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"Media markets?" you might be sputtering. "But I just got done redistricting the House into 1,000 seats using the Wyoming rule, calculated their PVIs, and then gave them all ridings names!" Yes, here's one more way of breaking down the country into component parts, a favorite activity at Daily Kos Elections if the recent diary list is any indication.

This project, of course, has no immediate bearing on our electoral prospects. Neverthless, I feel media markets are a really interesting level of analysis that fill in a gap between states and congressional districts (or counties), and I think they're worth taking seriously. I've been compiling data on media markets now so that we have the tools available to better discuss the money behind ad-buying decisions later, as the campaign season starts to really go full tilt. (Those of you who were around for the Swing State Project days may remember the bang for the buck index, which looked at the media-costs-related efficiencies of investing in different netroots candidates, and which is something I definitely want to reprise this year... in the meantime, I thought I'd share some of the demographic highlights.)

On the one hand, media markets are a more granular sort than states (there are 210 of them), without getting too granular, as with counties (of which there are more than 3,000), or even CDs, which at 435 can get a little mind-numbing. (And unlike CDs,  they're compact, rather than, usually, gerrymandered to maximize political advantage.) And on the other hand, they're a lot more culturally cohesive than states, differentiating parts of large states that encompass a diverse array of demographics... and they also reflect the fact that those cultural/demographic affinity clusters don't usually honor state lines, especially where major metropolitan areas sit on both sides of large rivers.

If you've ever tried to research this topic, you probably know how hard it is to find any definite information even about how many people live in a market, let alone what its rates per point are. Luckily, with a little searching you can find federal government data on what county goes in what market, and from there you can spreadsheet county data to get demographic and/or political data per market. (That link contains a map of each market; here's one less cumbersome map that puts it all in one place, though it seems to have some minor errors compared with the FCC data.)

Why is knowing that stuff important? Because the population of a media market indicates how expensive ad time will be in that particular market; in other words, you pay more to reach more eyeballs. At the same time, though, the market demographics also matter, because advertisers will pay more per eyeball to reach a market where people are likelier to buy the subject of the advertisement. Obviously not every small-dollar contributor can become an expert media buyer, but it can help us make better investment decisions (where choosing which netroots candidates get our small dollars is, essentially, an investment).

So, let's look at the political numbers first; over the fold, we'll talk about demographics a little too. Let's start with the bluest markets:

Market 2008 vote 2004 vote PVI
San Francisco, CA 73/24 69/29 D+21
Monterey, CA 72/26 66/33 D+19
Springfield, MA 65/32 64/35 D+15
Madison, WI 68/31 60/39 D+13
Laredo, TX 71/28 57/43 D+13
Chicago, IL 67/32 60/40 D+13
Honolulu, HI 72/27 54/45 D+12
Duluth, MN 63/35 62/37 D+12
Providence, RI 62/36 61/38 D+11
Washington, DC 65/34 58/41 D+11

And here are the reddest markets. You're probably noticing that most of them are in rural Texas. Some of you might also notice that there's a huge population disparity between the 10 bluest markets (which have a total population of 29 million) and the 10 reddest (total population 4 million... if you're wondering where you find the reddest market with a population of more than 1 million by itself, that'd be Salt Lake City at R+21, at #13).

Market 2008 vote 2004 vote PVI
Amarillo, TX 22/77 20/80 R+30
Abilene, TX 24/75 22/77 R+28
Odessa, TX 26/73 23/77 R+27
San Angelo, TX 27/72 23/76 R+26
Lubbock, TX 29/70 23/77 R+25
Dothan, AL 28/71 26/74 R+24
Idaho Falls, ID 31/66 26/73 R+22
Wichita Falls, TX 30/70 29/71 R+22
Tyler, TX 30/70 29/70 R+22
Panama City, FL 29/70 30/69 R+22

Here are the swingiest markets, which I'm defining as the ones with PVIs closest to even. (You may be asking "Milwaukee? Really?" Sure, Milwaukee County is the biggest clump of Democratic voters in Wisconsin. But the market also includes all of the Circle of Ignorance: Waukesha, Washington, and Ozaukee Counties, whose hard-core Republicanism balances out Milwaukee proper. As you can see in the top 10 bluest list above, it's Madison that pushes Wisconsin over the top in the blue direction.)

Market 2008 vote 2004 vote PVI
San Diego, CA 54/44 48/50 D+1
Wausau, WI 55/43 48/51 D+1
Rochester, NY 55/44 48/51 D+1
Tucson, AZ 51/47 51/48 D+1
Tallahassee, FL 51/48 51/48 D+1
Des Moines, IA 52/46 48/51 R+0
Milwaukee, WI 53/46 48/51 R+0
Norfolk, VA 55/44 46/53 R+0
Austin, TX 53/45 47/52 R+0
Marquette, MI 52/46 48/51 R+1

More over the flip...

A few more electoral numbers; let's look at the 2004-to-2008 trend and see which markets moved most toward us and away from us. I'm defining "trend" as the difference between the 2004 Kerry percentage and the 2008 Obama percentage. The numbers won't be surprising to those people who followed which states moved the most toward the blue column:

Market 2008 vote 2004 vote Trend
Honolulu, HI 72/27 54/45 +18
Lafayette, IN 54/44 39/60 +15
Laredo, TX 71/28 57/43 +14
Harlingen, TX 68/31 54/46 +14
Indianapolis, IN 50/49 38/62 +12
Ft. Wayne, IN 43/55 32/67 +11
Omaha, NE 46/52 36/63 +10
South Bend, IN 49/49 39/60 +10
Fargo, ND 50/48 40/58 +10
Terre Haute, IN 47/51 38/62 +9

Likewise, the markets that trended away from the Dems the fastest should look familiar:

Market 2008 vote 2004 vote Trend
Jonesboro, AR 36/60 48/51 -11
Little Rock, AR 41/57 47/52 -6
Lake Charles, LA 34/64 39/60 -5
New Orleans, LA 43/55 48/51 -5
Sherman, TX 31/69 35/64 -5
Bluefield, WV 39/59 43/56 -4
Beaumont, TX 39/60 43/56 -4
Jackson, TN 38/61 42/58 -4
Ft. Smith, AR 34/64 37/62 -4
Charleston, WV 43/55 46/53 -3

(In fact, because there aren't a lot more of them, I'll list every other media market where there was a negative Kerry-to-Obama trend, continuing on with #11: Knoxville, Tri-Cities, Lafayette, LA, Huntsville, Alexandria, LA, Shreveport, Wheeling, Tulsa, Youngstown, Chattanooga, Clarksburg, WV, Panama City, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Parkersburg, WV, Tucson, Paducah, and Tallahassee.)

Turning now to demographic information, this next table might actually be the most important, at least in terms of figuring how expensive it is to advertise in a particular market: the most populous and least populous markets, according to 2010 Census numbers. (If you're wondering how the seemingly arbitrary decision is made on whether or not a city gets its own market, it seems to boil down to whether that town has its own network affiliate or affiliates, rather than just rebroadcasting translators for other city's TV stations. So, yes, that means little Glendive, Montana makes the cut.)

Market Popu. Market Popu.
New York, NY 20,852,971 Glendive, MT 10,145
Los Angeles, CA 17,895,552 * North Platte, NE 37,590
Chicago, IL 9,642,027 Alpena, MI 40,540
Philadelphia, PA 7,980,444 Helena, MT 69,007
San Francisco, CA 7,303,245 Juneau, AK 71,002
Dallas, TX 7,020,482 Presque Isle, ME 71,870
Washington, DC 6,390,174 Zanesville, OH 86,074
Atlanta, GA 6,336,935 Victoria, TX 86,793
Boston, MA 6,322,433 Mankato, MN 121,957
Houston, TX 6,269,293 St. Joseph, MO 127,329

(That asterisk is because the number actually reflects the sum of the Los Angeles and Palm Springs markets. Riverside County is the only very populous county in the nation that gets split between markets, so I don't give an accurate breakdown of how the population within that county actually splits... the Palm Springs market portion of Riverside Co. is probably only several hundred thousand, though.)

Turning to race and ethnicity data now, here are the markets with the highest and lowest percentage of non-Hispanic white residents. Note that there's a lot of correlation between the whitest, and least populous, markets:

Market White % Market White %
Alpena, MI 96.8 Laredo, TX 3.5
Parkersburg, WV 95.9 Harlingen, TX 8.6
Clarksburg, WV 95.3 El Paso, TX 16.7
Bangor, ME 95.2 Honolulu, HI 22.7
Presque Isle, ME 95.1 Yuma, AZ 25.1
Charleston, WV 94.7 Miami, FL 27.7
Glendive, MT 94.6 Greenwood, MS 33.4
Wheeling, WV 94.3 Los Angeles, CA 33.6
Tri-Cities, TN 94.3 Fresno, CA 33.7
Portland, ME 94.3 Corpus Christi, TX 33.7

Moving on to the markets with the highest and lowest percentages of non-Hispanic African-American residents:

Market Black % Market Black %
Greenwood, MS 63.6 Laredo, TX 0.2
Jackson, MS 48.0 Alpena, MI 0.2
Montgomery, AL 43.8 Glendive, MT 0.2
Memphis, TN 41.8 Twin Falls, ID 0.3
Meridian, MS 40.3 Missoula, MT 0.3
Macon, GA 39.0 Butte, MT 0.3
Albany, GA 38.2 Helena, MT 0.3
Columbia, SC 37.9 Bend, OR 0.3
Augusta, GA 37.4 Harlingen, TX 0.3
Columbus, GA 37.1 Billings, MT 0.4

The markets with the highest and lowest Hispanic percentages:

Market Hispanic % Market Hispanic %
Laredo, TX 95.6 Zanesville, OH 0.8
Harlingen, TX 90.0 Wheeling, WV 0.8
El Paso, TX 78.8 Parkersburg, WV 0.8
Yuma, AZ 74.3 Charleston, WV 0.8
Corpus Christi, TX 60.6 Bluefield, WV 0.9
San Antonio, TX 55.0 Presque Isle, ME 0.9
Fresno, CA 53.2 Bangor, ME 1.0
Bakersfield, CA 49.2 Clarksburg, WV 1.0
Miami, FL 48.1 Marquette, MI 1.1
Odessa, TX 48.0 Alpena, MI 1.1

Finally, here are the markets with the highest and lowest Asian percentages:

Market Asian % Market Asian %
Honolulu, HI 37.7 Glendive, MT 0.3
San Francisco, CA 22.6 Zanesville, OH 0.3
Los Angeles, CA 12.1 Clarksburg, WV 0.4
San Diego, CA 10.6 Wheeling, WV 0.4
Sacramento, CA 10.3 Traverse City, MI 0.4
New York, NY 9.2 Alpena, MI 0.4
Seattle, WA 9.0 Presque Isle, ME 0.4
Las Vegas, NV 8.3 Meridian, MS 0.4
Washington, DC 8.2 Minot, ND 0.5
Fresno, CA 6.5 Bluefield, WV 0.5

And last, let's talk about money. Again, this doesn't give a clear sense of which markets might charge more per eyeball because they contain more consumers with more discretionary income, but you can use this information to make an educated guess about it. There's no easy way to compile county numbers on per capita income or median household income into media-market-wide numbers. But what I did find available from the Census Bureau is the number of households in each county that fall into ten different income brackets; in a way, that's even better, because it gives a broader look at the income distribution in an area. (PCI by contrast only gives you one number; an area with an average PCI, for instance, might be very clustered around the middle with few extremes, or an area with a great deal of great inequality that happens to balance out in an average fashion.)

So, what I've done here is list the media markets that have the highest percentage of their households in each of the ten income brackets, which, to avoid blowing up your monitor, will take four different tables to show. For example, the Greenwood, MS, market, which is probably the most impoverished market in the nation, has the highest percentage of households in all three lowest brackets.

Market % in under
$10K bracket
Market % in $10-15K
Market % in $15-25K
Greenwood, MS 18.9 Greenwood, MS 11.3 Greenwood, MS 17.8
Harlingen, TX 15.4 Harlingen, TX 10.1 Alpena, MI 17.5
Monroe, LA 13.7 Bluefield, WV 9.7 Bluefield, WV 17.1
Meridian, MS 13.7 Columbus, MS 9.6 Meridian, MS 16.8
Columbus, MS 13.0 Eureka, CA 9.5 Presque Isle, ME 16.3
Gainesville, FL 13.0 Jonesboro, AR 9.3 Harlingen, TX 16.1
Albany, GA 12.9 Meridian, MS 9.3 Clarksburg, WV 16.1
Tallahassee, FL 12.5 Presque Isle, ME 9.2 Albany, GA 16.0
Lexington, KY 12.4 Monroe, LA 9.1 Charleston, WV 15.7
Hattiesburg, MS 12.2 Tri-Cities, TN 9.1 Columbus, MS 15.7

A different set of markets start to emerge as we move into the markets with disproportionately high numbers of middle-income households:

Market % in $25-35K
Market % in $35-50K
Market % in $50-75K
Twin Falls, ID 14.8 Twin Falls, ID 18.0 Salt Lake City, UT 22.1
Springfield, MO 14.2 Springfield, MO 17.6 Green Bay, WI 21.8
Ottumwa, IA 14.0 Traverse City, MI 17.5 Lima, OH 21.8
Wheeling, WV 13.9 Watertown, NY 17.2 Bend, OR 21.7
Joplin, MO 13.9 Ft. Wayne, IN 17.2 Ft. Wayne, IN 21.6
Rapid City, SD 13.7 St. Joseph, MO 17.0 Sioux City, IA 21.6
Alpena, MI 13.6 Joplin, MO 17.0 Boise, ID 21.6
Traverse City, MO 13.6 Zanesville, OH 16.9 Mankato, MN 21.6
Yuma, AZ 13.6 Sioux City, IA 16.8 Harrisburg, PA 21.5
Myrtle Beach, SC 13.5 Helena, MT 16.8 Glendive, MT 21.4

Interestingly, a lot of state capitols show up in the upper-middle range:

Market % in $75-100K
Market % in $100-150K
Juneau, AK 15.4 Washington, DC 19.2
Anchorage, AK 15.3 Juneau, AK 18.6
Honolulu, HI 15.0 Anchorage, AK 18.1
Fairbanks, AK 15.0 San Francisco, CA 17.6
Madison, WI 14.8 Fairbanks, AK 17.2
Minneapolis, MN 14.6 Boston, MA 17.2
Salt Lake City, UT 14.5 Honolulu, HI 17.2
Harrisburg, PA 14.4 Baltimore, MD 16.8
Hartford, CT 14.3 Hartford, CT 16.6
Helena, MT 14.3 San Diego, CA 15.6

And, finally, here's where you rabble-rousers can find the 1% (or technically, the 4.1% of households who fall in the $200K or more bracket):

Market % in $150-200K
Market % in over
$200K bracket
Washington, DC 9.9 San Francisco, CA 10.6
San Francisco, CA 9.0 Washington, DC 10.4
Boston, MA 7.3 New York, NY 8.7
New York, NY 7.2 Boston, MA 7.1
Baltimore, MD 7.0 Baltimore, MD 6.3
Anchorage, AK 6.7 Monterey, CA 6.2
San Diego, CA 6.7 San Diego, CA 6.2
Hartford, CT 6.4 Los Angeles, CA 6.2
Honolulu, HI 6.4 Chicago, IL 5.6
Los Angeles, CA 6.1 Santa Barbara, CA 5.6

If you're looking for the entire dataset -- and I mean entire, with all of this data at the county level -- it's available at Google Docs.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Looks awesome, although you switched 08 and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Jarman, Siri, MichaelNY


  •  Amazing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but I cant lock the top row, so gotta paste to excel. no biggie.

  •  Interesting stuff. (5+ / 0-)

    One of the quirks of socio-political data -- and I'm being a bit tongue-in-cheek because the underlying process is far more complicated -- is that there's extremely high overlap between "highest % making over $200K," and "places in which people who blog about how much they hate the 1% are willing to live."


  •  Also, it's fantastic that (0+ / 0-)

    you put it on Google Docs. I may have to play around with it after I finish the conference paper that's kicking my ass.

  •  Why isnt NYC on the bluest markets (nt) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Or did I miss something?

  •  I'm in the Orlando market (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This region is definitely drifting left.  I looked up the counties in the Orlando market.  Here there are by 2008 Obama/McCain numbers and 2004 Kerry/Bush numbers.

    Orange County - 59/41, 50/50
    Osceola County - 60/40, 47/53
    Seminole County - 48/51, 42/58
    Volusia County - 53/47, 51/49 (my own county)
    Brevard County - 44/55, 42/58
    Flagler County - 51/49, 48/51
    Lake County - 43/57, 39/60
    Sumter County - 36/63, 37/62
    Marion County - 44/55, 41/58

    Sumter and Marion are mostly white and rural counties, so it's not surprising Obama didn't improve much over Kerry's numbers.  

    Obviously Orange and Osceola counties accounted for the huge swing left in the Orlando market.  Orange and Osceola counties have seen massive growth in the minority populations over the past decade or so - largely from Hispanics.  Osceola has actually become a majority-minority county.  Bush did well in Orange and Osceola, but those counties flipped strongly for Obama in 2008.  Given how hard right the GOP has turned on immigration I'd expect Obama to carry those counties by equal or greater margins this year.  

    The I-4 corridor is very quickly going from swingy to having a solid Dem-lean.  This is also part of the reason why the FL GOP is so nervous about the state Supreme Court ruling against their redistricting maps.  Any big changes (namely busting up Brown's seat) shifts a few central Florida congressional districts from Lean-GOP to Tossup or Lean-Dem.

    •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I had always thought that Orlando/Central Florida was dominated by Christian Fundamentalists.  It's exciting news to hear that the market is drifting leftwards instead.

      •  It was until recently (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Orange County and the surrounding areas were basically cow country until Disney World came along.  Since about the 80's it's drifted left as an ever quickening speed.  The metro Orlando has become an extremely diverse and more highly educated workforce, resulting is an ever more liberal/urbanized population.  The population is gradually spilling over and turning formerly rural/conservative areas of central Florida into less conservative suburban areas.

        I live in Volusia but work in Seminole County.  I'm even seeing more of this happening in Seminole County over the 6 years I've been commuting there.  The area is attracting more and more young college educated professionals like myself who tend to be less conservative and more moderate to liberal.  

        Unfortunately the east coast of central Florida (Volusia, Brevard, Flagler), including my hometown of Daytona Beach isn't moving towards Dems as fast as I'd hoped.  I'd say it's a combination of not getting as big of a Hispanic influx (for whatever reason) in the east coast counties as we are seeing in Orange and Osceola as well as a good chunk of our population growth still being elderly white retirees who are generally conservative.  I'm sure eventually my neck of the woods will grow more diverse too though.

        •  Woah (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY, ChadmanFL, gabjoh

          I just came to the mind-blowing realization that both Disneyworld and Disneyland are in Orange County.

          Sorry. Carry on.

          21, male, RI-01 (voting) IL-01 (college), hopeless Swingnut

          by sapelcovits on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 08:19:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And oddly enough (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            California is a solid blue state yet that Orange County has always has a strong right-tilt.  Orange County in Florida today has a left-tilt.  Though if I'm not mistaken I believe Orange County, CA is trending more in our favor.  Obama's 47.8% of the vote was the highest for any Dem Presidential candidate since FDR in 1936.  Even LBJ lost that county by double-digits in his 1964 landslide victory.

      •  As far as the fundamentalists go (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        In Florida they tend to be concentrated more in north Florida/Panhandle and the more rural inner Florida counties.  In the major metro areas of Florida like Miami, Tampa and Orlando they've been drowned out by the fast growing minority and liberal population.  Though they still do dominate in a few metro areas like Jacksonville and Sarasota.  Although Jacksonville did manage to elect a black Democrat as Mayor in a big upset a couple years ago.

  •  What bothers me (0+ / 0-)

    What bothers me is that the reddest markets are 10 points redder than that bluest markets are blue.  Some pundit could use that to argue that the country is "center right".

    •  Bluer markets tend to be bigger (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChadmanFL, MichaelNY, gabjoh, bumiputera

      and the big, blue cities tend to have a red or reddish purple collar around them. The reddest media markets appear to be smaller and in just a few areas of the country (West Texas, Mormon Country, and some parts of the Deep South). The three markets that are not big city in the blue column are somewhat of special cases:

      Madison, WI- Actually a pretty rural market if the tractor ads are any indication, but mostly this is the bluish-purple Driftless Area. Also note that Madison suburbs are fairly compact and range from about D+8 (Waunakee, Sun Prairie) to about D+20 (Middleton, Verona, Monona)

      Duluth, MN- Again, pretty rural, but this is the Iron Range in Minnesota and the Lake Superior counties in Wisconsin. While there are no big cities here, there are plenty of union workers and environmentalists in the area, and it has a strong progressive tradition.

      Laredo, TX- This is a 95.6% Hispanic media market, and that's probably mostly Mexican-Americans. After all the GOP has done, even many conservative Mexican-Americans are now Democrats or Dem-leaning independents.

      Male, 21, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, unapologetic supporter of Obama and Occupy. Tammy Baldwin for Senate and Recall Walker!

      by fearlessfred14 on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 07:04:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And unfortunately for us (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, gabjoh, David Jarman

        Democratic base (especially minority) voters tend to be clustered in the large cities while republican voters are more spread out.  This is what causes so many solidly (70%+) Dem districts and so many 55'ish% GOP districts, hurting us when it comes to political power while giving the GOP an easy job of gerrymandering.  

        Florida is a prime example of this.  Time and time again the FL GOP has been able to turn this state, which is about 50/50 split between parties into nearly a 2/3rds GOP majority for the legislature and congressional maps with relative ease.  Thankfully the fair districts amendment seems to be helping is for the 2012 redistricting.  The FL Supreme Court already slapped down the GOP's State Senate map and will likely do the same with the Congressional map.

  •  Map (0+ / 0-)

    Can we get a colored map?

    22, Nice Calm Burkean Post-Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Childhood), TX-21 (School), TX-10 (Home); SSP: wmayes

    by wwmiv on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 08:30:10 PM PDT

  •  Market maps w/Congressional districts (0+ / 0-)

    I noticed that you pull the individual PDFs that are here the market maps show the areas covered over the air from the antennae for each individual TV transmitter.
     However, there's a bonus! On the same maps are unlabeled navy blue lines that are the Congressional District lines as of 2008.

    ex-SSP. Central Califonia. -6.75,-4.97

    by hankmeister on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 09:23:13 PM PDT

  •  Haha excellent, three Indiana markets (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in the red-to-blue column.

    24, Solid Liberal Democrat (-4.75, -4.51), DKE Gay Caucus Majority Leader, IN-02; Swingnut. Gregg for Governor! Donnelly for Senate! Mullen for Congress!

    by HoosierD42 on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 10:33:36 PM PDT

  •  Hotlisted so that I can (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    play with this in a GIS when I have some time.

    Thanks, very useful...

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 05:21:38 AM PDT

    •  I was thinking the same thing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angry marmot

      I was thinking of comparing the market areas with the new congressional districts when all the states get settled. With an objective of identifying multiple market districts.  It looks like the market areas changed slightly with the switch from analog to digital.

      ex-SSP. Central Califonia. -6.75,-4.97

      by hankmeister on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 10:12:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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