The map on this page shows not only who’s winning in each of the state’s 87 counties, but, using Patchwork Nation, it shows how the candidates are doing in each of Minnesota’s eight types of county – from the wealthy Monied Burbs to the rural agricultural Tractor Country counties. It will fill in with data as the results from the caucuses come in.
Minnesota represents an interesting test for the GOP field in that it is the first post-Iowa contest where the small-town rural counties that Patchwork Nation calls the Service Worker Centers play a big role. Those counties have generally been hit hard by the recession and they tend to be full of the lower-income, blue-collar voters that have not been good for Romney so far. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum edged out Romney in those counties in Iowa.
The Service Worker Centers in Minnesota are a bit better off than similar counties in other states in terms of median household income, but Santorum’s pro-manufacturing message could play well in them. These counties, primarily located in the north of the state (in red on the map below), will be a test to see if Romney can reach small-town voters. The GOP front-runner may complain about “class warfare” but he has had trouble reaching voters in less wealthy communities.