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Red State Blue State in 2012

- July 22, 2013

Avi Feller, Boris Shor, and I write:

The so-called “red/blue paradox” is that rich individuals are more likely to vote Republican but rich states are more likely to support the Democrats. Previous research argued that this seeming paradox could be explained by comparing rich and poor voters within each state – the difference in the Republican vote share between rich and poor voters was much larger in low-income, conservative, middle-American states like Mississippi than in high-income, liberal, coastal states like Connecticut. We use exit poll and other survey data to assess whether this was still the case for the 2012 Presidential election. Based on this preliminary analysis, we find that, while the red/ blue paradox is still strong, the explanation offered by Gelman et al. no longer appears to hold. We explore several empirical patterns from this election and suggest possible avenues for resolving the questions posed by the new data.

I love that–“the explanation offered by Gelman et al. no longer appears to hold.” As I said to Boris, if someone’s going to shoot us down, I’d like that someone to be us.

Click through to the paper–we have lots of graphs. Not too many answers, but lots of questions.