Rich state, poor state, red state, blue state: What's the matter with Connecticut?

Gelman, Andrew E.; Shor, Boris; Bafumi, Joseph; Park, David K.

For decades, the Democrats have been viewed as the party of the poor, with the Republicans representing the rich. Recent presidential elections, however, have shown a reverse pattern, with Democrats performing well in the richer blue states in the northeast and coasts, and Republicans dominating in the red states in the middle of the country and the south. Through multilevel modeling of individual-level survey data and county- and state-level demographic and electoral data, we reconcile these patterns. Furthermore, we find that income matters more in red America than in blue America. In poor states, rich people are much more likely than poor people to vote for the Republican presidential candidate, but in rich states (such as Connecticut), income has a very low correlation with vote preference.

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Quarterly Journal of Political Science

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March 17, 2010