We heteros are weeping over the voluntary disregard of the American way, but our gay friends are taking a personal shot to the gut as well. I feel for them.
Anyway, as I scrolled through this morning I came upon a graphic that actually asked me to harken back to my undergraduate education and start thinking about empirical political theory instead of normative.
This is it:
Well sheesh . . . I have local knowledge, maybe I can help answer this question?!
I could just hazard some guesses and try to push it off like I'm a legitimate social scientist or something, but I thought maybe I should commit the time to the actual data. I mean, anyone can see that the Triangle went "Against", which suggests that maybe population density is a meaningful variable. But then you look over to the left at Watauga and Buncombe. Those aren't population centers. It's also not visible on this graphic, but Dare county - way out in the outer banks also voted "Against", so clearly it had nothing to do with density or topography.
So I took a little peek at the 2008 U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey and focused on education. When I reviewed "Percentage of adults between 24 - 64 years of age with a 2 or 4 year college degree" I noticed something veeerrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyy interesting! but it was just a clue.
I needed specific county voting data in order to really see what I thought I saw, so I popped over to the North Carolina Board of Elections and spent a good 2 hours going county by county and tabulating the vote percentages from last night.
What did I discover?
First let me say that I did not do a thorough polimetric review of a vast dataset. If somebody wants me to pay me to do hardcore political science I will be far more thorough, but I think the little chunk of data that I charted says a little something. What does it say? I'm not going to comment on it. I'm going to show you the data table that I compiled here:
|Education Data Source||Election Data Source|
|County||% of adults w/ 2 or 4 year degree||% For||% Against||Majority Vote||U.S. Census Bureau, 2008 American Community Survey||North Carolina Board of Elections|
Okay so that's that. It's data. Not too exciting to look at. Here's the graphic, which is a little more compelling:
Once again . . . I'm not interpreting this data at all, I'm just throwing it against the wall like a spit wad and letting you, the patron, the observer, the savvy consumer of information extract whatever you want from it.
I'm not suggesting there is any overarching truth the be learned, but if I were to toss out a crazy hypothesis, I might suggest that there's an inverse relationship between "education" and support of Amendment One.
That blue line above represents the education levels of each NC county included in the 2008 study in descending order. The jagged red line shows how each of those counties voted last night. As you can see, the red line trends higher (stronger support for Amendment 1) as the blue line trends lower (less education).
I tried to do this as a scatter plot with median lines but I couldn't get it to work so it's just a quick line chart.
The sharpest spike in support of the amendment seemed to occur right after the top 10 most educated counties in the state. Actually it was the top 11 because Pitt and Guilford counties are tied for #10 with 41.2% of adults having at least a 2 year degree.
I thought it would be interesting to average the 10 most educated counties in North Carolina and compare them to the 10 least educated counties in North Carolina and see how their voting patterns match up.
|% of adults
w/ 2 - 4 year
|% For||% Against||Majority|
|Top 10 Most Educated Counties in NC||48.19||43.704||56.296||Against|
|Top 10 Least Educated Counties in NC||18.79||75.949||24.051||For|
Well, well, well . . .
Looks like the 10 most educated counties in the state opposed the amendment 56% to 44%.
Also looks like the 10 least educated counties in the state were quite fond of the amendment. Quite fond indeed.
What does all of this mean?
I don't know man, probably nothing . . .
Probably absolutely nothing.