This is, flat out, one of the most interesting comments on the election I've seen. A taste:
My focus is on the South in particular, because it's not clear if there are especially meaningful patterns in this data outside of that region; Obama had no trouble winning over white voters in relatively black non-southern states like Michigan, New York, or Maryland. There are fifteen states that I define as Southern. Obama drew a larger percentage of the white vote than John Kerry in five of them, a smaller share (sometimes substantially smaller) in four of them, and got exactly the same percentage in the other six.
The driving factor in determining how Obama performed vis-à-vis John Kerry, however, appears as though it might not be race, but rather how much Obama camaigned in a given state. According to the New York Times candidate tracker, Obama campaigned extensively -- by which I mean, he actually went out and spent a lot of time on the ground -- in 6 of the 15 Southern states. These include Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and Missouri (where Obama campaigned extensively in the general election cycle), as well as South Carolina and Texas (where Obama campaigned extensively in the primaries). The other nine Southern states, Obama did not have more than a couple of apperances in, and several he did not visit at all.
I said 'interesting'. I'm not sure if I believe it. I'd like to.