$$$ X Politics ⇒ Red vs. Blue

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The always interesting Andrew Gelman, Rich state, poor state, red-state, blue-state: it’s all about the rich:

Thus, the familiar “red America, blue America” pattern, the “culture war” between red and blue states, is really something happening at the higher range of incomes.

I believe that the details of history are always driven by battles between the elites….

Update: zeil asks if this is a race effect. From Rich State, Poor State, Red State, Blue State: What’s the Matter with Connecticut?:

Could the varying income effects we have shown be merely a proxy for race? This is a potentially plausible story. Perhaps the high slope in Mississippi reflects poor black Democrats and rich white Republicans, while Connecticut’s flatter slope arises from its more racially homogeneous population. To test this, we replicate our analysis, dropping all African–American respondents. This reduces our key pattern by about half. For example, in a replication of Figure 5, the slopes for income remain higher in poor states than in rich states, but these slopes now go from about 0.2 to 0 rather than from 0.4 to 0.

To see if the income patterns could be explained by other demographic variables, we went back to the full dataset for the Annenberg surveys in 2000 and 2004 and added individual-level predictors for female, black, four age categories, and four education categories; and group-level predictors for percent black and average education in each state. After controlling for all these, the patterns for income remained: within states, the coefficient for individual income on probability of Republican vote was positive, with steeper slopes in poorer states; after controlling for the individual and group-level predictors, richer states supported the Democrats.



  1. the details of history are always driven by battles between the elites 
    It seems that recently many of those elites also happen to be Jewish.

  2. It’s tough to make sense of any rich/poor analysis in the U.S. when race/ethnicity is not included.

  3. What is wrong with being rich? Is it wrong for people to vote for the party that will protect private property and not redistribute their hard earned wealth.

  4. Many of the Christian conservatives I’ve known have been educated and pretty well off. They’re caricatured as ignorant hillbillies, but as the article says, it’s just a different, mostly non-urban style of being rich.

  5. It’s tough to make sense of any rich/poor analysis in the U.S. when race/ethnicity is not included. 
    from what i recall from previous posts on this topic from gelman race can’t explain it all. but you can check on his archives for the topic….

  6. “it’s just a different, mostly non-urban style of being rich.” 
    Indeed, the sporting country gentleman stills remains the aspirational ideal at least in the English-speaking world. Hence the increasing gentrification of places like Montana. Those newcomers are on the whole more politically “liberal” than the indigenous rich though.

  7. As M. Moldbug would explain: the poor and rich in Blue states vote the same because they have a common enemy: the rich in red states.

  8. Montana is a different story. I’m thinking of well-off people in Minnesota and Iowa exurbs, small cities, and countryside.

  9. Minnesota is a blue state. The predilection for rich folks to vote slightly less Republican in the blue states can probably be accounted for by the higher golf course to church ratio found in metropolitan areas!