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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

A tale of two maps.

I want you to look at two maps: The first one shows current gas prices around the country [Green = cheap; Dark orange = expensive]. The second map shows Dubya's popularity in US states, as of last month [Red = more popular; Blue = less popular].

Can you spot the interesting 'coincidences' that I did?


Where are gas prices the lowest?

View the full-sized version here. [Map: GasBuddy.com]


Where is Dubya's approval the highest?

View the full-sized version here. [Map: RadicalRuss.net]



Yep, you got it! The states where the gas prices are the lowest in the whole country [Utah, Idaho, Wyoming] are also three of the states where Dubya's popularity is highest. And, unless I remember wrongly, neither Utah or Idaho are big oil producers or big refining centers, which makes the low prices even more suspicious.

But that's not all folks!

Take a look at the gas map and notice that the states of New York, California, Maine, Connecticut, and [if you make sure to catch the bright red counties around Miami] Florida all have gas prices higher than most of the country. When you look at those states on the Dubya popularity map, those states 'coincidentally' happen to be ones where the prez's poll numbers are in the toilet. The links between gas prices and Dubya's popularity aren't one-to-one: Massachusetts has lower gas prices than most adjoining states, but Dubya's popularity is in the toilet. And Nebraska gives Dubya good popularity marks, but has much higher gas prices than adjoining states. But, to this magpie, these exceptions only seem to emphasize the rule.

Some people will make the case that these apparent links between gas prices and Dubya's poll numbers really are coincidental; that they mean nothing. Others will argue that the links exist, but that it's the high gas prices that are affecting Dubya's poll numbers, not the other way around. But there are also people who'll argue that at least part of the reason why oil companies are keeping prices low in the states where Dubya is popular is political payback for favors rendered. [We won't even mention the fact that VP Cheney hails from Wyoming.] And, I suppose, the really paranoid could spin even more convoluted scenarios.

You'll have to make up your own mind about what you think is going on.

There's one last interesting thing about the gas map I want to point out. If you look at Maine, you'll see that a bunch of the counties that border Canada have higher prices than the rest of the state. And, on the West Coast, you'll see a county in the northwest corner of Washington state where the same is true. What all of these counties have in common is easy access to Canada, which [at least in recent years] has had much higher gas prices than the US. What do you bet that the oil companies have noticed that, if they jack up gas prices in these border counties, people won't complain because the prices on the other side of the border are worse? And that the companies have also noticed that if they keep the prices from getting too close to what's paid north of the border, they'll also pull in customers from Canada?

| | Posted by Magpie at 10:39 AM | Get permalink




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