Andrew Sullivan made a post comparing states leaning strongly McCain and states that seceded during the Civil War, there’s a lot of overlap between the two. This comparison was around for the 2004 and 2000 elections as well, with similar results, GOP red states often being the same states that chose slavery over the union in 1861.
With 4-5 days of waffling left, and an increasingly likely Obama presidency, the question becomes why the Southern Strategy that worked for Reagan and Bush began to fall apart for McCain. One explanation could be some kind of demographic shift over the last 4 years that saw key GOP constituencies becoming relatively smaller, or it could be a simple economic trend – “it’s the economy stupid” seems to be the winning theme of this election.
Or it could be a framing issue, where Obama successfully bucked the ‘egghead-elite-big-government liberal’ tag that made Democrats so unpopular in the South, partially by pinning McCain as a more extreme out-of-touch elitist (with 7 houses and 13 cars), and tying him back to Georgey. Either way, Obama may not have broken the solid-south, but he did enough of an end-run around it to take another path to the Presidency (we think).