Dispatch from Arkansas’ First

The Arkansas Project sometimes gives short shrift to our friends in the faraway provinces, which is thoroughly unintentional.

To correct that oversight, I provide the following report from dedicated correspondent Mr. H in northeast Arkansas, a Republican who shares some observations on presidential politics in the state’s staunchly Democratic First District:

I just wanted to share some good news from up in the dark blue swamps of the Political Scientist Hell that is Northeast Arkansas.

Apparently, out of over 26 counties in the bluest district of the bluest state in the south, only 3 currently have Democratic county HQs, and 2 of them (Baxter and Craighead) are almost pointless to waste people at.

They just set up the Craighead HQ just about a week ago, and while I don’t know how many Obama signs they started with, they still have 70 signs after a week of GIVING them away, while our Craighead County Republican Committee here has sold about 300 to 400 at a time for $5 each. In each case, they were all sold in about 3 or 4 days.

Even in the my old country of Greene County, we have no Democratic HQ, and after I went all over the city of Paragould, and saw fewer than 6 (!) Obama signs. Meanwhile, the Republican Committee HQ saw 200 visits in less than one week (trust me, that’s a big freaking deal up there) and distributed 400 McCain Signs (mostly free), and sold hundreds of buttons in two weeks.

Don’t know anything about Baxter County, but those guys keep the Republican victories so regular they must be using Metamucil.

Looks like even Marion Berry’s district is going Red this election.

H’s anecdotal note is interesting to read in conjunction with Bill Bishop’s “Big Sort” blog at Slate, which I’ve only just discovered. Bishop argues in a post this week that, while there’s much ado about “change” in the 2008 election, there’s been little actual change when it comes to the preferences of rural and evangelical voters, and that 2008 is largely an extension of the 2006 trend. Check it out.

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