This is not my beautiful house
March 29, 2021 2:14 PM   Subscribe

Can you guess how a neighborhood voted in 2020, just by looking at it?

(note: there are 10,000 randomly selected locations. You are not seeing the same ones as anyone else.)
posted by theodolite (99 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Didn't they do this a little while ago but with refrigerator contents? I believe the lesson there was no you couldn't and stop making snap judgements about people based on their surface trappings - or at least it should have been.
posted by Jess the Mess at 2:23 PM on March 29 [12 favorites]


The fridge one was fairly easy, but I got only 25% on this one. Maybe just my bad luck with the images presented.
posted by beagle at 2:25 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


This is also not my beautiful white delivery van or my beautiful some trees on a road. I'm shocked I managed to get 50%.

And yes, I did know you can rotate the images.
posted by East14thTaco at 2:28 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


18 out of 20, so far. If there are signifiers, I'd say "back the blue" signs and pickup trucks seem to reliably push the neighborhood into Trump territory. I feel like I'm back in my childhood, anyway.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:31 PM on March 29 [11 favorites]


Now I want to know how the goth Steelers fan a few posts down voted.
posted by chavenet at 2:31 PM on March 29 [10 favorites]


That thing sure likes to show me Brooklyn.
posted by gurple at 2:32 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I did barely better than chance.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 2:34 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Another good one is recycling cans. If you see two wheelie bins, you're probably in Biden territory. A single trashcan? Trumpy. Not 100% accurate but once I started looking, my hit rate went up.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:34 PM on March 29 [19 favorites]


12 of 15. The suburban precincts are not as easy as they used to be. Usually lawn chemicals were a strong Republican sign, but those highly-educated suburbanites turned on Trump.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 2:35 PM on March 29 [8 favorites]


Argh! They showed a precinct a few miles from me and I still got it wrong!
posted by mochapickle at 2:37 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


72% here. Giant lawns seem to lean more to Trump, while recycling bins lean more to Biden, as you'd expect.
posted by wanderingmind at 2:37 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


I did ok on this (8/10?) but there are definitely some that are tough and the area only went one way or another by a few percentage points.

Based on some twitter commentary a major indicator was spacing between houses. Extremely spread out? Red. Closer together? Blue.
posted by GuyZero at 2:37 PM on March 29 [12 favorites]


I get the value of quick identification with bears in the wild: this shape/size, could be Grizzly vs. black bear is relevant information for sure.

The houses/fridge contents questions.. I think about how this stuff gets shared and how this will absorb time for people, to what end? I'm with Jess the Mess on this one. This framing of a real problem for our democracies does not seem very useful, it seems to be more like part of the problem?
posted by elkevelvet at 2:37 PM on March 29 [6 favorites]


Pretty easy. My rubric:

1. Is there farmland, trailer houses or other rural signifiers? Trump
2. Are there high rises or apartments? Biden
3. Are there american flags on display in the suburb you are looking at? Trump
4. Otherwise, this is a Biden suburb.
posted by pwnguin at 2:40 PM on March 29 [9 favorites]


I think every one I saw that looked to be in a city I picked Biden and was always right.
Suburbs, not so much.
posted by MtDewd at 2:41 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


If you see two wheelie bins, you're probably in Biden territory. A single trashcan? Trumpy.

The data nerd in me wants to take every rule of thumb that people can come up with, run them all against thousands of locations, and see which are most predictive. Perhaps it turns out that Trump voters are really big fans of garden gnomes, whereas Biden voters really like serif fonts for their house numbers.

I'm with Jess the Mess on this one. This framing of a real problem for our democracies does not seem very useful, it seems to be more like part of the problem?

It seems to me that the whole point of the article is to demonstrate to the reader that any notion that one can distinguish between Trump voters and Biden voters based on surface trappings is fallacious.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 2:45 PM on March 29 [10 favorites]


Did really well, only missed 2, one where it was 50/50 for me and another where I was only kind of wrong, it looked like Texas and it was Texas but it was some errant precinct where Biden barely edged ahead. I even felt like that was a trick question, at least by my criteria. I think most of these I got entirely on "too many trucks" and "looks about what you'd expect from a place where people don't wanna pay for taxes or the benefits they bring."

Trucks were the main key, however. You'd think American flags would be, but plenty of decent people are patriotic so you can't really see a flag and think "oh, red." Too many trucks around, especially when it doesn't really look like they're needed were a dead giveaway. Mix of sedans, SUVs, jeepy-looking things usually signaled Biden voters in my selection.

The weirdest one I got right just by guessing was just a little shack that said "antique gifts" in crude paint, a road, and some other cheap building in the distance a bit, otherwise just greenery... except for half the photo was blurred out. Made me wonder if there was a big MAGA sign there or something or if it was just a random google car error.
posted by GoblinHoney at 2:48 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


I expected this would be easier than the refrigerators given what correlates to zip code and it looks like it was, though I did just as badly. Although very gratifying to see my own neighborhood in New York and think, "Okay I know this one."
posted by little onion at 2:49 PM on March 29


So far, my metric has been primarily arboreal. Conifers seem to strongly correlate with Biden. Also, NY license plates are pretty easy to spot through the blurring. Also, also, Utah/Idaho are easy to spot, ecologically, and I've got some strong but mostly accurate assumptions about the politics in those places.

Current Score: 11/13
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 2:50 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I thought it was interesting that Times readers were significantly more likely to guess Trump than Biden for the precincts that voted close to 50/50.

I got one location on a road on Mackinac Island that would have been a slam dunk if I was playing Geoguessr, since I'm pretty sure I had actually walked down that exact street IRL, but I realized I had no idea what kind of politics the permanent residents of a weird, car-free vacation island have. (Turns out they are Biden voters, but only by a little.)
posted by theodolite at 2:51 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


12/18, and I cheated on some by looking at the trees and plants, then guessing the general geography.
posted by jquinby at 2:53 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


For whatever reason, it kept showing me the same view of El Paso, 15 times in a row.
So... 100% success! I *really* know that district in El Paso voted for Biden.
posted by CrystalDave at 2:53 PM on March 29 [7 favorites]


80% for me.

I think the biggest predictor was sidewalks -- not just "do they exist", but are they near the street and do they appear to be wheelchair compatible. Recycling bins and make/model/age of vehicles did seem to be a close second.
posted by toxic at 2:54 PM on March 29 [7 favorites]


68% I chose basically solely on density, plus a little bit on whether there were sidewalks. Sidewalks seemed to be less of a good indicator than I expected, but density served me pretty well.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:54 PM on March 29


I got 88%, but it also gave me five pictures from the urban environs of NYC, which made it easier, as well as one from the core of Chicago, so y'know, lots of city scenes which were no-brainers. A few purely rural/small-town scenes which I correctly identified as Trump. My two misses were suburbs without good signifiers.

This is a lot easier than the fridge one, since diet correlates poorly with political affiliation but population density correlates very well with the political affiliations of the region.
posted by jackbishop at 2:58 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I thought I did OK picking based entirely on lot size, but I don't know for sure because while it let me take the test, there was a please pay us popup blocking me from viewing my results.
posted by ckape at 2:59 PM on March 29


I actually got a Republican area in NYC, for what it's worth. I got that one wrong.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:59 PM on March 29


On the refrigerator one, I was less than chance. I kept trying to game the contents and that never worked. But this was easy [I did better than 94% of respondents :)] - if you know where Trump's support was (rural) and Biden's (cities, suburbs) it was a tell.
posted by bluesky43 at 3:02 PM on March 29


Canadian here, got 13/15 and one of the ones I missed had a margin of 3pts.

All but two of my photos looked very self similar; one shot of acreages, one Brooklynn walkup. Not a lot of trucks, no flags, no signs in any of them.

My heuristic: remembering back to my mid 20s could I afford to rent here? Imagining American style healthcare could I have afforded to buy here 10 years later with a couple of kids? In short; did it look like you could see the neighborhood's money or was it a fair chunk of it going to student loans or health insurance instead.

So, yeah, pretty much living up to the stereotypes I have as a neighbour from up north.

That being said I think the fact that the article made such a deal about density is interesting but (as alluded to above) far from the whole story. The thing is for all the money spent on elections in the US the dominant parties don't seem to, well, try very hard. One side doesn't try har don their platform at all and the other reflexively caves on everything the moment things get tough. During the primaries there's some attempt to sell a platform but those candidates don't tend to win the nomination. And any pretence f presenting a plan goes to the window the moment they've got the nomination.

I'm sure it's different at state and municipal levels that I can't be bothered to pay attention to. It has to be, right?

Anyway the take away from the article - you have a much better than chance rate of guessing who voted for whom from some incredibly shallow, dumb, trivial piece of information like a photo of a street suggests that voting in the US is a lot more akin to religion or culture than it is parliamentary procedure, advocacy, or leadership.

For all the anger and sadness and money and time and effort and dreams and terror.... it just doesn't seem like there's much of a market for ideas - so everything devolves into tribalism and threat-display.

on preview: cape "please pay us popup blocking me from viewing my results" safari reader view gave me everything except the described "V" graph.
posted by mce at 3:06 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


It seems to me that the whole point of the article is to demonstrate to the reader that any notion that one can distinguish between Trump voters and Biden voters based on surface trappings is fallacious.

I'm not sure what the point of the article is, but I'm unsure that's it. I'd be curious to know what the article editors call random, when they say they picked 10k locations at random, because more than 75% of what the NYT showed me were pics of Trump enclaves, which is not what I'd call random — and it certainly is not a reflection of how the majority of the country voted. At the very least, I and others could seemingly train an AI to classify these pictures with much better odds than flipping a coin (if anyone would ever want to).
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:08 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I got 80% by looking around and deciding whether I’d want to know anyone who lives there. Feeling pretty smug about my judgmental ways.
posted by HotToddy at 3:09 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


more than 75% of what the NYT showed me were pics of Trump enclaves, which is not what I'd call random — and it certainly is not a reflection of how the majority of the country voted

Gonna have to disagree there. If you pick a bunch of points in the US at random, then the majority of them will definitely be Trump enclaves. Biden voters are concentrated in more urban areas, hence Biden enclaves are scarcer geographically.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:13 PM on March 29 [5 favorites]


That's the point though. Are they just throwing darts at a map or doing things the smart way, based on population and where people actually live?
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:15 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Also, a fair coin flipped 15 times will come up 75% heads or tails more often than you might expect.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:16 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I guess I don't understand why that's "the smart way". Perhaps it depends partly on what (if anything) the editors are hoping to demonstrate.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:16 PM on March 29


To create the list of locations in this quiz, The Times randomly selected 10,000 voters’ addresses from a list of more than 180 million where we had precinct-level results. This sample is representative of the 2020 vote in both vote margin and population density. (There are about the right number of urban and rural Trump and Biden precincts.)
posted by theodolite at 3:17 PM on March 29 [8 favorites]


I was rocking it at 7/10, then totally got in my head and fell apart...

Ended 13/22 (59%)

Kept assuming they were trying to trick me.
posted by Windopaene at 3:20 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


a fair coin flipped 15 times will come up 75% heads or tails ...
Kinda hard to get 11.25 heads or tails.
posted by MtDewd at 3:21 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Also, a fair coin flipped 15 times will come up 75% heads or tails more often than you might expect.

Out of 20 flips, I should not expect to see 15 or more heads more than 2% of the time. Perhaps I just got "lucky" and hit the "Trump jackpot", but I don't think this would normally be a typical outcome from flipping a fair coin.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:22 PM on March 29


I'm pretty good at this just going with "Could I imagine myself living in this neighborhood?" 9/10 it's Biden.

I should also point out that I recognized at least four of the streets they showed me (I got Raleigh more than once, y'all. Mix it up!)
posted by thivaia at 3:30 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


The ones where I went against my gut instinct of voting based on how rich the area looked were the ones I got wrong, with very few exceptions. Trump voters have more money. Could be a quirk of the specific neighborhoods the quiz showed me, I suppose.
posted by eviemath at 3:32 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


Yeah, saw one where it started with an American flag, then lots of SUVs, then a crazy ass Truck. Nope, somewhere in Maryland that went Biden. I do like the game of, "identify the trees, where is this" that this provides...

OK, Round Two.
posted by Windopaene at 3:37 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


14/22 on my second try (64%)!
posted by Windopaene at 3:45 PM on March 29


I got one location that appears to be a parking lot for a dental clinic, and another that was just land, no houses or people. Remember, NYT and others, land doesn't vote. People do.
posted by basalganglia at 3:51 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Played 3 times, have yet to get below a 90%. I am insanely good at this but it feels ..kind of bad to be good at this? Like it probably says more about me being a very judgey asshole about the aesthetics of neighborhoods and making some assumptions about them, than any kind of deep political or well-traveled insights.

(I do spend a lot of time looking at random houses in random neighborhoods in random cities on Zillow though, so that also helps.)
posted by windbox at 3:59 PM on March 29 [6 favorites]


Here in the UK, and in many parts of Europe, cities tend to lean left, while rural areas lean right. I managed 18/20 as a non-American, just on that basis.
posted by pipeski at 4:00 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


pipeski, that's true the world over, as far as I know. Almost a universal law of politics. (I will be happy to be corrected if there are counterexamples.)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:01 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


The sidewalks thing was popularized by a Nate Silver tweet many years ago. It's true, but it's only true as a difference between urban areas and exurban & rural areas. That's easy -- we all know how those three types of places tend to vote.

But with regards to suburban areas, which are the real political battlegrounds, I haven't seen anyone suggest there's a correlation between a neighborhood having sidewalks or not and how they vote.
posted by theory at 4:07 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


And for anyone who might think a boat in the driveway would be a good indicator of Republican voters, there's this:

Donald Trump lost 4 of the top 5 states for boat ownership
and Biden won every boating hotspot in Florida, too.

posted by theory at 4:16 PM on March 29 [5 favorites]


pipeski, that's true the world over, as far as I know. Almost a universal law of politics. (I will be happy to be corrected if there are counterexamples.)
In the US, the counter-examples have to do with race. Rural Black and Native American people tend to vote for Democrats. I think that was what was going on with a couple of their most-frequently-missed places: they look rural, but they're rural-looking places with a lot of Black voters. Orangeburg, S.C. is 75% Black. Centreville, IL is 95% Black.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:20 PM on March 29 [11 favorites]


I got around 80% by thinking about demographics (rural/urban, very white / minority, etc.) and 70% the second time I went through.

Out of 20 flips, I should not expect to see 15 or more heads more than 2% of the time. Perhaps I just got "lucky" and hit the "Trump jackpot", but I don't think this would normally be a typical outcome from flipping a fair coin.

I think it's not typical but you still got it. There were 4000 people taking the test when I was online, so if it is truly random around 150 were getting a lot of Biden or Trump at that time. If people were all getting close to 50/50 we'd know it wasn't random.

I got around a 50/50 mix myself both times I took it, FWIW.
posted by mark k at 4:25 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


All I ever see are suburbs/rural. Think I've seen one urban scene. Got that wrong. Was Baltimore. Not great on the NE

I get lots of Ohio and Wisconsin, which are tricky
posted by Windopaene at 4:25 PM on March 29


My heuristic: remembering back to my mid 20s could I afford to rent here? Imagining American style healthcare could I have afforded to buy here 10 years later with a couple of kids? In short; did it look like you could see the neighborhood's money or was it a fair chunk of it going to student loans or health insurance instead.

How did you execute on this heuristic? The highest rents I saw by far were in Biden districts; I got one Manhattan and a couple of Brooklyns. And there was a lot of undeveloped agricultural land in some of my Trump districts. So are you saying high cost of living = Biden?
posted by mr_roboto at 4:30 PM on March 29


9/11. I'm clearly not perfect at it but for suburbs* I looked for large well-manicured lawns, flags, late-model pickup trucks and large SUVs. Or on the opposite side, Subarus, recycle bins, hardscaping, smaller midcentury houses. (* since rural and urban were pretty easy.)
posted by supercres at 4:37 PM on March 29


Trump voters have more money.

It’s complicated.

If you split the exit poll results at > $100,000 household income, Trump has a clear lead. But if you split again at > $200,000, Trump and Biden are even. I’m having a hard time finding data for higher incomes, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a segment that starts skewing heavy for Biden at above $250,000: professionals with advanced degrees in two-career households. Then once you hit $500,000 or so, it might start leaning Trump again, but again, I can’t find data.

Also, there are many high-income individuals who live in dense urban centers, and their districts will go Democratic no matter who they vote for.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:46 PM on March 29 [6 favorites]


Trump voters have more money

EHHHHHH. Note quite as simple as this.

For me it's mostly kneejerk, that said one of my rules was if a neighborhood looked really expensive overall I pretty much always skewed Biden. Even a few McMansionville suburbs and exurbs, which is key (and was key during the election), and where it will usually say something like "Biden won, but barely".

Take it from me, someone who rocks at this game and can instantly feel in their gut "oh this is fucking Trump country right here" by staring at the type of McMansion it is (ugly-trying-too-hard-to-be-classy hideous, or neuvo-rich professional-class boomer hideous) for like 2 seconds.
posted by windbox at 4:52 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Got 60% right and almost all the pictures were suburban, a couple of rural and no urban. Pickup trucks influenced me to say trump and compact cars influenced me to say Biden. But it was really hard to tell and most of the ones I missed were close races.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 5:02 PM on March 29


The title of the post reminds me that a few years ago Mala Gaonkar and David Byrne created an interactive exhibit called The Institute Presents: Neurosociety in which, among other things, you were asked to predict the result of elections based solely on the faces of the candidates.
posted by stevil at 5:21 PM on March 29


A few years ago Gelman did a paper in which he pointed out that if you compare states, the richer the state the more likely to skew Democratic. But within each state the richest people voted Republican.
posted by mark k at 5:28 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


But within each state the richest people voted Republican.

Pretty standard fare, courtesy the Simpson paradox. For example, an undisclosed school (probably Berkeley? edit: yes, Berkeley) was concerned that more men than women were being admitted to the school, but when they looked at every department, every department's behavior favored admitting women.
posted by pwnguin at 5:37 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


So many of the neighborhoods that I was shown were such slim margins. How can you really say a neighborhood when for either of them when it was won by like 1%? And then start thinking about the "signifiers" for a neighborhood and how it votes?

The electoral map should always be shown in shades of purple.
posted by Imperfect at 6:26 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


The electoral map should be shown in whatever form is most appropriate for the context. (Often, that's shades of purple. But not always.)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:36 PM on March 29


1. Is there farmland, trailer houses or other rural signifiers? Trump
2. Are there high rises or apartments? Biden
3. Are there american flags on display in the suburb you are looking at? Trump
4. Otherwise, this is a Biden suburb
.

I went in with more or less the same assumptions, but the only one I got with conspicuous flags turned out to be a Biden burb. Still got 15/20.
posted by rodlymight at 6:41 PM on March 29


Honey, I've spent 65 yrs often needing to size up who's a right winger. Only 10/15 here, but I was on the fence about a couple. One that looked kind of suburban trumpy, but was a liberal part of Wisconsin. Another one I wasn't sure if it was Florida or SoCal, turned out to be latter.

Right wing: Rural, trucks, US flags.
posted by NorthernLite at 6:48 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


20/22. Rural ones are generally trump unless northerly vegetation. Exceptions would be some places wisconsin, michigan, etc. Poor and rural, trump.
posted by Ansible at 7:13 PM on March 29


13/18. Mostly New York and Texas. Two I got wrong were the place in California that looked like Florida and the place in Florida that looked like California. The other three I got wrong were in the Rust Belt. One pic in Brooklyn was a gimme because there was a commercial building with its address on its sign. One pic in Texas was a gimme because there was a candidate sign in front of the bar-looking place in what looked like a pretty empty town.
posted by ardgedee at 7:24 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I had 15/17. Some of which took me about a second or two, and then I moved on. Some had me think for a minute. What I primarily made a decision on was wealth involved with a homeowner. I'd be interested in how different people decided. Perhaps some PhD could figure out what people think about neighborhoods.
posted by baegucb at 7:27 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I was 9/10 and then it started giving me a black screen for my images. Guessing at random I only got one of the remaining places correct.
posted by skyscraper at 7:52 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


But I repeat myself.
posted by skyscraper at 7:54 PM on March 29


I got 68% by mostly looking at the quality of the roads. If they were in poor condition, they usually went for the orange shitstain.
posted by Catblack at 8:00 PM on March 29


I believe the lesson there was no you couldn't and stop making snap judgements about people based on their surface trappings - or at least it should have been.

Honestly I got 80% judging on how manicured the lawns were. Biden voters had nicer lawns.
posted by Toddles at 8:07 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


15/20, of the 5 I guessed wrong 3 were very close margins and only two were dead wrong.

Of course I had one clear gimme - big rebel flag on one house was a tip-off I wasn’t in Biden territory.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:13 PM on March 29


15/18. American cars vs. foreign cars was the tipoff for me in most of the suburban ones.
posted by equalpants at 8:26 PM on March 29


I'm Canadian and these seemed quite clear to me. I got 13/15 correct, and the two I got wrong were both extremely close races on the west coast (not my coast). I made my guesses based on these criteria:

Trump / Biden:
People live far apart / People live close together
Plants more manicured or farmed looking / Greenery more natural looking
Possessions are put away / More possessions lying around (bikes, strollers, etc)
Garbage cans / Recycling
Roads seem designed for cars only / Walkability & pedestrians
American flags / None
Spread out / Compact
Rural / Urban
White people / Black people and Jewish people

I'm a racialized city person, and on a gut level I guessed based on whether or not I would feel safe! Sprawing rural areas and deep suburbs absolutely terrify me (Get Out vibes) and I am always very wary of people who display any national flags, and particularly US flags.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 9:09 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


"But with regards to suburban areas, which are the real political battlegrounds, I haven't seen anyone suggest there's a correlation between a neighborhood having sidewalks or not and how they vote."

I'm dead curious now to know how true this is. Chicago suburbs with sidewalks are more likely to vote Democratic than those without. Suburbs with sidewalks were built along the commuter rail lines, typically with their town centers in place before WWII (although they may not have become bedroom communities full of commuters until the 50s). They tend to be more dense, and you tend to pay a premium for being near commuter rail and less than 45 minutes by train from the Loop. Like, there are wealthy-ass suburbs and poor suburbs within that frame, but you're paying $235,000 for a little 2-bed cottage in a poor suburb with sidewalks that you might be paying $105,000 for if you moved out past the 60-minute mark into the post-war suburbs or post-millennium exurbs. Similarly, you're paying $850,000 for a 4-bed in a spendy pre-war burb like Glenview that you'd pay $300,000 for out by Fox Lake. Same train line, but there's a 30-minute express from Glenview (HUGE home price bump within walking distance of that specific train station because of it), and it takes 75 minutes minimum from Fox Lake. So your poorer sidewalk suburbs tend to be voting Democratic anyway, but your wealthier sidewalk suburbs tend to be full of two-income families where at least one of the adults is a well-paid white-collar professional who commutes to the Loop -- and those are definitely the suburbs that were centrist Republican strongholds in the 1980s and 1990s and have steadily moved leftward as the culture wars have intensified. (I just looked up demographic data, and my intuition appears correct: 2/3 of Glenview residents have a BA or higher; 1/3 have a master's or other graduate degree. 1/4 of Fox Lake residents have a BA or higher. The mean household income is about twice as high in Glenview as Fox Lake.)

Anyway I'd be curious about the pattern at the suburb level in other metros, and I'd be curious to know if it does make a difference in terms of sidewalks in specific neighborhoods. I do know that Illinois zoning laws tend to favor the addition of sidewalks and the state passes out various grants to municipalities to add or improve sidewalk infrastructure where it's subpar, whereas when I lived in North Carolina, the state didn't do anything to encourage sidewalks, and the attitude in a lot of places seemed to be that it was an unnecessary tax expenditure with high ongoing maintenance costs. So I'm sure some of the "sidewalk suburbs = Biden voters" has to do with state-level policies. But I'm curious to find out what else goes into that.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:12 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


21/21.

Secret to my success: run the quiz in a browser with enough content blocking and paywall bypass extensions active that it asks about the same neighborhood 21 times.
posted by flabdablet at 9:54 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


...Letting the days go by, let the water implicit biases hold me down...
posted by not_on_display at 10:31 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


As a non-American, never been to the US, I got 80% by leaning heavily on the pickup truck heuristic.
posted by Harald74 at 10:58 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


12/15. I missed one because I thought "this one is too obvious, it's a trick."
posted by Foosnark at 5:13 AM on March 30


Canadian, 12/19 , which is OK I guess?
posted by Yowser at 5:25 AM on March 30


After scrolling through a few dozen of these, what mainly strikes me is how many Americans have yards, and how few perform even the most basic maintenance of them. A lot of rusty chainlink fences zealously protecting obviously-unused weed patches and dirt lots.

Kind of a metaphor for the whole country, now that I think of it.
posted by panglos at 5:53 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


The one slam-dunk I got was the truly scroungy Ohio junkyard in the woods. Totally Trumpy.
posted by gimonca at 5:56 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


I got 80 - 80+ percent on the average, putting me somewhere between sage of the suburbs and aspiring political operative.

I wish.

Sidewalks, architecture, population density, weather, flora, landscapes and landscaping -- two different things -- were factors in my guesses.

Oddly enough, Pennsylvania and Mississippi, two states to which I have never been, I got 100% right.
posted by y2karl at 5:56 AM on March 30


i think this is fundamentally different from the fridge photo thing -- whether you live in a densely populated area really does affect your political opinions and who chooses to move there.
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 6:05 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


I tried it twice. First time I got lots of Florida - and less than half correct. The second time I got a mix of northern states (like where I live) and got 18/20. I guess I have no idea what to think when I see a palm tree, but I can recognize a small town/rural area of the Midwest and make a conjecture based on statistics: small town/rural = more likely Trump voters.
posted by Gray Duck at 6:58 AM on March 30


I tried you alls' sidewalks, trucks, and flags and I got barely above 50/50.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:52 AM on March 30


I tried you alls' sidewalks, trucks, and flags and I got barely above 50/50.
I did it a 2nd time with the same criteria and got all but one correct. I missed some giant highway wall in Springfield MA.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:57 AM on March 30


I've decided that in reasonably-dense suburbs, the tell isn't sidewalks, pickup trucks, or flags. It's how old the trees look. Big, tall trees that look a hundred years old = older, inner-ring suburbs = Biden. Short, recently-planted trees that look like they were all planted at the same time ten years ago = newer exurb = Trump. Architectural style is also a bit of a clue, although that doesn't always work. Bungalows are usually Biden.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:06 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


I think I got 11/15 but it gave me some trees in one of them. Another was really easy because I guessed the location.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 9:15 AM on March 30


White people / Black people and Jewish people

Did you get images with people in them? All the ones I got seemed to be selected for the absence of people.

Also, how could you tell they were Jewish?
posted by mr_roboto at 11:00 AM on March 30


Lawn-mounted laser cannons were a giveaway
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:07 AM on March 30 [4 favorites]


18/21! Could have been even better if I hadn't expected more Biden neighborhoods in the quiz.

(I sucked at the fridge one.)
posted by of strange foe at 11:31 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Also 18 out of 21! Missed one that was a coin toss, a few percentage points for Biden.

Last one, I wasn't sure, then saw a sign for the "Coastal Ohio" tour, which points you up toward Sandusky or such, and that made it an easy guess...
posted by martin q blank at 1:39 PM on March 30


Got 11 out of 15. Would have done better if I could have better answered the question, "Is this an Arizona neighborhood or a California neighborhood?"
posted by WalkerWestridge at 4:37 PM on March 30


Not this again, I can't manage another meta account!

Did about as well as with the fridges, that is to say: no better than random on another run through. Am I voter-blind?
posted by Grim Fridge at 8:30 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


* sees motorcyclist with no helmet *

Oh, must be a Trump neighborhood.

"was part of a precinct that Trump won by 19 points"
posted by hanov3r at 1:55 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


>Did you get people?
Yes, one of mine had a Black kid on a bike, another had a realtor sign with a Black woman’s face blurred out, and one had a person in Hasidic clothing.

>How could you tell they were Jewish?
Hasidic clothing on one person (Brooklyn) and Hebrew writing on a building in another.

All Biden!
posted by nouvelle-personne at 1:58 PM on March 31


The Times wrote an interesting follow-up using the data we've all given them. Among other things, they found that flags and trucks were not useful indicators, but sidewalks were. (I wish they had looked at recycling bins.)
posted by theodolite at 11:28 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]


That follow up features a picture of pickup trucks in Manhattan. And I thought the ones used as urban commuter vehicles in Atlanta were useless...
posted by hydropsyche at 5:09 AM on April 7


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