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Tilting at Windmills

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February 6, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

RICH STATE, POOR STATE....For the wonkish among us, Brendan Nyhan points to an interesting academic paper published last year that provides a bit more detail about the voting patterns of rich and poor. It turns out that the rich are different from you and me, but they're more different in poor red states than in rich blue ones.

The conclusion of the paper is fairly simple: in poor states, income is a major predictor of whether you vote for Republicans or Democrats. In Mississippi, for example, the rich are far more likely than the poor to vote for Republican presidential candidates. But just the opposite is true in high-income states. There, although the rich are still more likely to vote for Republicans, the difference is quite small.

The chart above shows how clear this distinction is, and the authors report that it's become clearer over time. It's rare to get such a clean regression line in social science data like this, which makes their results pretty provocative.

I'm not quite sure what to make of this or how to take advantage of it, but knowledge is power, right? Maybe someone smarter than me will figure out what this means and how to use it.

UPDATE: Andrew Gelman, one of the co-authors of the paper, writes on his blog that although the pattern they noticed really is striking, the regression line isn't quite as clean as I'm making it out to be. Apparently its cleanliness is partly an artifact of the model they used. He also has another picture for you to look at.

Kevin Drum 1:44 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (129)

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Comments

They're waging class war against everyone but the wealthy in the red states.

Nice point.

Posted by: Mumon on February 6, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps in states with large income discrepancy the rich and the poor face starkly different needs and choices, which result in starkly different voting patterns. In states with larger average income, the discrepancy between the average and the rich is not so great in terms of being able to lead a reasonably comfortable life, so political choices are made on other bases.

Posted by: LeisureGuy on February 6, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Rich states tend to be blue states, right?

This could be that the poor don't vote differently, but that the rich vote differently -- i.e., blue state rich people self-select to live in states with high governmental activity, and red state rich people self-select to live in low government activity states.

Posted by: Greg Abbott on February 6, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

So both of the rich guys in Mississippi vote Republican - this is news?

Posted by: craigie on February 6, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
-- John Kenneth Galbraith

Posted by: JC on February 6, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

It would be interesting to see if the analysis produces the same result at the congressional district level or the county level. Within wealthy states does the same finding show up in poor versus wealthy districts?

Posted by: David Moore on February 6, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Don't have time to dig into the paper, but one quick observation: the low-income states depicted on the chart are also low-cost-of-living states, suggesting that LeisureGuy may be onto something.

Posted by: kwo on February 6, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Seems like all those lefty blogosphere folks who claim that poor red staters are voting against their own interests don't have a complete story. Good reason why Dems should NOT give up on red-state America.

Posted by: gq on February 6, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Solution: declare that the South actually won the War of Northern Aggression.

Posted by: alex on February 6, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Does the paper control for race? Obviously blacks are more likely to vote Democrat, and are also more likely to be poor. But correlation =/= causation.

Posted by: Al on February 6, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

All this demonstrates is something we all intuitively understand: the South is essentially a different country from the one the rest of us live in, with different problems, different norms, etc. If you like S-USA, vote Republican. If you like Original USA, vote Democrat.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim on February 6, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

My guess is the richer states are also the most educated states, and when you take that into account, you will see the more educated wealthy are more likely to vote democratic because they see the long term view.

just a guess.

Posted by: exhuming mccarthy on February 6, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

It has something to do with Natural Food Stores.

Posted by: j on February 6, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

The greater the inequality, the more the rich get a bunker mentality and protect their own. This is one of many ways that Bush's policies create self-reinforcing cycles.

Posted by: Realish on February 6, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

The bigots in the set of wealthy southerners found a home, so they switched parties to be there.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 6, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Here's my take: high income/high education "blue" states are places where there is also a high perceived community among rich and poor--an "we're all in this together" model of society. They are also urban states, with the high tolerance for social difference that urban areas require. So if we don't split along class lines because of superficial differences (race, sexual orientation, religion) we simply have more to bring us together--like our ideals as american citizens, a love of country, a respect for civil liberties etc... In rural and high poverty areas the rich and poor really do have different interests since the rich are rich *because* the poor are poor/are their workers and also rural living/dispersed living and lack of physical mobility means that superficial differences (accents, immigrant status, sexual orientation) assume massive if pointless social significance.

that's my take, anyway.

aimai

Posted by: aimai on February 6, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

The explanation appears to be in the way the rich people in the red and blue states amassed their wealth.

In a blue state like California, drive, ambition, and enterprise are probably the most likely determinants of individual wealth.

In red states, on the other hand, it's the old money and relationships developed through the generations starting from the slave owning plantation days.

Just a guess, but most probably correct.

Posted by: lib on February 6, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Blue State Rich = Old Money.

Red State Rich = New Money.

Posted by: Wally Ballou on February 6, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

My guess is that ownership of property is more closely tied to wealth and power in the red states than in the blue states. There may also be more inherited wealth rather than earned wealth in the red states. Look within both the red states and the blue states and I am sure that you will find that the large rural property owners in both of them tend to vote Republican. That is at least true in the "blue" state of Illinois where there may have been about a half dozen counties that voted blue (for Kerry), but where the vast majority of downstate counties lean red and supported Bush. So, yes, put the counties instead of states on a similar graph and I bet you will find a greater correlation.

Posted by: lou on February 6, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, more navel gazing on why Dems are losing elections.

Here, let me help you gaze at your navels: what's the odds that poor people vote Dem at the same rate, and rich people tend to vote R in red states and D in blue states? Explains both the graph and why red states are red and blue states blue.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on February 6, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I'd say what the study shows is that, for rich people, the ratio of the money they have to the money an average person has, is their power.

Posted by: larry birnbaum on February 6, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

The Democratic strategy in the red states is now clear. We must advocate an "eat the rich" policy there.

Posted by: Common Knowledge on February 6, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

The bigots in the set of wealthy southerners found a home, so they switched parties to be there.
Posted by: Advocate for God

Pretty much.

It's all about fear.

Posted by: CFShep on February 6, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Al:

The paper did look at race, and did some test corrections for it, and apparently the results did not change significantly. That was the first thing I thought of, too, given the states crowded against the left side of that curve.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 6, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Jigsaw puzzle analogy at play again. Many pieces to this puzzle; some more obvious than others, some more important to others.

Posted by: Keith G on February 6, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think they really addressed demographics appropriately. Eliminating African American respondants in figures 17 and 18 doesn't control for the reaction of wealthy people to living in a region with a high percentage of poor (African American?) people.

I'm guessing Income disparity, crime, and racial tension probably feed off eachother to break down any sense of community and common political interest.

The relationship seems to be changing through time and in particular becoming stronger since 1988. Scary.

Posted by: dgf on February 6, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Slight modification: both "blue" and "red" America have Old Money types, but they tend to be patricians (with concomitant sense of noblesse oblige in the former and aristocrats (with concomitant sense of divine-mandated privilege).

Posted by: Wally Ballou on February 6, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

For more background on income, working conditions and electoral preferences by state, see the discussion of the University of Massachusetts' "Work Environment Index."

Posted by: AvengingAngel on February 6, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Old massas doing everything the can to protect their ill-gotten gains from those dirty sexual maniac negroes.

Duh.

You have to be a "good white" of the caliber of See-No-Evil Drum to not immediately realize the above is a major cause of the phenomenon.

Posted by: cdj on February 6, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

It certainly seems to show that the argument that poor and working class folks in red states have gone GOP over social issues is overstated...though I don't know where the true middle classes fit in all this, I think that would be interesting as well--where do the middle classes fit in terms of red state and blue state voting?

Posted by: LimoLiberal on February 6, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Not having read the paper, but I wonder if it adjusts for standard of living, or source of income. Someone making $30k/yr in CA is probably in more need of govt services than someone making $20k/yr in AL. Alternatively, $100k/yr in CA is a mid-level mgmt salary, while your probably have to own a business to make $100k/yr in AL.

Posted by: tinfoil on February 6, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Wait, New Jersey is one of the highest income states? That's just wacky. You couldn't pay me enough to live there again.

Anyone have an analysis of cost of living versus Red State/Blue State?

Posted by: Frank J. on February 6, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Frank, NJ is a hell of a lot better place than FL

Posted by: cq on February 6, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Related to this was the "news" that the super rich (think people in Warren Buffet and Bill Gate's wealth bracket) overwhelming supported Kerry in 2004, and that the, apparently, economically insecure wealthy (more than $1M in liquid assest, $500K/year income) voted for Bush.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 6, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't mean shit when you have diebold on your side.

Posted by: GOP liar on February 6, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Frank J. -- data is at BLS.gov, cen.gov and bea.gov. Do the analyis your self, but in general you will find that the red states are the poorest states and the blue are the best off both in nominal and real terms.

Posted by: spencer on February 6, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

So both of the rich guys in Mississippi vote Republican - this is news?

Actually, there are quite a few rich people in Mississippi-- and of course, they are all rich because of their grit, brains, & moral fiber instead of, oh, an ole-boys network that favors them . Even in my relatively small hometown of 40,000, apparently an orthopedist can hold an annual contract worth over a million dollars, which I only found out when he was getting a divorce, lol. Besides, someone has to own those mills & sweatshops... I knew people when I still lived there who had worked for Peavey for going on twenty years & still only made about $7-8/hour.

Posted by: latts on February 6, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

I'd guess it's because in higher income states, the income is spread out more, so the corelation between money and position starts breaking up.

Posted by: Crissa on February 6, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

I'd be interested in knowing what proportion of poor people (however defined) vote *at all* by state. I just read the New Yorker's heartrending article about the poor white louisieana (oh screw the spelling) families that use a visiting nurse program for their first pregnancies and the level of poverty described, the desperation, the every day degradation of people's lives was just unbelievable. It was hard to imagine these kids voting at all--and, of course, many are below voting age even as they are using government services that someone has to vote to pay for.

aimai

Posted by: aimai on February 6, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Related to this was the "news" that the super rich (think people in Warren Buffet and Bill Gate's wealth bracket) overwhelming supported Kerry in 2004, and that the, apparently, economically insecure wealthy (more than $1M in liquid assest, $500K/year income) voted for Bush.
Ahh.

So...

What's the point here?

Posted by: Crissa on February 6, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

With property value increases in CA, you can literally have someone making $100k+ living next door to someone making 1/3 as much. Their disposable income, standard of living, dependence on govt services, and exposure to tax law is almost the same.

Posted by: tinfoil on February 6, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Rich peoeple wield power wherever they are, but much more so in poor states than rich states. Think of someplace like Arkansas, rich people are like dukes and duchess' lording over serfs. They know republicans will maintain the status quo and they enjoy the status quo. Disparity of wealth doesn't bother them because they are on the absolute tippy-top.

I think wealth and poverty might be a bit more clean in poor states. What I mean is more segregated and more obviously distinct. I'd like to see the % of citizens in each state that are considered middle class. My guess is the poor states would have a much smaller middle class than the rich states, which could mean fewer people making the move from not-rich to rich. I'd bet there's fewer entrepenuerial(sp?) activity in poor states, fewer private companies per capita perhaps, fewer college graduates, more failing schools, etc., etc., all the things that come with widespread poverty and lack of capital/infrastructure.

Rich people lord over poor states. No quite so much is richer states. And this is just my prejudice here, but I'd guess the rich in poor states didn't get rich by giving a crap about the poor, why would they ever not vote Republican?

Posted by: The Tim on February 6, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Related to this was the "news" that the super rich (think people in Warren Buffet and Bill Gate's wealth bracket) overwhelming supported Kerry in 2004, and that the, apparently, economically insecure wealthy (more than $1M in liquid assest, $500K/year income) voted for Bush.
Ahh. So... What's the point here? Posted by: Crissa

I guess the adage applies here that if you have to have it explained to you, you wouldn't understand the answer anyway (though the significance of this observation was included in the post).

Posted by: Jeff II on February 6, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

The researchers incorrectly discount race as a determinant. A recent study done at Emory showed the inherent racism among Republicans. If 'blue states' are more predominantly democratic, then there should be less racist bias in voting; while 'red state' republicans will vote for politicians and policies that ameliorate their innate biases--outlawing affirmative action, cutting welfare programs, eliminating funding for 'corrupt' public schools, etc... The Columbia researchers cannot account for specific beliefs in their paper due to the dataset; but, if they could include beliefs about policies and 'who gets what from whom', then this could be identified.

Posted by: eb on February 6, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

It may be that there is a more homogeneous group of rich people in many of the southern states, which tend to have small populations and a strong aristocratic tradition based on a resource extraction economy, but in the wealthy states the rich are more diverse and fall into other groups besides the rich. You could have old money, new money suburban, professional money and therefore different outlooks, traditions, and independent political goals. This is certainly my experience of Southern culture versus other places in the US.

This would be related to economic and social mobility. I have only glanced over the paper so I dont know if they address this.

Posted by: bellumregio on February 6, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

If it were just about differences in relative wealth making someone more likely to vote Republican, then the Buffet/Gates type person would be more likely to vote Republican.... after all, they are even more wealthy relative to the average person than a rich person in mississippi is wealthy relative to the poor there.

On the other hand, since the number of rich in league with Gates and Buffett is extremely small, I'm not sure that they provide enough data points to draw a general conclusion.

Posted by: Constantine on February 6, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

If it were just about differences in relative wealth making someone more likely to vote Republican, then the Buffet/Gates type person would be more likely to vote Republican.... after all, they are even more wealthy relative to the average person than a rich person in mississippi is wealthy relative to the poor there.

On the other hand, since the number of rich in league with Gates and Buffett is extremely small, I'm not sure that they provide enough data points to draw a general conclusion.

Posted by: Constantine on February 6, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I think you're looking at the study backwards -- if you want to make sense of the results, point the arrow of causation in the other direction. Being a low-income state doesn't cause the rich to vote Republican; rather, having a lot of Republican rich folks causes a state's overall income to be low. When most of the people with money (and thus political power) support Republican candidates, a state's elected officials will tend to be Republican and thus pursue policies and legislation which keeps wages low. No state/local minimum wage, underfunded education systems, active courting of industries which offer low wages and benefits, conservative social policies which make the state unattractive to more socially enlightened and high-paying industries, etc., etc. We've seen how Republican leadership is bad for the overall U.S. economy; this study just illustrates it on a smaller scale.

Posted by: CN on February 6, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

It may be that there is a more homogeneous group of rich people in many of the southern states, which tend to have small populations and a strong aristocratic tradition based on a resource extraction economy, . . . Posted by: bellumregio

I think you mean agricultural. The only significnant "resource extraction" that goes on in the South is coal mining by, primarily, multinational firms not based in the South.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 6, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Pardon if I am repeating anyone above, but my guess is that this means the Demos need to get more of the poorer folks to vote more often in red states, and outlines why so much effort is made by GOP "leaning" groups in red states to suppress the vote of the poor and minority.

Posted by: bubba on February 6, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

My hunch is that an awful lot of these numbers can be explained by the movement of upper middle-class professionals in the blue states into the Democratic party.

We'll never know, however, because no analysis was done to look for that possible explanation. In fact, the authors of the study seem content not to offer any plausible explanations for the results found in their work. It simply amazes me how impressive-looking quantitative analysis can substitute for qualitative analysis is the world of political science these days.

As for any message to take from these numbers? Far from being a disadvantage, the Dems culturally liberal positions are an advantage in blue states, helping to secure the votes of wealthy professionals who used to consider the GOP a viable alternative.

However, in the red states, Dems should be focusing on economic issues and soft pedaling the cultural ones. The data would probablty indicate that in red states, the marginal swing voter is lower-middle or middle income (with low income votes going to the Dems and upper-middle and high income votes going GOP). Those voters right now are voting against the "latte rich liberals" who the GOP pedals as a hostile elite. Dems have to get to vot against the rich conservatives exploiting them in their own backyard.

Posted by: Michael Pine on February 6, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

CN's 3:28 post is intriguing -- and entirely plausible. Waht would help illuminate the theory would be a comparable study tracing the patterns backwards over the last cnetury or so (with the expected discontinuities over the desegregation/civil rights fights of the 40s-60s).
My own take -- whether or not the causation is economix-to-politix, vice-versa, or (as is most likely in a complex system) some of both -- is to wonder if we can expect to see the voting patterns in the blue states start to move toward a red-state model as the income and wealth disparities in ALL states continue to grow, and as the middle class gets slimmer and slimmer.
I know it's been proven that it's not an "ancient Chinese curse" -- but it's still a curse: we DO live in interesting times.

Posted by: smartalek on February 6, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Pardon if I am repeating anyone above, but my guess is that this means the Demos need to get more of the poorer folks to vote more often in red states, and outlines why so much effort is made by GOP "leaning" groups in red states to suppress the vote of the poor and minority.

Take Mississippi as an example (we always do; sorry, Mississippians). The state has high levels of poverty and--I believe this is still true--the highest percentage of black residents of any state, not including DC. Yet it has Trent, Haley and the rest of those buffoons. Some serious GOTV efforts needed there.

Posted by: shortstop on February 6, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

MOST OF THE PEOPLE IN THE SOUTHERN STATES DO NOT KNOW THEY ARE WHATS LEFT ON THE PLATE WHEN THE PIE WAS GLIPED DOWN BY THE RICH. CRUST OR CRUMBS

Posted by: CRUST OR CBUMBS on February 6, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

If it were just about differences in relative wealth making someone more likely to vote Republican, then the Buffet/Gates type person would be more likely to vote Republican. Posted by: Constantine

The point being, as it would be even with the merely exceptionally wealthy as opposed to those who can buy their own country wealthy, is that they have assets at such a level that no amount of tax cuts would affect their wealth in a significant manner, unless they were hoping to join Gates or Buffet.

Therefore, that some many of the only the semi-obscenely wealthly buy into the Republican economic schemes means they are economically insecure, stupid, racist, mean-spirited or some combination thereof. (If you don't believe this, go talk to a stock broker or an investment banker sometime. Then go take a shower.)

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet (and other wealthy individuals that have come out against Bush administration economic policies) are able to see a "bigger picture" in which enabling the weath of a relative handful of Americans in the short run doesn't benefit the country as much (really not at all) as does lightening the burden of millions of American tax payers, and funding social programs (including public education) that primarily serve people whose misfortune is largely no fault of their own. It's true that any nation is only as secure as the consideration it shows to its least well-off. Since the Reagan years, we've shown less and less interest as an electorate to pursue policies that address this.

The last time I looked at the Fortune or Forbes 500 for the U.S., approximately 50% of the people on the list had inherited their wealth and were the second generation to do so. Even Bill Gates and Paul Allen came from upper-middle class backgrounds.

Over the last half a century, Sam Walton and Warren Buffet stand as the two most prominent ultra-wealthy in the U.S. who were essentially self-made, though there are others in the upper tier in American business who have created something from nothing. But, by and large, one remains in the socio-economic class into which he was born. And one would assume that those who are able to ascend might have a greater understanding of what it's like to "strike it rich," as many Americans did during the dot com boom, or at least not having to worry about the rent or groceries anymore.

If this defines class warfare, bring it on.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 6, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Rich people have good reasons to vote for Republicans. They think R policies will benefit them. Vice versa for the poor. However, if you are rich in a blue-state you are probably very well-connected to the (blue) statehouse, which, when it comes to money, means you might need to support D's if you want to continue to get money. That isn't true in red states, where the rich can have their cake and eat it too. The connectedness of the rich to the centers of power would suggest why the US has wound up supporting what was originally a southern Jacksonian 'free trade' policy even when such a policy may negatively impact poor and Northern voters.

The poor, on the other hand, will vote blue in blue states because they get more money that way. Not so much in red states. (Particularly and for example: military people tend to be poor and more southern. The southern party tends to want to spend more on the military. Ergo, it is in the military guy's interest to vote R.)

Occam's razor: nothing complicated, people are just voting for the cash, in whatever form they receive it.

ash
['Yay.']

Posted by: ash on February 6, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

The explanation for this is fairly clear:
In low income states, which have a lot of poor people, many of which are often black, redistributionist policies have a bigger price tag for the rich than in richer states. In Sweden, where there are even fewer poor people than in the blue states, the same policies have an even lower price tag for the rich. So its not surprising that low income U.S. states are at one end of the spectrum, and Scandinavia at the other end.

Posted by: badger on February 6, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

"The bigots in the set of wealthy southerners found a home, so they switched parties to be there."

Or maybe the Dems don't want the votes in Red States.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 6, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if it has something to do with the buying power of one's income in the various regions of the country. Having lived in both deep red and deep blue states, I can personally attest to the fact that the cost of living is much, much lower in the deep red states. Could it be as simple as the fact that someone making $100K/year in California feels much poorer than someone making $50K in Alabama (which is not unreasonable)?

However, some of these comments are hilarious and indicative that many of you have absolutely no idea how rural people think.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 6, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

One other factor to consider is the net migration of people from the north and northeast to the south and southwest. What kind of people migrate?

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 6, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

"while 'red state' republicans will vote for politicians and policies that ameliorate their innate biases--outlawing affirmative action"

Outlawing racism is racism?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 6, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

However, some of these comments are hilarious and indicative that many of you have absolutely no idea how rural people think. Posted by: Yancey Ward

Oh do enlighten us, Will.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 6, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Waht would help illuminate the theory would be a comparable study tracing the patterns backwards over the last cnetury or so (with the expected discontinuities over the desegregation/civil rights fights of the 40s-60s).
No help, the Democrats have been throwing conservatives overboard since the 70's. Zell was the last one you had. Any comparisons made against back when Dems had a conservative subset would be useless.

Like it or not, since you've ditched any pretense at conservative, you get to completely rethink who you are. Why else do you think all this navel gazing goes on?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on February 6, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, the data shows that playing class warfare politics isn't all that effective. But I doubt the liberals will choose data over dogma, and will continue to waste their efforts.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 6, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

So both of the rich guys in Mississippi vote Republican - this is news?

Yeah Craigie. Trent Lott and some other guy.

Posted by: ckelly on February 6, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

"Why else do you think all this navel gazing goes on?"

I find it funny the liberals can't figure out why they can't win over the people they continually insult as ignorant, redneck, racist hicks.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 6, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

"In Sweden, where there are even fewer poor people than in the blue states, the same policies have an even lower price tag for the rich. So its not surprising that low income U.S. states are at one end of the spectrum, and Scandinavia at the other end."

The average Swede is poorer than the average black American. So, is your conclusion to make everyone poor, thus eliminating wealth disparity?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 6, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

your conclusion to make everyone poor, thus eliminating wealth disparity?
That is how you eliminate wealth disparity, by making everyone poor.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on February 6, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

"That is how you eliminate wealth disparity, by making everyone poor."

I guess at least there will be social justice.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 6, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

I find it funny the liberals can't figure out why they can't win over the people they continually insult as ignorant, redneck, racist hicks. Posted by: Freedom Fighter

So true. Then again, the Republican party is the natural home for ignorant, redneck, racist hicks.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 6, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

So, having read through the commens, I don't see anyone asking or answering the question that springs instantly to my mind:

Aren't there more poor people than rich people? If the republicans' base of support in Mississippi is the rich, and the poor have the same voting patterns as blue staters, then why did Mississippi vote for Bush? (Not to mention Lott, Barbour, etc.)

Posted by: Evan on February 6, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Anytime you think about voting behavior, remember IETS.

It's The Ethnicity, Stupid.

In your example of Mississippi, over 90% of blacks voted Democratic in the last two Presidential elections, while over 80% of whites voted Republican.

Posted by: Steve Sailer on February 6, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

"The average Swede is poorer than the average black American. So, is your conclusion to make everyone poor, thus eliminating wealth disparity?"

I'll bet the average Swede is happier than the average black American.

Posted by: Greg Abbott on February 6, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

I knew people when I still lived there who had worked for Peavey for going on twenty years & still only made about $7-8/hour. Posted by: latts on February 6, 2006 at 2:45 PM

Their amps suck as much as their wage and salary practice does.

If you want shitty tone, buy Peavey!

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 6, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II,

In your case and others, it would be a waste of time. If it makes you feel better to think that Republicans are racist hicks, then more power to you.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 6, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

I knew people when I still lived there who had worked for Peavey for going on twenty years & still only made about $7-8/hour. Posted by: latts on February 6, 2006 at 2:45 PM

Their amps suck as much as their wage and salary practice does.

If you want shitty tone, buy Peavey!
Posted by: Dr. Morpheus

Yep. Spend the extra time and money and find a pre-1970s Fender Reverb.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 6, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

kd

your graph does not seem to match your point.

the horizontal axis is average state income, not individual income.

i thought your point was that in some states(red), the wealthier an individual was, the more likely h/s was to vote repub

i don't doubt the chart is an accurate summary of a set of charts, one for each of the 50 states, but it does not help me "see" a relationship between individual income and voting.

and what is a "rich" individual in a state? above meidan income? above $100k? top 5% of income distribution?

Posted by: orionATL on February 6, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II,

In your case and others, it would be a waste of time. If it makes you feel better to think that Republicans are racist hicks, then more power to you. Posted by: Yancey Ward

Just the facts ma'm. Just the facts.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 6, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

The South has a long history of suppressing minority voters who are usually poor. I'm in Georgia where Repubs push to make photo IDs a requirement before a voter can vote, another tactic to suppress poor minority and elderly voters. We also have Diebold in Georgia. Woohoo! Freedom is on the march... if you're rich, white, and Repub.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 6, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

The blue states are more progressive, less plantation-like than the ones run by the blue-blood/red-neck alliance. The rich/ish in blue states are less invested in the oppressive plutocratic system of the neoconfederacy/wild west, are more literate and thoughtful ("wine and cheese PBS liberals"), and often vote Democratic. The poor there find less of a reason to hate capitalism and rich people accordingly, so there's less of a confrontation between opposing camps.

Posted by: Neil' on February 6, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom Fighter: I don't think the per capita GNP figures bear you out on Sweeden, but if they do: REM that averages are crap anyway because of weighting at the top. Try median and see what happens.

Posted by: Neil' on February 6, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Sweden - to help ctrl-F following of that issue.

Posted by: Neil' on February 6, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

One really should read the paper Kevin linked to. It is long, filled with graphs and statistics, but you can actually read just the last 10 pages or so, and refer back to the graphs as needed. It is really quite interesting, and not quite what I had expected. It does offer food for thought.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 6, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

orionATL
They're looking for a reason for the Dem losses in elections. Specifically, they're looking for a reason external to the Dem party platform and politicians. It doesn't have to be accurate, is just has to soothe their feelings.

It's so much more comforting to be a victim than to be a failure.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on February 6, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

My first reaction looking at the graph was that it showed a Third World mentality (poor states) vs. a First World mentality (rich 'uns). Couldn't quite put into better words than that until I recalled the results of U.Michigan's "World Values Study." If you look at one of the big roll-up graphs of their findings, it's a mirror image (backwards, just like a mirror) of the Poor vs. Rich states graph.
Check out http://wvs.isr.umich.edu/fig.shtml, and look at the figure at the top of the page entitled "Survival and Well Being as related to per capita GNP."
In Rich States / High GNP per capita countries, the dominant focus for people is lifestyle quality issues. In Poor States / Low GNP per capita countries, the dominant focus for people is economic gains. So, the rich in Poor States are more likely to be attracted to a party that promotes economic self-interest, while the rich in Rich States are more likely to be attracted to a party that promotes social justice.

Posted by: ptb on February 6, 2006 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut: The reason any party or candidate loses has to include external reasons because the character of the voter is involved. You can't just talk about "internal" properties of the product being bought, whether candidates, movies, etc. As for external properties - the voters - we should not give in to sentimental bilge about how wise they must be en masse. In the case of the selection (assuming it was not stolen) of the current ruinous regime, the voters were stupid and fearful. What's your excuse?

Posted by: Neil' on February 6, 2006 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Kevin, can you now please stop swallowing whole the depiction of liberals as affluent elitists?

Posted by: dan on February 6, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Neil'
Oh, it's certainly nice to understand voters en masse, the Dems seem to currently have a problem with that. But I doubt the urge to understand the voters is so that Democrats can actually produce a platform and politicians that appeal to a majority. Rather they seem to be looking for a way to explain that Dems are doing everything correctly, and its just a matter that those stupid, fearful voters just aren't seeing the light of reason and truth.

You know, acting like elitist jerks.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on February 6, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

A bunch of the states that you mark as "poor" are newly industrializing, and the states that you mark as rich are losing their industrial base. Lots of the "rich" in rich states got their wealth by inheriting it from people who built up enterprises in generations past (Bush and Kennedy clans, for example.)

That;s not to say that the relationship isn't interesing. thanks for the post.

Posted by: contentious on February 6, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

I think this data is so interesting its almost meaningless. First of all, in a "red" state the reason for its redness must be that the "poor" who outnumber the rich, are already voting more R than D. So the fact that the "rich" in those states votes even less D, well, I guess I'm with those above who say, so?

The most interesting red/blue analysis is not on a state by state basis, but by an urban/rural basis. That seems to explain quite a bit. This chart does not.

Posted by: hank on February 6, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

There is little here that would help anyone win an election.

Some of the findings defy common sense. The reality is that if one could somehow limit voting to white males, the Democrats would lose nearly every race in the U.S. Conversely, of course, if only single women and blacks could vote, the Democrats would coast.

Statistically, removing blacks from the pool doesn't seem to affect the conclusions, which indicates that the statistics are irrelevant, at least to anyone who has worked in an election campaign--for either party--that included any amount of African-American voters.

Black voters represent both a disproportionate number of poor voters and a disproprortionate number of Democrats.

I confess I do not fully understand the mathematical analysis in this article. However here is some simple, nose-picker's arithmetic:

Hypothesize an electoral jurisdiction that includes a substantial number of African-Americans, say 17.5% of the voters who, to keep it simple, number 100,000 voters.

On the natural, the Democrats would be ahead 15,750 to 1,750 before the first white person voted. This means the Reps would have to win 60% of the white vote to win this election. Of course turnout is a factor and the above example shows why Jeb Bush and the rest of the GOP are doing their level best to bring black participation back to Jim Crow poll tax levels.

This study is of significant academic interest, but when in comes down to anything really important--like winning elections--, low-income African American voters win elections for Democrats in every state in the country.

It is true that both parties have lost some of their natural base, mostly by GOP pandering to the Religious Right, which has attracted some of the least educated voters in the country while alienating the highly educated. Here in Silicon Valley not merely the Democrats but the Republicans regard Pat Robertson as a dangerous hillbilly.


Posted by: Steve High on February 6, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

That said, I'll take a swing at interpreting the data. It's what I call the "how you feel about insurance" test. If you are a blue state Dem, one big reason, perhaps not the only reason, but a big reason nonetheless, is that you have no quarrel with government sponsored insurance. You tend to view, for example, social welfare taxation and spending as what it is -- a form of mandatory insurance. Not, as what the Republican's characterize it as, which is "income redistribution."

(Cue Yancy Ward to argue that taxation is slavery)

This viewpoint is reinforced if you live in an urban area where the random experience of civilization not only illustrates the need for insurance in general, but perhaps provides you with interactions with actual people who, at some times in their lives reap the benefits of governmental programs and insurance.

In my case although I now might conceivably qualify as a member of "the rich" based upon income, I attended a state college heavily subsidized by California taxpayers in general. So, it doesn't bother me to subsidize education now, even though at the moment my kids attend private schools. I simply don't have a problem with government engaging in various attempts to insure a minimum level of society, even if I am not taking advantage of any particular program at the moment.

I'd be interested to see the "economic mobility" statistics on some of these red states, but obviously, if your family has been part of the landed upper class for quite a while, and never needed direct government support, well, you'd tend to be susceptible to the party which categorizes insurance as confiscatory taxation. Hence, you might vote for less insurance, as you basically think you'll never need it.

Posted by: hank on February 6, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop and evan: Steve Sailer gave you your answer.

In Mississippi, whites vote republican, blacks vote democratic, in damned high percentages like politics had seldom seen prior to Ronald Reagan.

Starting with Reagan, it has become very pronounced. Somehow, most all he black folk and white folk were aware that Reagan found a way to oppose every piece of civil rights legislation that ever came down the pike. Black folk did not like that. White folk did.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on February 6, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

This post was very poorly written.

But just the opposite is true in high-income states.

This seriously overstates the difference between red states and blue states. In both, the rich tend to vote Republican and the poor tend to vote Democrat. The correlation is stronger in red states, but that hardly justifies the use of the word "opposite." You're trying to overstate the difference between red and blue states and, in my opinion, you have done so dishonestly.

Posted by: FXKLM on February 6, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

This doesn't make sense at my simplistic level. So tell me what I'm not getting:
Low-income states mean there are fewer absolute rich people. If these states are more likely to vote in accordance to their economic interest, should low-income states be blue states rather than red ones?

Posted by: chao on February 6, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

I'm super late to this thread, so I've no doubt someone's already made the point. On the off chance no one has:

The example Kevin cites in the post is Mississippi, and I don't know if the South is over-represented in the analysis. But it makes sense, because there's greater racial diversity in the South, and particularly recently, race, more than income, is a great predictor of voting patterns.

Did the researchers control for that?

Posted by: Jeff on February 6, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

They did the comparison removing black people, the results were similar, so the various people who assume that is the answer are aparrantly wrong.

Heh, amusing how so few people will actually read the study or the beginning of the thread. It wasn't very long into the thread before one of the few who actually read it pointed this out.

Posted by: jefff on February 6, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

Not you jeff, you asked. Other people assumed.

Posted by: jefff on February 6, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

There are basically three reasons one would normally vote Democratic:

A) You're poor or disadvantaged and you want government safety net protections

B) You're secular-minded

C) You're affluent, and want to preserve the post New Deal status quo

A lot of B'ers and C'ers are in the same group. These tend to be people who want the superior goods promoted by the Democratic party. They tend to live in large urban areas. They often possess valuable goods (an expensive house in a tony neighborhod with a high-rated school system; a graduate degree; a stable career in a high status profession like academia, law, public policy, research, the arts, the non-profit sector, etc.) that largely guarantee a high quality of life and are not overly dependent on the vitality of the economy. This makes for a certain economic conservatism of the left (similar to what we see in Europe; not surprisingly, America's blue areas are its most European). They're not big fans of radical free market ideas, because they do very well already from the status quo.

You basically vote Republican for two reasons:

A) You're an adherent of a traditionalist religion

B) You're affluent, but youre long-term prosperity requires a higher rate of economic growth.

"A" needs no explanation. But "B" is comprised of people in such sectors as mineral extraction, timber, farming, retailing, real estate development, banking, etc. These sectors tend to be much more dependent on highish rates of GDP expansion, and tend to suffer losses from environmental regulations. By their nature a lot of these sectors tend to be found in states where land is plentiful (i.e, red states where cheap land prices allow for rapid expansion of the economy).

So, in both red and blue states, poverty is a more poweful vote generator than religion (and so poor people -- especially poor blacks and Latinos -- tend to vote Democrat despite their adherence to traditional religion). And this means in general that poor people vote Democrat no matter where they live. But no matter what their viewpoints on religion, the affluent of red and blue states tend to benefit from divergent economic policies -- and so vote for different politicians.

Posted by: 99 on February 7, 2006 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

99: on "A" for voting Republican.

I disagree on this point, in general, most low-income people are more inclined to be religious, and attend church on a regular basis as opposed to higher-income population.

Given the predominance of born-again believers (a theme, brand of christianity that Republicans exploit to its full advantage in 2000, and 2004 elections) especially in the red-states, it would seem more likely that most low-income people would vote for the Republicans and the Democrats. That the discrepancy in the voting patterns in the red states should be similar in pattern to the blue states although tending Repulicans. But the paper doesn't prove this point.

Posted by: equity orbit on February 7, 2006 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

I've got a post on my blog with some thoughts about Andrew Gelman's paper here:

Rich, Poor, Red, Blue

I ask some questions about the income scale they used and how that might affect the results, in particular I question what affect the choice of uneven, unadjusted, national income quantiles (instead of COLA adjusted, state-specific quintiles) has on the results. Here's a snippet with a hypothesis I throw out there:

"But back to my main point: these are national quantiles. The problem with this is that I would posit that any "income-effect" on political persuasion would have a lot more to do with relative income within your peer group, and to the extent that it is absolute, would be modulated by cost-of-living adjustments.

"Looking at the chart again, and knowing that it's the poorest state, it seems clear that the people in income level 2 in Mississippi must be much less than 5% of the state electorate, while those in income level 2 in Connecticut must be more than 5%. For the sake of argument, let's say that income level 2 in Mississippi is 2% of the electorate, while in Connecticut it's 8%. I would expect the top 2% of a state's electorate to be pretty different from the top 8%, even if the absolute ranges were the same, simply because their relative "status" on the income scale is significantly higher. And that's before we take into consideration that after cost-of-living adjustment, the 2% of Mississippians in that top national ventile would feel much more rich than the 8% of Connecticutters in it.

"Likewise the bottom quantile must be much bigger than 16% in Mississippi and much smaller than 16% in Connecticut. Similar relative income and COLA effects would occur as on the top side.

"So here's an alternative hypothesis for the results they're getting: in each income quantile the Mississippians feel richer than the Connecticutters in the same quantile and therefore they vote Republican. This can be seen as a slight twist on the economic determinism argument, with subjective, relative income replacing objective, absolute income as the determinant."

Hope you check it out. Interested in feedback.

-rv

Posted by: richard on February 7, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

Given the predominance of born-again believers (a theme, brand of christianity that Republicans exploit to its full advantage in 2000, and 2004 elections) especially in the red-states, it would seem more likely that most low-income people would vote for the Republicans and the Democrats.

equity orbit: I quite clearly wrote that...in both red and blue states, poverty is a more poweful vote generator than religion (and so poor people -- especially poor blacks and Latinos -- tend to vote Democrat despite their adherence to traditional religion).

In other words, I was arguing that poor people who belong to traditionalist religious denominations vote their pocketbooks over their bibles. Maybe it would be "more likely" for poor religious folks to vote GOP if religion trumped economics. But religion doesn't trump economics when it comes to voting for anybody, poor or not. Or, to put in another way, only poor people in this country are potentially conflicted between the party that speaks to their (conservative) philosophical beliefts and the party that speaks to their economic needs. Quite understandably, poor people usually choose the latter. Wealthy and comfortably middle class social conservatives, and wealthy and comfortably middle class social liberals do not face such a choice, because the party that favors their respective "world view" philosophies is also the party that champions their economic interests.

Posted by: 99 on February 7, 2006 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

I know I'll find the answer to this above, but I must ask,

aren't there more poor people than rich people in red states? And if they are so noticably more likely to vote Democratic, why do the Democrats so rarely win red states?


The answer I'm looking for, of course, is outright fraud.

Posted by: cld on February 7, 2006 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

? And if they are so noticably more likely to vote Democratic, why do the Democrats so rarely win red states?

The answer I'm looking for, of course, is outright fraud.

Posted by: cld on February 7, 2006 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

Because the Democrat-Republican divide is more of a city/country divide than it is a rich/poor divide.

Which tells you how far the Dems have lost their way.

Outright fraud is the answer Dems want to believe so they don't have to change their positions. Which is why Dems are always in the Bubble.

Posted by: McA on February 7, 2006 at 2:29 AM | PERMALINK

Why refuse to have Gonzales sworn in before Congress if the intention of the majority party were not to foster outright fraud?

Posted by: cld on February 7, 2006 at 2:44 AM | PERMALINK

Poorer people are also less likely to vote than richer people.

Posted by: jefff on February 7, 2006 at 2:53 AM | PERMALINK

Can any of this come from the fact that the low-income states are mostly red states, and in a lot of red states the poor are disproportionately black, and hence not hugely likely to vote Republican?

Posted by: Shoshana on February 7, 2006 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

A modest suggestion explaining the discrepancy -- in red states wealthy people are predominately entrepreneurs, in blue states they are predominately rent seekers, i,e,, doctors therapists, consultants, headquarters staff for Fortune 500, or rentiers.

Posted by: wks on February 7, 2006 at 6:53 AM | PERMALINK

Ian Frazier had a piece in a recent New Yorker discussing how Bush voting propensity and local feral hog populations are correlated.

Posted by: bob h on February 7, 2006 at 7:37 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps the poor whites are more willing to support parties that ignore poor blacks because they see under affirmitive action and post OJ Simpson, more threat to them from blacks than from the rich?

Poor people in the middle east vote on race lines, why not Americans? Perhaps gaining too much off the black vote is how to lose the poor white vote.

Posted by: McA on February 7, 2006 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

One would have hoped that some of these acamdemics would be sufficiently appreciative that their work is receiving wider attention, that they wouldn't take gratuitous shots at some of the comments these non-academics post.

Posted by: Rich on February 7, 2006 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe it's more about religion. There's a huge difference in Christianity between the north and south, between the high church and the low church. It's what bushie and the republicans get.

Southern churches don't emphasize social justice, helping the poor, a social conscience, duty to the poor and the helpless, respect for the environment in the way the high church does. It's more about the OT than NT. About personal, sexual sins rather than the duty to love, forgive, serve.

Southern rich are probably more likely to be Baptist than Episcopal and view their wealth as duly deserved and resulting from God's favor with no obligation to share or concern themselves with the plight of others, to be conformist and unquestioning and therefore Republican.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 7, 2006 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

While this red state - blue state discussion is interesting, there is also a significant distinction between red rural areas and blue urban areas within states.

Oregon and Washington are considered to be blue states. This is because of the blue urban areas of Portland and Eugene in Oregon and Seattle in Washington - There are other blue pockets in both states, however, the rural areas in each state are very red. Many of the towns in the rural areas tend to be two tiered economically. An example is Aberdeen, WA - the wealthy live up on the hill, while the workers live in the flats. Remember looking for real estate there a few years back and being told, "Oh, you don't want to live the flats with 'those' folks."

Another state of interest is Pennsylvania, described by James Carville as having Philadelphia and Pittsburg on each end with Alabama in the middle.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 7, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Rich,

I am very appreciative of the comments in Kevin's blog. This is an audience that is usually difficult to reach. As we say in our paper (and our blog), we have noticed some interesting patterns in the data, and we think many interpretations are possible. We welcome feedback by others (and, of course, you're as free to disagree with anything in our paper, as we are to disagree with posted blog comments. It's good to put the ideas out there for discussion.

Posted by: Andrew Gelman on February 7, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

It's good to put the ideas out there for discussion.

Generally, Andrew, when someone knocks your argument on its ass and reveals you to be shilling for a particular cause with skewed data, the best defense is to secure yourself in your underground bunker and keep a lot of Tupperware on hand.

Not that that's what you're doing--but as one of those hard to reach people, I tend to believe that there's a nugget of truth from people who comment as opposed to those from people who desperately defend themselves from being accused of that whole shilling thing.

As in, I believe little ole Jim when he says there's a bit of a divide between rich and poor where he lives. If he's seen it, I tend to go with his analysis.

As for Mr. Sailer, well. We know what he shills for.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 7, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

With the democratic party being led by DLCers like Kevin and such, what appeal do they have to the poor when they have the same economic message as republicans?

Posted by: derek g on February 7, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

From Chrissy, Southern churches don't emphasize social justice, helping the poor, a social conscience, duty to the poor and the helpless, respect for the environment in the way the high church does. It's more about the OT than NT. About personal, sexual sins rather than the duty to love, forgive, serve

Southern churches largely don't emphasize social justice promoted by government. However, it is just libel to write that they don't help the poor and helpless, or encourage their congregations to do so as a matter of moral correctness.

I am about as far from being religious as it is possible to be, but when I read the comments here and on other blogs about churchgoers, it is very amusing to see how clueless some of you are.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 7, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Yancey, do not deliberately mischaracterize what I wrote. I wrote the southern low church does not emphasize social justice to the extent that northern high church does either by the individual or the government. It is true that southern churches don't tell people not to help others. Duh. But, the southern white church is not exactly well known for its commitment or concern regarding social justice either for race or class.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 7, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

You are correct, I did mischaracterize your statement a bit, but even then, Chrissy, you would be wrong. The high churches promote giving into the high church itself, most of which have large bureaucracies that are supported by this giving. The churches of the south have much less of this, though they do have some of it. I have known people who attended such churches in the near south, in Georgia, and even here in Connecticut. They donate prodigiously of their money and time. To imply that they do less than the Catholics or Episcopalians, for example, is a libel.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 7, 2006 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

The churches of the south have much less of this, though they do have some of it.

Yancey, I'll give you a pass on smaller churches--very active in the South.

But come on--the South is the home of the MegaChurch and In God We Trust Incorporated. Drive around Atlanta or Dallas or Nashville--you can't help but see that God's work on Earth involves a fair amount of square footage under quite an expansive roof.

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 7, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Yes yancey it's true many southerners give prodigiously of their money and time to churches. In fact, I recently saw a teevee preacher here in NC asking people to send in great buckets of money and he would sent 'em a piece of green cloth that he had blessed and then they too would be blessed with $$$ and success. Betcha he got plenty money for those pieces of cloth.

More amusing trolls, please.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 7, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy,

Never been to NC--do you have Megachurches there, too?

Posted by: Pale Rider on February 7, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

I see, Chrissy, that you really have no desire to understand why Democrats can't win over rural voters. You and others have absolutely no clue what motivates people to vote Republican rather than vote for Democrats. Instead you explain by asserting that Republicans are more heartless, and others like to think Republicans are just more racist. Your perception is no better than that of the right which thinks Democrats traitors for opposing the war in Iraq- both perceptions are complete delusions- delusions seemingly propagated by a desire for higher self esteem. I simply don't understand this kind of thinking- or lack of it, to be more accurate.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 7, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider, can't really answer about the NC megachurches. Just moved here from VA and belong to a mainstream religion. The megachurches do seem to be a function of the well off suburbs and the area we live in now seems to have more poverty than well off suburbs.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 7, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."

-- John Kenneth Galbraith

Let's see, which side's money is being seized, by force, in much greater proportion, to be distributed mostly to the other side?

Oh, right, those "selfish" Republicans. How dare they want to keep their own money? Don't they realize everyone else has just as much right to their property as they do?

Posted by: TallDave on February 7, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

TallDave,

Well now its awfully convenient to call it 'their' money and then ignore the contribution everybody else had in creating it.

I tell you what. I hear that in the libertarian paradise of Afghanistan you can earn all the money you are capable of and no one will take a dime.

Try it for a year and report back.

Posted by: Tripp on February 7, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

As for any message to take from these numbers? Far from being a disadvantage, the Dems culturally liberal positions are an advantage in blue states, helping to secure the votes of wealthy professionals who used to consider the GOP a viable alternative.

However, in the red states, Dems should be focusing on economic issues and soft pedaling the cultural ones. The data would probablty indicate that in red states, the marginal swing voter is lower-middle or middle income (with low income votes going to the Dems and upper-middle and high income votes going GOP). Those voters right now are voting against the "latte rich liberals" who the GOP pedals as a hostile elite. Dems have to get to vote against the rich conservatives exploiting them in their own backyard.
Posted by: Michael Pine on February 6, 2006 at 3:39 PM

Therein lies the problem, Michael. Where does the national media emanate from? Blue states. Is it any wonder, then, that the national Democratic message appears to focus on social rather than economic issues?

That's why if I were the national Democratic party, I would tell my candidates to publicly shut up about abortion and gay marriage and instead concentrate on issues that will win back the White House -- and the only way that will happen is by galvanizing the poor in red states, not the professional crowd in the blue.

Posted by: Vincent on February 7, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Then I apologize, Andrew. My bad.

Posted by: Rich on February 8, 2006 at 3:40 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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