Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Pop America vs. Soda America

The only demographic map you'll ever need.

None of this stuff is particularly mind-shattering. If you didn't know that soda* is called "soda" in the Northeast and California, "pop" in the Midwest, Great Plains and Pacific Northwest, and "coke" in the South, then you haven't been drinking enough syrupy carbonated beverages.

I'm intrigued, though, by the borderlands between the regions. Along the Allegheny Mountains there's a rather abrupt break separating honest soda-loving eastern New York and Pennsylvania from the dissolute, pop-drinking parts of those states. The boundaries between soda and coke are much hazier and more peculiar. Look at New Mexico, Virginia and North Carolina: they're crazy-quilts of different uses, with some "other" counties thrown in. Alaska too.

Is there a broader significance to this? Well, Arizona was the only "soda" state to vote for Bush, while no "coke" states went for Kerry. So it's likely to remain in 2008. The road to the White House runs through the "pop" states. A man who could connect with them, who could put down his grinders and his po'boys and break sub with them - such a man would win in a landslide.

*And yes, folks, the name of the beverage is actually "soda". Don't give me none of your hillbilly "pop" crap. Civilized people drink soda. I'll defend that proposition to the death if need be.