At Irregular States, we offer liberal political messages tailored to each of the fifty states and the District of Columbia, too, put on bumper stickers, buttons, t-shirts, posters, lawn signs and such. As the new year of 2008 begins, I thought it would be fun to look at patterns in the sales of political items for each of the 50 states and DC. Where have sales been hot? Where were they not?
To answer this question, it’s not reasonable simply to look at the percentage distribution of sales across the fifty states. 9.33% of our sales of Irregular States items were for California, and that sounds impressive considering that there are 50 states. But according to the Census Bureau, 12.12% of the U.S. population lives in California, so really fewer of our sales were of California items than we would have expected under chance alone. Only 1.16% of sales of our items were for Maine, on the other hand, but Maine only contains 0.44% of the U.S population, so that’s many more sales that we would have expected by chance alone.
The numerical way of describing this idea is to take the percentage of sales of all state-related items that were sold regarding a particular state in 2007, and to divide that by the percentage of the U.S. population that lived in that state in 2007. When the result is larger than one, that means that sales of liberal political items were heavier for the state than we’d expect based on chance alone. For Maine, the result of 2.67 means that Maine garnered two and two-thirds times as many of our sales of local liberal stickers and such as we would have expected based on chance. But when the result is less than one, that means that sales of liberal political items were slower for the state than we’d expect based on chance alone. For California, the result of 0.77 means that California garnered only 77% of the sales we would have expected based on chance alone.
This map shows similar results for all fifty states, with color coding for the most overrepresented states in our sales (blue) and the most underrepresented states in our sales (red).
You’ll notice that there are more red states (underrepresented in sales) than blue states (overrepresented in sales). This is because of a one state that is wildly abundant in our sales records, and a few runners up. Sales of Vermont liberal items were 25.4 times more common than we’d have expected from the population of Vermont alone. Vermont is a veritable hotbed of liberal activist political interest from what we can tell by our sales. New Mexico liberal sales were four times higher than what we’d have predicted by chance alone, and sales from Tennessee, Virginia, Maine and Iowa were about two and two-thirds higher than our prediction from chance.
Sales were most anemic in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. These states don’t have huge populations to begin with, but even then the share of sales they garnered was less than 5% of what we would have predicted based on the states’ population size. Not very liberally active places, these. Yet.