Via Salon comes this quick, wonkish movie showing the shift in statewide party preference over the last century.
I first voted in the 2000 election, when the whole Red State/Blue State narrative emerged. I thought it was silly at the time, obscuring a whole host of more important divisions and fostering a smug sense of superiority among people who should have known better. As I've started working in media, it's amazing how quickly yesterday's unchanging truths (i.e. a Democratic nominee will never win a Southern state again) are forgotten, though that doesn't seem to keep pundits from continuing to dish them out.
While traditions certainly play a role, political preferences are incredibly mutable. That's worth remembering when thinking about what kind of world is emerging. Today's strongholds are tomorrow's battlegrounds, and "tradition" is usually a lot younger than we think.