FiveThirtyEight tries to define the midwest:
Indiana, Iowa and Illinois appear to be the core of the Midwest, each pulling more than 70 percent of the vote (that may partly be because of their substantial populations). Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota each pulled at least 60 percent of the vote, so we can probably put them in the Midwest without too much fuss. Ohio, Missouri and Kansas each got more than half.
As for the rest of the states, it seems unclear whether they’re in the true Midwest.
When I was young, I actually had a very different idea of what the midwest was. It included a lot of overlap with the “real” midwest, but from a different focal point. The map basically stats out in the three states and expands to varying degrees outward. Ask me to define “midwest” and you would get the central column (from North Dakota down to Kansas) and then expand eastward. I’d not have included Ohio, which as it turns out is exactly what a lot of people think of when they think of the midwest. East of Iowa, you start getting into what I mostly think of as the Great Lakes region.
Kansas gets a fair amount of inclusion in the popular mind, but in my mind it’s the first state I think of when I think of “midwest.” Not sure why. I’ve never been there.
They do the same for the south, but reach more concrete results:
While the top few Midwest states barely pulled 80 percent of the vote, nearly 90 percent of respondents identified Georgia and Alabama as Southern, and more than 80 percent placed Mississippi and Louisiana in the South. South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida and North Carolina all garnered above 60 percent.
Southerners seem remarkably content to mess with Texas, giving it 57 percent support. Virginia, Arkansas and Kentucky hovered at about 50 percent.
Here, of course, we have a more immediate reference point: The Confederacy. That doesn’t explain all of the states, but you can start from there and then diminish the “southernness” of various constituent states like Texas.
I wonder the extent to which Virginia might join Maryland as a former southern state. North Carolina, too, but mostly Virginia. Or will its membership in the confederacy define it ever forward?
The only surprises to me were Florida, which I figured would be more on-par with Texas as a slightly more marginal sort of southern state, and Arkansas which I consider to be very southern. I’m also a little surprised that South Carolina wasn’t 100% because who in South Carolina doesn’t think of it as southern?
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