The research, published with the launch of the project’s website Feb. 14, shows how the regional cultures that are the legacy of these competing colonization streams can be clearly recognized on county-level election result maps in states like Texas, California, Pennsylvania and Washington which all have stark regional cleavages. The effects of the regional differences — outlined in Woodard’s 2011 history, American Nations — overwhelmed the alleged “urban/rural divide” in many of these states, leading statewide Democratic candidates to lose even the urban county vote in the Far Western sections of California and Washington and in the Deep Southern and Greater Appalachian sections of Texas and Pennsylvania. Their Republican rivals lost even the rural county vote in the Left Coast section of those two western states and in the El Norte section of Texas.
“We found that voters behaved very differently based on these centuries-old cultural boundaries, regardless of whether they lived in rural or urban counties,” Woodard wrote. “In most cases, rural and urban voters in a given U.S. region continue to support the same candidates, though, as has always been the case, by different margins.”