North vs. South in the 29th

Sadface If you want to know the difference between the more affluent and suburban Northern 29th, and the less affluent and more rural Southern Tier, look no further than this story in today's Corning Leader.  The town of Bath, located a few miles from Randy Kuhl's home in Hammondsport, is reeling after Wal-Mart decided not to build a superstore there.

Two years ago, Wal-Mart was interested in building a superstore in Lima, just over the district border.  Residents in nearby Mendon, a Rochester exurb full of sprawling homes and horse paddocks, began a campaign against Wal-Mart that has been successful.

Today, there's no superstore in Lima, and Muffy and Biff are happy that they can still drive their Volvo to the local hardware store in Mendon to buy fencing wire for their stable.  There's no superstore in Bath, and the town's deputy supervisor is "disappointed, very disappointed."


We is sorely disapointed that Walmart ain't gonna hve a store here in the suthern tear.

Ain't no other genrl store that you kin buy bullets and crosses as cheaply

Maybe we'll get one of them there Target places. Even my boy Jethro likes to shoot at targets.

Y'all are just bitter and clingy.

Am gonna stay clingy until I can get some of them there Walmart fabric sheets. When you hang a shirt on the clothesline you attach one of them sheets and ur shrt don't cling so much

On a more serious note, there was an organized resistance to Walmart in Bath, comprised mostly of local shop owners.

I figured there would be some resistance, and it was kind of interesting that the deputy city supervisor was so invested in having Wal-Mart come to town. I would have expected at least the appearance of neutrality.

It is true that there are more affluent people in the northern half of the district than the southern.

This brings up two points:
1. If the Democrats are the party that sticks up for the poor people, why does the poorest part of the district vote Republican?
2. If the Republicans are the party of the rich, why does the richest part of the district vote Democrat?

Also, remember that the richest and most successful business in the district is in Corning.

OK, I'll bite:

The Southern Tier is only relatively poor compared to the SE suburbs of Monroe County. It is pretty middle-class in general. The larger fraction of people below the poverty line isn't enough to make a difference. So poverty doesn't explain everything.

People in rural areas are more conservative that suburban or urban voters. The underlying reasons for that are complex, and if I knew the reasons I'd be rich like Mark Penn, but here's one idea: we live in a highly mobile society and those who are highly mobile tend to be less conservative.

I don't know the S Tier very well, but in my rural home town, population is declining and a lot of young people leave to move to more urban areas. If one of the definitions of conservatism is the belief that the way things have been is the way that things should be, then the people who stay in rural areas are conservative. They like the way things were when they grew up and they are willing to stick with it.

If a non-conservative is someone who thinks that things need to change, they tend to act on that belief by moving somewhere else, such as the suburbs. The suburbs around here are full of folks who didn't grow up in the Rochester area.

That theory is worth exactly what you paid to read it, and is probably just a fancy way of saying that small-town values tend to be more conservative.

Everything you say makes sense, but haven't I read articles in the D&C in the past few months about how the youth are fleeing the Rochester area also?

That's the problem with my half-assed theory. There's a general tendency for kids to stay or move depending on conservative/liberal temprament, but there are a whole bunch of other variables. The availability of good jobs is one example.