What runs from Texas to North Dakota? Jobs and GOP votes

A man casts his vote in a polling station in Green Spring Garden Park in Alexandria, Va. on November 6, 2012. 

Gov. Mitt Romney has won most of the big square states in the Great Plains and Mountain West, according to the Associated Press --Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota.

What do those states have in common?

Unemployment's low: 3.9 percent in Nebraska, 3.0 percent in North Dakota -- unthinkably low if you live in some of the states still running double-digit rates like California, Nevada, and Rhode Island.

Ag has weathered the Great Recession relatively well in the Midwest. And another big thing in those big Western states? Energy production -- oil, coal, and especially natural gas. Less job anxiety, more growth, and a lot of votes for Romney.

View the Marketplace Two Americas electoral map for the latest election results. We've divided the country into two nations: one with an unemployment rate above 8 percent and one with an unemployment rate below 8 percent. View the results.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.
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