Democrats’ surge wasn’t contained to the traditionally blue states. Not only Obama kept Kerry states and added nine more, Democrats increased their share of votes in counties throughtout the nation.

As the NYT map shows, vast expanses in the northern plains, black South and Midwest saw huge increase in Democrat votes.

Voting shift 2004 x 2008

Voting shift 2004 x 2008

The odd exception was on the area extending from the west of the Great Appalachian Valley, part of the Allegheny Plateau and the Ozarks. On that area, Republicans actually increased their voting participation. It’s the so called “McCain Belt”.

But Politico reader was the first to notice this coincidence: this McCain Belt matches with pretty good accuracy the areas where people self-report their ancestries as simply “American”.

Largest ancestry group by county (2000)

Largest ancestry group by county (2000)

In that area,

the most common response to the U.S. Census question on ancestry or ethnic origin is simply “American” or “United States.” The region had very low levels of immigration for nearly 200 years.

In the census of 1870, less than 2% of the southern population was foreign-born, contrasting with 20% for the remaining states. This area hasn’t seen the big increase in european and latino immigration from the last two centuries. For almost eight generations there has been little influence of other cultures, with a stagnant population in a land that time forgot.

It was on that culture that Republicans had their largest inroads. What does it say about the state of the party?

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