Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon Nov 10th 2008 at 8:23am UTC

The Place Election

Andrew Gelman tallies the big-county/ small-county; rich-county/poor-county votes.

A blogger shares perspective:

In short, I believe place, not just people, won this election for Barack Obama. And here’s why: cities are made up of three types of people.

1. Young people who migrate to them for college and professional opportunity.

2. Professionals who migrate to them for career advancements and financial gain.

3. Wealthy people who have gained enough money in their careers to stay in them over generations…

And credit the Obama campaign for doing such a good job of tailoring messages to this group. They’ve done a great job of making young urbanites feel good about those $25 political donations not to mention the volunteer numbers that come out of this group of voters. In a way, the Obama campaign emails make you feel like you’re not doing enough to make history if you didn’t at least volunteer on election day. And it’s worked like a charm in cities… Again, the Obama campaign – particularly in places like Philadelphia and D.C. – should get a lot of credit for being so well organized in cities, so much so that you would think he was running for mayor in places like Chicago and Raleigh, NC.

The critical feature of the creative economy is that it makes place the fundamental feature of politics, culture, and economics.

4 Responses to “The Place Election”

  1. Cliff Lippard Says:

    “And here’s why: cities are made up of three types of people.

    1. Young people who migrate to them for college and professional opportunity.

    2. Professionals who migrate to them for career advancements and financial gain.

    3. Wealthy people who have gained enough money in their careers to stay in them over generations…”

    Well, yes, but they are also made up of the service employees who make the cities livable, the poor who choose not to, or are unable, to move, etc. Those demographics were also essential to this victory.

  2. Isaac B Says:

    Cliff is right.

    This list misses on more than a few groups who also live in cities, particularly those that grew up in one as their home. Not all are necessarily poor either.

    Cities also tend to have large percentages of patronage or municipal workers.

  3. Michael Wells Says:

    Yes, but the D’s have won the cities themselves for decades. The real change where Obama beat Kerry, Gore and even Clinton was in the suburbs. When people talk about America becoming an urban nation, they really mean cities and close-in suburbs.

    In Rise, Richard talks about the necessity of different kinds of living places in a creative region. For me personally, Silicon Valley itself is slightly more attractive than San Quentin, but lots of creative class people live there. And they’ve shifted politically.

    As an example of recognizing the importance of suburbs, there’s now a Center for Suburban Studies.
    http://www.hofstra.edu/Academics/CSS/

    A couple of other notes.
    Obama won among people making over $200,000, meaning the Republican alarmism about taxes didn’t work.
    He showed that Joe Sixpack doesn’t hate intellectuals.
    And funny foreign names don’t scare middle America — Obama may owe a debt to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon.

  4. biff Says:

    I live in a city and I’m not wealthy, young or professional. I don’t have a facebook account either.