Were it not for the fact that the electoral college determines the winner of the Presidential race, we wouldn't be talking about Red States and Blue States. On it's face, it makes sense, but dig a little deeper and it becomes clear that Blue States aren't always so blue and Red States aren't always so red. No, what really stands out is that America is clearly divided along party lines based on where they live, specifically an urban area or a rural area. Pouring over the interactive maps that the New York Times has posted on it's website, it becomes very clear that urban areas in America are predominately blue and rural areas equally as red. Here in Kentucky, one look at the map and it's clear that it's a conservative state with one very liberal county, one mildly blue county and and 118 very conservative counties.
The above picture shows all 120 Kentucky counties. Of those, Obama carried 8 of them. Two of those counties, making up a very large part of the electorate, are home to the two largest cities in Kentucky, Louisville (1.2 million) and Lexington (500,000). The other 6 are traditional Democratic strongholds.
The above photo shows the impact that areas around the state had in the election. Only one county stands out and that's Jefferson (Louisville).
The final photo above shows the change in how people voted from 2004. Most of the counties that voted more Democratic are located near the major metropolitan areas of the state.
The same thing plays out all across the county though there are a couple of exceptions. Every county in Oklahoma voted for McCain and Utah, with it's heavy Mormon population, also went overwhelmingly for McCain. In the heavily urbanized northeast, most counties went for Obama.
Some examples of urban is blue and rural is red....
McCain won Tennessee but Memphis and Nashville voted strong for Obama.
McCain won Georgia but Atlanta voted heavily for Obama while it's suburbs went for McCain.
McCain won Texas but Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin all went for Obama.
McCain won Louisiana easily but New Orleans went for Obama.
McCain won Arkansas but Little Rock went for McCain.
McCain won Montana but Great Falls went for Obama.
McCain won Idaho but Boise went for Obama.
Conversely, a lot of blue states aren't really all that blue when you look at them.
Obama won California but outside of the coastal big cities, the rest of the state went for McCain.
Obama won Oregon but leave Portland and it's clearly McCain country.
Obama won Washington but outside of Seattle, it's pretty damn red.
Obama won New York but outside of the Big Apple, well, it's also pretty red.
Obama won Ohio but leave Cleavland and Columbus and it's a red state.
Obama won Indiana but outside of Indy, Gary and Bloomington, it's still red.
Obama won Pennsylvania but leave Philly and Pittsburgh and it's red as can be.
Illinois would normally be a good example but with Obama being the local kid, it doesn't show up as much this year. Still, without Chicago and greater Cook County, Illinois is red.