This map shows the results of more than 120,000 people surveyed about the word they use to describe a Coke…or soda, or pop. We all know that in the South, a Coke is a Coke—as well as a Pepsi or Dr. Pepper. But in New York it’s soda and in Wisconsin it’s pop.
Click to get a larger view…
Some really interesting things stand out when looking at the data displayed geographically. For one, the greater St. Louis area stands out as an island of “soda” drinkers sandwiched between the North/South divide between “Coke” and “pop.” This is probably due to the city’s history as the gateway to the West and its commercial and transportation links to the Northeast.
Something I wished I’d looked at before the election is what citizens of Virginia and North Carolina call their fizzy fountain drinks. No longer a “Solid South” of Coke drinkers, the survey shows that Virginia and North Carolina are a bricolage that represents a demographic shift that has been taking place for years.
Not just Northern Virginia, but the whole state, is more and more integrated with the Northeast Corridor. And in North Carolina, the changing economy influenced by the tech sector and a shift from rural to urban living has decreased the percentage of “Coke” drinkers to less than half.
So, if we use our empty Coke bottle as a lens through which to see the changing demographics of America, it is much easier to understand how Virginia and North Carolina went for Obama. They aren’t the same states they were twenty years ago.