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Virginia Rising

If this map tracking the all important "soda"/"pop"/"coke" divide is reliable, then it appears that Virginia is well on its way to losing its Southern ("coke") status and thus should be a key Democratic target for 2008.

Actually, what's most interesting about the map is the extent to which it doesn't map the political divide. Oregon and Washington vote like California, but they're solid "pop" states, including Portland and Seattle. Illinois has a big "soda" contingent, but it's not in Chicago. Meanwhile, Arizonans talk more like Californians than do their less-coastal brethren in Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado.

December 20, 2004 | Permalink


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» Dialects: Soda/Pop/coke from Jeff the Baptist
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I'm just curious how Salt Lake City became a soda town.
My take was that Arizonans and Californians talk like Yankees, kinda like Raleigh-Durham and Virginia.

Posted by: maniloff | Dec 20, 2004 5:57:27 PM

"I'm just curious how Salt Lake City became a soda town."

Tracking actual ethnic migrations can be fun. The green spot in the center of Texas might possibly be New Braunfels, an almost entirely German immigrant community. There are spots like that all over the nation.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Dec 20, 2004 6:09:14 PM

Eh, don't read too much into how Portland and Seattle track. Nobody here drinks the stuff anymore.

Posted by: Kip Manley | Dec 20, 2004 6:09:16 PM

Fascinating post.

What is most interesting - to me - is the island of "soda" around St Louis. North of there is solidly "pop" and south of there is solidly "coke". But St Louis itself and the surrounding suburbs - like a round little island - are "soda"! (Same - to a lesser extent - in Milwaukee/Green Bay.) In fact, there aren't any strongly "soda" counties for hundreds of miles in any direction from St Louis.

Do you think it has to do with the presence of breweries somehow?

Posted by: Al | Dec 20, 2004 6:11:05 PM

what's most interesting about the map is the extent to which it doesn't map the political divide

ah... but see Florida and New Mexico... as confused as ever.

Posted by: right | Dec 20, 2004 6:19:35 PM

"Soda" and "Coke" clearly track political behavior, "Pop" does not appear to. As a Kentuckian that moved to DC then to Minnesota then back to DC, I've called it all three in the last five years or so. I try to pass as a native.

Posted by: Dave M | Dec 20, 2004 6:20:42 PM

okay, on this front I really am an out-of-touch New Yorker/Massachuwhatever. I though we were winning the struggle against "pop", if not "coke".

what on earth is "other"?

Posted by: Katherine | Dec 20, 2004 6:53:49 PM

Soda vs. Pop is for wusses. Real blogivators debate bubbler vs. water fountain.

Posted by: JDC | Dec 20, 2004 7:21:25 PM

what the fuck is a bubbler?

Posted by: brian | Dec 20, 2004 7:37:34 PM

It's the term used in some places(like Milwaukee, WI) for a public water fountain.

Posted by: The Dark Avenger | Dec 20, 2004 7:56:15 PM

I too wonder what the "other" might be.

Posted by: JakeV | Dec 20, 2004 7:58:19 PM

http://www.popvssoda.com/stats/TOTAL.html provides you with the "other" responses. In addition to revealing the unscientific nature of creating the map, it demonstrates the wide variety of terms to refer to soda: "soft drink," "tonic," "soda pop," "non-alcoholic beverage," "Vaginal Secretions," "jiz on my face," and "Jared is a fag" to name a few.

Posted by: Jackie Treehorn | Dec 20, 2004 8:25:12 PM

One "other" term is probably "soft drink." That was the standard term when I was growing up in Raleigh NC, though the map does not seem to support that now.

Posted by: rdu | Dec 20, 2004 9:08:39 PM

Coke? As in "Dr. Pepper Coke" ? "Diet Pepsi Coke"?

And these morons are allowed to vote?


Posted by: fasteddie | Dec 20, 2004 9:19:33 PM

Why is no-one talking about the latest CNN poll instead? 60% think the US economy is doing fine????

Regards, C

Posted by: Cernig | Dec 20, 2004 10:35:21 PM

MY: you shouldn't be looking at this through the lens of politics. You should look at it through religion.

Soda: Catholic
Coke: Evangelical Protestand
Pop: Mainline Protestant

this analogy works perfectly, complete with Missouri including all three.

PS it's Coke, damnit.

Posted by: niq | Dec 20, 2004 10:51:47 PM

But what of the tonic? Didn't even notice it under "other" for the Boston area. Surely as a Harvard grad, you must have come across some North Shore types who loved their tonic. I once worked at a McDonald's in Lynn and when the guy asked for an "orange tonic" I had no idea what the hell he was talking about. So I gave him orange juice mixed with seltzer. He seemed to like it. True story.

Posted by: Jon | Dec 20, 2004 10:57:21 PM

My son walked thru while I was looking at the map, and he said he'd seen it on one of his anthropology classes (you know, the ones with all the liberal professors) at Texas A&M, along with a map about what people call tennis shoes.
gig 'em Ags

Posted by: justa grata honoria | Dec 20, 2004 11:25:58 PM

It appears that "tonic" {in Massachusetts} and "soft drink" in (North Carolina, California and Louisiana) are the chief "other" responses.

Also, apparently someone in Alaska refers to soda as "CONFUSED CHICKEN LEG." I kind of like that one.

Posted by: JakeV | Dec 20, 2004 11:30:15 PM

Here are more of these than you could ever possibly want. The one that always interested me, since it explained strange phenomena of my childhood, was the distribution of pronunciations of "aunt" in Virginia. What is that narrow corridor of "ahnt" running up from Newport News to Charlottesville? I don't know why it's there, but I knew people who were from it.

Posted by: Matt McIrvin | Dec 20, 2004 11:30:59 PM

..Note, also, their pop vs. soda vs. coke map agrees extremely well with the other one, so I'd say these geographic variations are real.

Posted by: Matt McIrvin | Dec 20, 2004 11:34:52 PM

fasteddie: you have the usage wrong

Host: would you like a Coke?

Guest: Yes. Sprite please.

Note that it is a Cardinal sin to ask for Pepsi. Dr. Pepper, despite not being a coke product, is allowed, since Mr Pibb stinks. With the rise of Dew I don't know how it's treated since I now live in Pop Country.

Posted by: niq | Dec 21, 2004 12:09:50 AM

Here's my personal favorite page of the Harvard dialect survey.

Posted by: BW | Dec 21, 2004 12:43:34 AM

I like the religous break down. My home state, Wisconsin, is pretty schizophrenic: the western half of the state is solidly in the "pop" camp, while the eastern half (where I'm from) is pretty hard-core "soda" country. That pretty well tracks with the patterns of religious immigrantion in Wisconsin: the eastern counties along Lake Michigan were populated almost entirely by Catholic Bavarians, Irish and Poles while the Western half of the state was filled up with Lutheran Scandanavians. How the hell this happened, I would sincerely like to know.

However, it does raise the question as to why Cinncinati isn't lit up green in Ohio: it's the city that invented the Filet o' Fish, fer cryin' out loud!

Posted by: Matt_C | Dec 21, 2004 3:04:26 AM

Not to mention Utah. Did you know that Salt Lake City has a Democratic mayor and that the City Council is mostly Democratic?

Posted by: Slothrop | Dec 21, 2004 8:22:59 AM

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