ONE OF THESE REGIONS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHERS…. In the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Democrats enjoy the narrowest of leads over Republicans on the generic ballot, 44% to 43%. That’s a slight improvement over June, when Republicans led by two, but the parties have effectively been tied on this question since last fall, trading small leads month to month.


What those top-line results don’t show, however, is that there are some interesting regional differences. Taegan Goddard flagged this tidbit from the MSNBC report: “The GOP has a HUGE generic-ballot edge in the South (52%-31%), but it doesn’t lead anywhere else. In the Northeast, Dems have a 55%-30% edge; in the Midwest, they lead 49%-38%; and in the West, it’s 44%-43%.”

I made another homemade chart to help drive the point home. (The lucrative world of blog-chart making awaits, right?)

Now, I’m not sure why the Republicans’ 21-point lead in the South is all-caps “huge,” but Dems’ 25-point lead in the Northeast isn’t, but nevertheless, it is a reminder that the playing field is not altogether level. The GOP’s strength has been in the South for several years, and that clearly hasn’t changed.

Of course, this is only a guide, pointing to regional differences — it doesn’t mean Democratic candidates outside the South have nothing to worry about. As First Read noted, “Many of the congressional districts Republicans are targeting outside of the South resemble some of those Southern districts they’re hoping to win back in November — where you have whiter and older voters. Think Stephanie Herseth’s seat in South Dakota; Tim Walz’ seat in Minnesota; Leonard Boswell’s seat in Iowa; and Ike Skelton’s in Missouri.”

Still, we’ve been talking for years about the Republican Party becoming increasingly regionalized, and these trends are continuing.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.