Why is Indiana a red state?

Most of the states around the Great Lakes are “blue states,” places where folks generally have liberal political leanings. Even northern Ohio – Cleveland, Toledo, Youngstown, and their suburban and exurban areas – would be solidly blue if it was its own state.

However, Indiana is solidly Republican. It has been a “red state” for nearly 40 years. There’s the occasional Democrat governor, but for the most part the state has a very, very conservative reputation. Why? What makes Indiana a peninsula of red jutting out into a sea of blue?

I wonder if Indiana has a largely stable, non-transitory population, and, if so, if this has any bearing on its voting habits. I would also imagine, having spent part of the summer on the Kentucky/Indiana border near Evansville, that much of the southern part of the state tends toward the Republicans.

Mods: can you move this to GQ? I psoted this in the wrong forum.

So moved.
P.S. - You will almost certainly get faster Moderator response if you hit “REPORT THIS POST” the little exclamation point [!] in the upper right corner of the post. Mods don’t have time to read every thread, but we do pay attention to everything that gets REPORTED. When I sign on, for instance, I first attend to all the Reports; then I skim the forum(s) looking at thread titles. So, if you hit REPORT, you’ll almost certainly get faster action than if you just wait for me to happen to see your post, buried in some thread.

  • The instructions on REPORT THIS THREAD imply that you should only use that button for emergencies. Not so: use it any time you want to call the Moderator’s attention to a post/thread.

  • And, alas, you cannot report your own post, elmwood, so you were probably stuck. If there’s been another post, report that one and include in your write-up that you mean the post above or below it… or, in this case, the whole thread.
    (Note: I’m not singling you out, elmwood, I’m just trying to make a general point since this kind of situation occurs a lot. REPORT THIS POST is the fastest wasy to get action.

A prior GD thread on the subject: Why is Indiana so pro-Bush?

It’s mainly because Indiana is less urbanized and less industrialized than the other Great Lakes states. The rural and small town population tends to be more conservative and vote Republican.

The simplest explanation I can think of is that Indiana doesn’t have many major cities. On the county-by-county map of Ohio, most of the blue in the state is concentrated around Cleveland and Columbus, the two biggest population centers, and on the Illinois map, most of the blue is concentrated around Chicago. In general throughout the country, cities tend to be more Democrat compared to the surrounding Republican rural areas. But Indiana doesn’t have any cities as large as Cleveland, and so all that’s left is the vast red spaces in between.