The fascinating finding in this dKos polling data on people’s attitudes to various locations that frequently serve as right-wing bogeymen is to some extent obscured by the presentation of all the cross tabs. This chart I made boils down the key facts that San Francisco, New York, Europe, and even the dread France are popular among the public at large and even Republicans at large but held in low esteem specifically in the South:
Way back in his 1998 Atlantic article “The Southern Captivity of the GOP”, Christopher Caldwell was warning that “the Republicans have narrowly defined ‘values’ as the folkways of one regional subculture, and have urged their imposition on the rest of the country.”
Like most articles describing why political parties are suffering from deep, structural flaws, Caldwell’s was ultimately undermined by the basic reality that events matter. A combination of poor ballot design, a compliant Supreme Court, and America’s moronic election system put George W. Bush in the White House despite the fact that most people didn’t want him to be president. Then 9/11 changed which issues people care about and led to GOP wins in 2002 and 2004. But you do see that pattern Caldwell identified coming into play a lot nowadays. It’s not really clear why you would think that “disdain for cosmopolitan cities and Europe” should be constitutive of conservatism, but it does seem to be a widespread element of the southern worldview, and it’s increasingly been adopted as the overwhelming posture of conservatism as such.