I'm playing with a theory in my mind now, so please bear with me.
In all my reading about the November presidential elections, I'm still finding lots of discussion about "red" and "blue" states, and how evenly divided the electorate is right now. I'm sure you all see it, too -- "blue" states (meaning heavily Democrat) concentrated on the coasts, and "red" states (heavily Republican) concentrated in the South, the Plains and Mountain states. However, I'm wondering if metro area size or density, regardless of location, is an indicator of state's red or blue status. If so, the planning profession may play a role in the electoral process.
I'm guessing that in most states that voted Democrat in 2000, there were huge Democrat vote margins in the large metro areas that make up a large percentage of a state's population, and large Republican vote margins outside of those metro areas. Illinois was certainly like that. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing California was like that. On the other hand, I think that states that voted Republican in 2000 had smaller metro areas where the Dem/GOP vote was much more even (or slightly in favor of Republicans), and large vote margins for Republicans in smaller cities and towns. Missouri and Indiana might be an example of that.
As the 2004 election approaches, the same patterns may be in place. So, does it seem plausible that the presence, size and density of metro areas within a state might be an indicator of how that state would vote? If so, is it possible that some Southern states like Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, with rapidly growing metro areas, might move more toward becoming "blue"? And that states Midwestern states like Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, with stagnant or declining metro areas, might become "red"?
And in any case, do we planners, who have a huge role in the creation of the built environment, also have a larger role in national electoral politics than we may have thought?