1980 and 1984, and 1988. In 1980, when John Anderson ran a relatively high-profile campaign as an independent candidate, at least one network provisionally indicated that they would use yellow if he were to win a state. Similarly, at least one network would have used yellow to indicate a state won by Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996, though neither of them did claim any states in any of these years.

By 1996, color schemes were relatively mixed, as CNN, CBS, ABC, and The New York Times referred to Democratic states with the color blue and Republican ones as red, while Time and The Washington Post used an opposite scheme.[16][17][18] NBC used the color blue for the incumbent party, which is why the Democrats were represented by Blue in 2000.

In the days following the 2000 election, whose outcome was unclear for some time after election day, major media outlets began conforming to the same color scheme because the electoral map was continually in view, and conformity made for easy and instant viewer comprehension. On Election Night that year, there was no coordinated effort to code Democratic states blue and Republican states red; the association gradually emerged. Partly as a result of this eventual and near-universal color-coding, the terms "red states" and "blue states" entered popular use in the weeks following the 2000 presidential election. After the results were final, journalists stuck with the color scheme, as The Atlantic's December 2001 cover story by David Brooks entitled, "One Nation, Slightly Divisible", illustrated.[19]

Thus, red and blue became fixed in the media and in many people's minds, despite the fact that no official color choices had been made by the parties.[20] Some Republicans argue the GOP should retain its historic link with blue, since most center-right parties worldwide are associated with blue. On March 14, 2014, the California Republican Party officially rejected Red and adopted Blue as its color. Archie Tse, The New York Times graphics editor who made the choice when the Times published its first color presidential election map in 2000, provided a nonpolitical rationale, explaining that "Both 'Republican' and 'red' start with the letter 'R.'"[21]

Map interpretation

Map of USA by state upperhouse
The blue and red state color scheme when applied for U.S. state legislative upper house majorities as of 2018 (Nebraska, in yellow, has a nonpartisan unicameral legislature)

There are several problems in creating and interpreting election maps. Popular vote data is necessarily aggregated at several levels, such as counties and states, which are then colored to show election results. Maps of this type are called choropleth maps, which have several well-known problems that can result in interpretation bias. One problem arises when areal units differ in size and significance, as is the case with election maps. These maps give extra visual weight to larger areal units, whether by county or state. This problem is compounded in that the units are not equally significant. A large county or state in area may have fewer voters than a small one in area, for example. Some maps attempt to account for this by using cartogram methods, but the resulting distortion can make such maps difficult to read.[22][23] Another problem relates to data classification. Election maps often use a two-class color scheme (red and blue), which results in a map that is easy to read but is highly generalized. Some maps use more classes, such as shades of red and blue to indicate the degree of election victory. These maps provide a more detailed picture, but have various problems associated with classification of data. The cartographer must choose how many classes to use and how to break the data into those classes. While there are various techniques available, the choice is essentially arbitrary. The look of a map can vary significantly depending on the classification choices. The choices of color and shading likewise affect the map's appearance. Further, all election maps are subject to the interpretation error known as the ecological fallacy.[24]

Finally, there are problems associated with human perception.[25] Large areas of color appear more saturated than small areas of the same color.[25] A juxtaposition of differing colors and shades can result in contrast misperceptions. For example, due to the simultaneous contrast effect, the Bezold effect, and other factors, an area shaded light red surrounded by areas shaded dark red will appear even lighter. Differing shades of red and blue compound this effect.[26]

Cartographers have traditionally limited the number of classes so that it is always clear which class a color shade represents. Some election maps, however, have broken this tradition by simply coloring each areal unit with a red-blue mixture linked to voting ratio data—resulting in an "unclassified choropleth map". These "purple maps" are useful for showing the highly mixed nature of voting, but are extremely difficult to interpret in detail. The lack of clear classes make these purple maps highly prone to the problems of color perception described above. However, there are pros and cons to both classified and unclassified choropleth maps. Each tend to bring out some patterns while obscuring others.[26] All these points should be taken into account when looking at election maps.


The paradigm has come under criticism on a number of fronts. Many argue that assigning partisanship to states is only really useful as it pertains to the Electoral College, primarily a winner-take-all system of elections (with the exceptions of Nebraska and Maine).

The Democratic and Republican parties within a particular state may have a platform that departs from that of the national party, sometimes leading that state to favor one party in state and local elections and the other in Presidential elections. This is most evident in the Southern United States, where the state Democratic Party organizations tend to be more conservative than the national party, especially on social issues. Likewise, Republicans have elected a number of statewide officeholders in states that are solidly Democratic at the presidential level, such as New York, Illinois, Hawaii, and Vermont.

The United States presidential election in Arkansas, 2004 as well as the one in West Virginia in 2004 were won by Republican George W. Bush, but Democrats at the time held all four U.S. Senate seats and a majority of elected executive officeholders in those states. Similarly, the United States presidential election in Tennessee, 2004 went to Bush in both 2000 and 2004, but going into 2004, its governor was a Democrat and both chambers of the state legislature were controlled by Democrats as well. The converse can also be true, as in the case of the United States presidential election in Maine, 2004, which had two Republican U.S. Senators, but the states were won by Democrat John Kerry. Likewise, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Hawaii all voted in wide margins for Democrat Kerry, but all had Republican governors at the time.

In his address before the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama spoke on the issue of blue states and red states, saying: "The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into red states and blue states — red states for Republicans, and blue states for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states. We coach Little League in the blue states and have gay friends in the red states. … We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America."[27]

In April 2008, Republican presidential nominee John McCain predicted that the 2008 presidential election would not follow the red state/blue state pattern, saying, "I'm not sure that the old red state, blue state scenario that prevailed for the last several elections works. I think most of these states that we have either red or blue are going to be up for grabs."[28] Arguably, this eventually proved to be somewhat true, but not in McCain's favor as Obama won three "red" states that had not voted Democratic in many years, namely Virginia, North Carolina, and Indiana along with a part of deep red Nebraska, via the state's second congressional district. Obama also came close to winning Missouri, losing it by only a 0.2% margin. Notably, however, the only deviations from the preexisting red-blue paradigm were all in Obama's favor.

Purple states

A purple state refers to a swing state where both Democratic and Republican candidates receive strong support without an overwhelming majority of support for either party. Purple states are also often referred to as battleground states.

The demographic and political applications of the terms have led to a temptation to presume this arbitrary classification is a clear-cut and fundamental cultural division. Given the general nature and common perception of the two parties, "red state" implies a conservative region or a more conservative American, and "blue state" implies a more liberal region or a more liberal American. But the distinction between the two groups of states is less simplistic. The analysis that suggests political, cultural and demographic differences between the states is more accurate when applied to smaller geographical areas.

Cartogram of the United States showing each county with a size proportional to its population as the colors reflect the 2004 presidential election results[29]

Traditionally, the practice of designating a U.S. state as "red" or "blue" is based on the "winner-take-all" system employed for presidential elections by 48 of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Electoral law in Maine and Nebraska makes it possible for those states to split their electoral votes.

Despite the prevalent "winner-take-all" practice, the minority always gets a sizable vote. While the red/blue paradigm encourages hardening into ideological camps, political parties, candidates in those parties and individuals members of those parties have a variety of positions and outlooks—nearly every town, city and patch of farmland in the country is "purple", a mix of neighbors, friends and family, each of whose own mixed political preferences tip the scale to vote for one side or the other in a contest. Individually and collectively, they are not reducible to red or blue.[30]

An emerging area of science that includes network theory, complexity science and big data is changing the way we see and understand complex systems and massive amounts of information by allowing us to see and analyze massive detail. One example is Mark Newman's election results maps,[29] which change from a red/blue paradigm to one of shades of purple.[30]

All states were consistent in voting for George W. Bush or his Democratic Party opponent in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, except for three, namely New Mexico (Al Gore in 2000 and Bush in 2004); Iowa (Gore in 2000 and Bush in 2004); and New Hampshire (Bush in 2000 and Kerry in 2004). The 2004 election showed two of these three states to be true to the presidential preferences of their respective regions, creating a greater regional separation; thus, an argument that the country was more divided from the 2000 election. All three of those states were very close in both elections. In 2008, Obama carried Iowa and New Hampshire by more than nine percentage points, and New Mexico by double digits.

During the Bush administration, the red-blue map was criticized by some for exaggerating the perceived support for President Bush. In the 2000 election, Bush received a smaller share of the popular vote than Al Gore, and four years later defeated John Kerry in this count by less than two and a half percentage points. However, because of the large geographical size of many states in the Central and Southern United States, the color-coded map appeared to show a huge tide of support for Bush and the Republicans with thin outliers of Democratic support on the coasts and near the Great Lakes.[31]

In reality, many of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain states which voted for Bush are relatively sparsely populated (Nebraska, for instance, has a population similar to the island of Manhattan). While the "blue states" represented a comparatively small geographic area, they contained large populations, which ended up making President Bush's national level of support slimmer than the red–blue map would seem to indicate. Various different maps, such as ones which coded states based on the strength of their support for one candidate or another, ones which gave results based on county, or ones which displayed states according to the size of their population, were proposed as correctives to this perceived flaw.


Cartogram 2008 red blue
Cartogram of Electoral College results (votes as of 2008) of four past Presidential elections (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008)
  States carried by the Republican in all four elections
  States carried by the Republican in three of the four elections
  States carried by each party twice in the four elections
  States carried by the Democrat in three of the four elections
  States carried by the Democrat in all four elections

Feelings of cultural and political polarization between red and blue states, which have gained increased media attention since the 2004 election, have led to increased mutual feelings of alienation and enmity.[32] The polarization has been present for only three close elections (2000, 2004 and 2016). In the 1996 election, 31 U.S. states were "blue" (i.e. they voted for Democrat Bill Clinton) and 19 "red" (i.e. they voted for Republican Bob Dole), though at the time the current color scheme was not as universal as today). One trend that has been true for several election cycles is that states that vote Republican tend to be more rural and more sparsely populated (thus having fewer electoral votes) than states that vote Democratic.

Polarization is more evident on a county scale with the growing percentage of the U.S. population living in "landslide counties", counties where the popular vote margin between the Democratic and Republican candidate is 20 percentage points or greater.[33][34][35] In 1976, only 27 percent of U.S. voters lived in "landslide counties", which increased to 39 percent by 1992.[36][37] Nearly half of U.S. voters resided in counties that voted for Bush or Kerry by 20 percentage points or more in 2004.[38] In 2008, 48 percent of U.S. voters lived in such counties, which increased further to 50 percent in 2012 and to 61 percent in 2016.[36][37]


Although the Electoral College determines the Presidential election, a more precise measure of how the country actually voted may be better represented by either a county-by-county or a district-by-district map. By breaking the map down into smaller units (including many "blue counties" lying next to "red counties"), these maps tend to display many states with a purplish hue, thus demonstrating that an ostensibly "blue" or "red" state may, in fact, be closely divided. Note that election maps of all kinds are subject to errors of interpretation.


These county-by-county and district-by-district maps reveal that the true nature of the divide is between urban areas/inner suburbs and suburbs/rural areas. For example, in the 2008 elections, even in "solidly blue" states, the majority of voters in most rural counties voted for Republican John McCain (good examples would be Minnesota, New York, New Jersey and Maryland), with some exceptions.

In "solidly red" states, a majority of voters in most urban counties voted for Democrat Barack Obama; good examples for this would be Dallas County, Texas and Fulton County, Georgia (the homes of major U.S. cities Dallas and Atlanta, respectively). Both provided Obama with double-digit margins of victory over McCain. An even more detailed precinct-by-precinct breakdown demonstrates that in many cases, large cities voted for Obama, but their suburbs were divided.

Red states and blue states have several demographic differences from each other. The association between colors and demographics was notably made in a column by Mike Barnicle, and reinforced in a controversial response from Paul Begala, though the association between demographics and voting patterns was well known before that.


In the 2008 elections, both parties received at least 40% from all sizable socioeconomic demographics, except that McCain (Republican) received 37% from voters earning $15,000–$30,000, and 25% from voters earning under $15,000, according to exit polling. In 2008, college graduates were split equally; those with postgraduate degrees voted for Obama by an 18% margin. By household income, Obama got a majority of households with less than $50,000 in annual income.

McCain got a slight majority (52% to 47%) of households consisting of married couples; Obama led almost 2–1 (65% to 33%) among unmarried voters. McCain held the more suburban and rural areas of both the red and blue states, while Obama received the large majority of the urban city areas in all the states. Independent candidate Ralph Nader did not win any electoral college votes, yet he received 2% of the vote of voters from high-income households and voters with graduate degrees.

Age, gender, marital status and religion

As a group, young adults under age 40 sided with Obama. More married men voted for McCain, but more single men voted for Obama. Generally, the same held true for married versus single women, but a higher percentage of women overall voted for Obama than for McCain. Catholic and Protestant Christians were more likely to vote for McCain than for Obama, whereas voters of other faiths, as well as secular atheist and agnostic voters, predominantly favored Obama. White, middle-aged, Christian, married males made up McCain's largest constituency.

2016 exit polls

Demographic Household income
Under $30k $30k–$50k $50k–$100k $100k–$200k $200k–$250k $250k or more
Trump 41% 42% 50% 48% 49% 48%
Clinton 53% 51% 46% 47% 48% 46%
Demographic Age   Marital status   Sexual orientation
18-29 30-44 45-64 65 and over Married Unmarried LGBT Non-LGBT
Trump 37% 42% 53% 53% 53% 38% 14% 48%
Clinton 55% 50% 44% 45% 43% 55% 78% 47%
Demographic Sex   Educational attainment
Male Female High school or less Some College College graduate Postgraduate
Trump 53% 41% 51% 52% 45% 37%
Clinton 42% 54% 45% 43% 49% 58%
Demographic Vote by race   Religion
White Native American Black Hispanic Asian Other Protestant or
other Christian
Catholic Jewish Something else None
Trump 58% 48% 8% 29% 29% 37% 58% 52% 24% 29% 26%
Clinton 37% 46% 88% 65% 65% 56% 39% 45% 71% 62% 68%

Source: NYT exit polls: 24,537 surveyed[39]

Demographic Vote by sex and marital status
Married men Unmarried men Married women Unmarried women
Trump 57% 44% 47% 32%
Clinton 39% 46% 49% 63%
Demographic Vote by race and sex
White men White women Black men Black women Latino men Latino women Others
Trump 62% 52% 13% 4% 32% 25% 31%
Clinton 31% 43% 82% 94% 63% 69% 61%
Demographic Vote by race and age
65 and older
65 and older
65 and older
All others
Trump 47% 54% 62% 58% 9% 7% 9% 9% 26% 28% 32% 25% 31%
Clinton 43% 37% 34% 39% 85% 89% 90% 91% 68% 65% 64% 73% 61%
Demographic White born-again or evangelical Christians   Religious services attendance frequency
Yes No Weekly or more Monthly Few times a year Never
Trump 80% 34% 55% 49% 46% 30%
Clinton 16% 60% 41% 47% 48% 62%
Demographic Vote by race and education   Area type
Whites with
college degrees
Whites without
college degrees
Nonwhites with
college degrees
Nonwhites without
college degrees
Urban area Suburban area Rural area
Trump 48% 66% 22% 20% 34% 49% 61%
Clinton 45% 29% 72% 76% 60% 45% 34%
Demographic White voters by sex and education
White women with
college degrees
White men with
college degrees
White women without
college degrees
White men without
college degrees
Trump 44% 53% 61% 71% 21%
Clinton 51% 39% 34% 23% 74%

Source: CNN exit polls: 24,558 surveyed[40]

Table of presidential elections by states since 1972

  Republican win over 5%   Republican win under 5%   Democratic win over 5%   Democratic win under 5%   Electoral college winner

Year 1972 1976 1980 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012 2016
US Democratic Party Logo.svg Democratic candidate George McGovern Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter Walter Mondale Michael Dukakis Bill Clinton Bill Clinton Al Gore John Kerry Barack Obama Barack Obama Hillary Clinton
Republican Disc.svg Republican candidate Richard Nixon Gerald Ford Ronald Reagan Ronald Reagan George H. W. Bush George H. W. Bush Bob Dole George W. Bush George W. Bush John McCain Mitt Romney Donald Trump
United States National popular vote Nixon Carter Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Gore Bush Obama Obama H. Clinton
 Alabama Nixon Carter Reagan Reagan Bush Bush Dole Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 Alaska Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Bush Dole Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 Arizona Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Bush Clinton Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 Arkansas Nixon Carter Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 California Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry Obama Obama H. Clinton
 Colorado Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Dole Bush Bush Obama Obama H. Clinton
 Connecticut Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry Obama Obama H. Clinton
 Delaware Nixon Carter Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry Obama Obama H. Clinton
Washington, D.C. District of Columbia McGovern Carter Carter Mondale Dukakis Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry Obama Obama H. Clinton
 Florida Nixon Carter Reagan Reagan Bush Bush Clinton Bush Bush Obama Obama Trump
Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia Nixon Carter Carter Reagan Bush Clinton Dole Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 Hawaii Nixon Carter Carter Reagan Dukakis Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry Obama Obama H. Clinton
 Idaho Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Bush Dole Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 Illinois Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry Obama Obama H. Clinton
 Indiana Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Bush Dole Bush Bush Obama Romney Trump
 Iowa Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Dukakis Clinton Clinton Gore Bush Obama Obama Trump
 Kansas Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Bush Dole Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 Kentucky Nixon Carter Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 Louisiana Nixon Carter Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 Maine Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Gore (at-large and ME-01) Kerry Obama Obama H. Clinton (at-large)
Clinton (ME-01)
Gore (ME-02) Trump (ME-02)
 Maryland Nixon Carter Carter Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry Obama Obama H. Clinton
 Massachusetts McGovern Carter Reagan Reagan Dukakis Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry Obama Obama H. Clinton
 Michigan Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry Obama Obama Trump
 Minnesota Nixon Carter Carter Mondale Dukakis Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry Obama Obama H. Clinton
 Mississippi Nixon Carter Reagan Reagan Bush Bush Dole Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 Missouri Nixon Carter Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 Montana Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Dole Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 Nebraska Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Bush Dole Bush Bush McCain (at-large, NE-01, NE-03) Romney Trump (at-large, NE-01, NE-03)
Obama (NE-02) Trump (NE-02)
 Nevada Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Bush Bush Obama Obama H. Clinton
 New Hampshire Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Bush Kerry Obama Obama H. Clinton
 New Jersey Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry Obama Obama H. Clinton
 New Mexico Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Gore Bush Obama Obama H. Clinton
 New York Nixon Carter Reagan Reagan Dukakis Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry Obama Obama H. Clinton
 North Carolina Nixon Carter Reagan Reagan Bush Bush Dole Bush Bush Obama Romney Trump
  North Dakota Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Bush Dole Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 Ohio Nixon Carter Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Bush Bush Obama Obama Trump
 Oklahoma Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Bush Dole Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 Oregon Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Dukakis Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry Obama Obama H. Clinton
 Pennsylvania Nixon Carter Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry Obama Obama Trump
 Rhode Island Nixon Carter Carter Reagan Dukakis Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry Obama Obama H. Clinton
 South Carolina Nixon Carter Reagan Reagan Bush Bush Dole Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 South Dakota Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Bush Dole Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 Tennessee Nixon Carter Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 Texas Nixon Carter Reagan Reagan Bush Bush Dole Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 Utah Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Bush Dole Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 Vermont Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry Obama Obama H. Clinton
 Virginia Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Bush Dole Bush Bush Obama Obama H. Clinton
Washington (state) Washington Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Dukakis Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry Obama Obama H. Clinton
 West Virginia Nixon Carter Carter Reagan Dukakis Clinton Clinton Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump
 Wisconsin Nixon Carter Reagan Reagan Dukakis Clinton Clinton Gore Kerry Obama Obama Trump
 Wyoming Nixon Ford Reagan Reagan Bush Bush Dole Bush Bush McCain Romney Trump

^1 : Split their votes.


United States

The "Democratic blue" and "Republican red" color scheme is now part of the lexicon of American journalism.

Neither party national committee has officially accepted these color designations, though informal use by each party is becoming common. Both parties have since adopted logos that use their respective colors (a blue "D" for Democrats[41] and a white "GOP" with a red elephant for Republicans). National conventions for both major parties increasingly feature the parties' respective colors, from the colors emphasized on convention podiums to the color conventioneers can be seen wearing on the delegate floor. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also alluded the color scheme when it launched a national "Red to Blue Program" in 2006.[42]

The scheme has found acceptance and implementation from the U.S. Federal Government as the Federal Election Commission report for the 2004 presidential election uses the red-Republican and blue-Democratic scheme for its electoral map.[43]


The choice of colors in this divide may appear counter-intuitive to foreign observers, as in most countries, red is associated with socialist or social democratic parties, while blue is associated with conservative parties. For example, the major center-right conservative parties in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and France all use blue or its shades (whether officially or unofficially) whereas the major socialist or social democratic parties in each country are associated with red. If the U.S. followed such a pattern, blue would be used for the Republicans and red for the Democrats. However, the current U.S. scheme has become so ingrained in the American election system that foreign sources who cover U.S. elections, such as the BBC, Der Spiegel and El Mundo follow with the red-Republican, blue-Democratic scheme for U.S. elections.[44][45][46]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Battaglio, Stephen (November 3, 2016). "When red meant Democratic and blue was Republican. A brief history of TV electoral maps". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  2. ^ Gelman, Andrew (2014). "The Twentieth-Century Reversal: How Did the Republican States Switch to the Democrats and Vice Versa?". Statistics and Public Policy. 1: 1–5. CiteSeerX doi:10.1080/2330443X.2013.856147.
  3. ^ Gelman, Andrew (2014). "The Twentieth-Century Reversal: How Did the Republican States Switch to the Democrats and Vice Versa?". Statistics and Public Policy. 1: 1–5. CiteSeerX doi:10.1080/2330443X.2013.856147.
  4. ^ "Most Americans live in Purple America, not Red or Blue America". Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  5. ^ "America really looks like this - Chris Howard's Writing & Art". Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  6. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections – FAQ". Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  7. ^ " About Meet the Press". Retrieved 2008-06-13.
  8. ^ Polidata (accessed 2008-11-25).
  9. ^ "news of the wired". Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  10. ^ "The Political Game: The Red and Blue State Phenomenon". Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  11. ^ "Handbook of Texas Online – REDS AND BLUES". Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  12. ^ "Blogger". Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  13. ^ a b Ben Zimmer (June 17, 2008). "Thinking about Tim Russert, Red States and Blue States". Visual Thesaurus. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  14. ^ Kevin Drum (November 14, 2004). "Red States and Blue States .... Explained!". The Washington Monthly. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  15. ^ Zeller, Tom (2004-02-08). "Ideas & Trends; One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  16. ^ [1] Archived November 22, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Goodman, Walter (1996-11-06). "Those Special Election Bells, Whistles and, Yes, Some Numbers, Too". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  18. ^ Apple, Jr., R. W. (1996-11-07). "A Divided Government Remains, and With It the Prospect of Further Combat". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  19. ^ Brooks, David (December 2001). "One Nation, Slightly Divisible". The Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
  20. ^ Brownstein, Ron (3 September 2001). "Learn the signs of your political colors". CNN. Archived from the original on 3 April 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2010.
  21. ^ Published: February 08, 2004 (2004-02-08). "Ideas & Trends; One State, Two State, Red State, Blue StateΨ Page 2 – New York Times". Retrieved 2012-11-08.
  22. ^ Ellen K. Cromley; Sara L. McLafferty (2011). GIS and Public Health, Second Edition. Guilford Press. p. 132. ISBN 978-1-60918-750-7. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
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  25. ^ a b Senay, Hikmet; Ignatius, Eve. "Rules and Principles of Scientific Data Visualization". Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, The George Washington University. Retrieved 21 November 2010. Saturation may be affected by the size of a colored figure, with greater exponents for smaller areas. The same color placed in a smaller area appears "denser" and hence, more saturated.
  26. ^ a b Andrienko; Andrienko, Gennady (2006). Exploratory Analysis of Spatial and Temporal Data: A Systematic Approach. Birkhäuser. pp. 217–221. ISBN 978-3-540-25994-7. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
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  28. ^ McCain, John (2008-04-06). "McCain Fox News interview". Fox News Sunday (Interview). Interviewed by Chris Wallace. Washington, D.C.: Fox News. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
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  30. ^ a b Rose, Phil Fox (7 November 2012). "We Are All Purple: The Destructive Lie of Red States and Blue States". Patheos. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
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Further reading

External links

2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address

The keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention (DNC) was given by then Illinois State Senator, United States senatorial candidate, and future President Barack Obama on the night of Tuesday, July 27, 2004, in Boston, Massachusetts. His unexpected landslide victory in the March 2004 Illinois U.S. Senate Democratic primary made him a rising star within the national Democratic Party overnight, started speculation about a presidential future, and led to the reissue of his memoir, Dreams from My Father. His keynote address was well received, which further elevated his status within the Democratic Party and led to his reissued memoir becoming a bestseller.Obama first met Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in the spring of 2004, and was one of several names considered for the role of keynote speaker at the party's convention that summer. Obama was told in early July 2004 that he was chosen to deliver the address, and he largely wrote the speech himself, with later edits from the Kerry presidential campaign. Delivered on the second night of the DNC in just under 20 minutes, the address included both a biographical sketch of Obama, his own vision of America, and the reasons for his support of Kerry for the presidency. Unlike almost all prior and all subsequent convention keynote addresses, it was not televised by the commercial broadcast networks, and was only seen by a combined PBS, cable news and C-SPAN television audience of about nine million. Since its delivery, several academics have studied the speech, both for the various narratives it describes as well as its implications for racial reconciliation.

Americana (music)

Americana is an amalgam of American music formed by the confluence of the shared and varied traditions that make up the musical ethos of the United States, specifically those sounds that are merged from folk, country, blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, gospel, and other external influences. Americana, as defined by the Americana Music Association (AMA), is "contemporary music that incorporates elements of various mostly acoustic American roots music styles, including country, roots rock, folk, gospel and bluegrass resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw. While acoustic instruments are often present and vital, Americana also often uses a full electric band."

Central United States

The Central United States is sometimes conceived as between the Eastern and Western United States as part of a three-region model, roughly coincident with the U.S. Census' definition of the Midwestern United States plus the western and central portions of the U.S. Census' definition of the Southern United States. The Central States are typically considered to consist of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Sometimes Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Alabama are also considered to be central states.

4 of 9 Census Bureau Divisions have names containing "Central", though they are not grouped as a region. They include 20 states and 39.45% of the US population as of July 1, 2007.Almost all of the area is in the Gulf of Mexico drainage basin, and most of that is in the Mississippi Basin. Small areas near the Great Lakes drain into the Great Lakes and eventually the St. Lawrence River; the Red River Basin is centered on the North Dakota-Minnesota border and drains to Hudson Bay.

The Central Time Zone is the same area plus the Florida Panhandle, minus Ohio, most of Michigan, most of Indiana, westernmost fringes of Great Plains states, eastern and northern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, and El Paso, Texas.

Floods have been a problem for the region during the 20th and early-21st century.

Civil rights in the United States

Civil rights in the United States are responsibilities and policies that the United States government maintains to achieve equality and prevent discrimination among its citizens.

Culture gap

A culture gap is any systematic difference between two cultures which hinders mutual understanding or relations. Such differences include the values, behavior, education, and customs of the respective cultures.

As international communications, travel, and trade have expanded, some of the communication and cultural divisions have lessened. Books on how to handle and be aware of cultural differences seek to prepare business people and travelers. Immigrants and migrant laborers need to learn the ways of a new culture. Tourists can also be confronted with variants in protocols for tipping, body language, personal space, dress codes, and other cultural issues. Language instructors try to teach cultural differences as well.

Economy of the United States by sector

The economy of the United States has been divided into economic sectors in different ways by different organizations. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) was developed in 1997 and is used by the United States Census Bureau, while the and Exchange Commission]] (SEC).

Fashion in the United States

The United States is one of the leading countries in the fashion design industry, along with France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. Apart from professional business attire, American fashion is eclectic and predominantly informal. While Americans' diverse cultural roots are reflected in their clothing, particularly those of recent immigrants, cowboy hats, boots and leather motorcycle jackets are emblematic of specifically American styles.

New York City and Los Angeles are the centers of America's fashion industry. They are considered leading fashion capitals. New York City is generally considered to be one of the "big four" global fashion capitals, along with Paris, Milan and London.

Flyover country

Flyover country and flyover states are American phrases describing the parts of the United States between the East and the West Coasts. The terms, which are sometimes used pejoratively, but sometimes used defensively, refer to the interior regions of the country passed over during transcontinental flights, particularly flights between the nation's two most populous urban agglomerations, the Northeastern Megalopolis and Southern California. "Flyover country" thus refers to the part of the country that some Americans only view by air and never actually see in person at ground level.Although the term is most commonly associated with states located in the geographic center of the country, the states with the most planes flying over without taking off or landing are located on the East Coast, with number one being Virginia, then North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.The circumstances surrounding alleged "flyover country" locations are prone to vary depending on changes related to urban development, business opportunity, and culture.

International rankings of the United States

The following are links to international rankings of the United States

World Economic Forum 2018–2019 Global Competitiveness Report, ranked 1 out of 144 countries

Economist Intelligence Unit 2013 Where to be born Index, ranked 16 out of 80 countries

World Economic Forum 2016 Global Enabling Trade Report ranked 22

The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal 2018 Index of Economic Freedom ranked 18 out of 178 economies

Fraser Institute Economic Freedom of the World 2013 Annual Report (Economic Freedom Ratings for 2011) ranked 16 out of 152 countries and territories

List of exports of the United States

The following is a list of the exports of the United States.

List of rivers of the United States

Rivers in the United States is a list of rivers in the United States.

Middle America (United States)

Middle America is a colloquial term for the United States heartland, especially the culturally rural and suburban areas of the United States.

Middle America is generally used as both a geographic and cultural label, suggesting a Central United States small town or suburb where most people are middle class, Evangelical Christian or Mainline Protestant and typically of European descent.

Mining in the United States

Mining in the United States has been active since colonial times, but became a major industry in the 19th century with a number of new mineral discoveries causing a series of mining "rushes." In 2015, the value of coal, metals, and industrial minerals mined in the United States was US $109.6 billion. 158,000 workers were directly employed by the mining industry.

Pacific states

The West Pacific States form one of the nine geographic divisions within the United States that are officially recognized by that country's census bureau. There are five states in this division – Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington – and, as its name suggests, they all have coastlines on the Pacific Ocean (and are the only US states that border that ocean). The Pacific States division is one of two divisions can be found within the United States Census Bureau's Western region; the other Western division is the Mountain States.

Despite being slotted into the same region by the Census Bureau, the Pacific, and Mountain divisions are vastly different from one another in many vital respects, most notably in the arena of politics; while nearly all of the Mountain states are regarded as being conservative "red states," four out of five of the Pacific states (all except Alaska) are clearly counted among the liberal "blue states."

Bold denotes election winner

Political colour

Political colours are colours used to represent a political party, either officially or unofficially. Parties in different countries with similar ideologies sometimes use similar colours. For example, the colour red symbolises left-wing ideologies in many countries (see the red flag, Red Army and Red Scare) while the colour orange symbolizes Christian democratic political ideology. However, the political associations of a given colour vary from country to country: red is also the colour associated with the conservative Republican Party in the United States. Politicians making public appearances will often identify themselves by wearing rosettes, flowers or ties in the colour of their political party.

Purple America

Purple America is the belief that a more detailed analysis of the voting results of recent United States national elections reveals that the U.S. electorate is not as polarized between "Red" America (Republican) and "Blue" America (Democratic) as is often depicted in news analysis. The term reflects the fact that news organizations generally use the colors red and blue on maps to indicate when a state or congressional district has been won by a Republican or Democratic candidate, respectively. Because the American political system often awards a state or congressional district entirely to one candidate ("winner take all") without regard to the margin of victory, it results in a map that does not reflect the true distribution of "red" or "blue" votes across the nation. The distortions contained in these maps, the argument goes, contribute to the misperception that the electorate is highly polarized by geography.

Robert Vanderbei at Princeton University made the first Purple America map after the 2000 presidential election. It attempts to reflect the margin of victory in each county by coloring each with a shade between true blue and true red. In light of the general absence of overwhelming victories, this technique results in mostly shades. This map was reprinted in US News & World Report a few months prior to the 2004 election. After the 2004 election, Vanderbei and then others made similar maps summarizing the results. Quickly thereafter, the term Purple America permeated the political blogosphere and entered the public lexicon as a way of stating that the United States is not as divided as the political pundits would have the people believe.Cartograms developed by Gastner, Shalizi, and Newman at the University of Michigan provide another way to depict election results.

Red and Blue

Red and Blue may refer to:

Red and Blue (album)

Red and Blue (film), a 1967 short film starring Vanessa Redgrave

Pokémon Red and Blue, role-playing games developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy

Red states and blue states, referential terms denoting those states of the United States whose residents predominantly vote for the Republican Party or Democratic Party presidential candidates, respectively

Purple describes a range of hues of color occurring between red and blue

Taxpayer Identification Number

A Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is an identifying number used for tax purposes in the United States. It is also known as a Tax Identification Number or Federal Taxpayer Identification Number. A TIN may be assigned by the Social Security Administration or by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Tim Russert

Timothy John Russert (May 7, 1950 – June 13, 2008) was an American television journalist and lawyer who appeared for more than 16 years as the longest-serving moderator of NBC's Meet the Press. He was a senior vice president at NBC News, Washington bureau chief and also hosted an eponymous CNBC/MSNBC weekend interview program. He was a frequent correspondent and guest on NBC's The Today Show and Hardball. Russert covered several presidential elections, and he presented the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey on the NBC Nightly News during the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Time magazine included Russert in its list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2008. Russert was posthumously revealed as a 30-year source for syndicated columnist Robert Novak.

Elections by year
Elections by state
Primaries and caucuses
Nominating conventions
Electoral College
and Popular vote
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