Boris presented our paper on the topic at the Midwest Political Science meeting last weekend. Here’s the presentation (we’re still working on the paper).
Here’s the abstract for the paper:
For decades, the Democrats have been viewed as the party of the poor with the Republicans representing the rich. In recent years, however, a reverse pattern has been seen, with Democrats showing strength in the richer “blue” states in the Northeast and West, and Republicans dominating in the “red” states in the middle of the country. Through multilevel analysis of individual-level survey data and county- and state-level demographic and electoral data, we reconcile these patterns. We find that there has indeed been a trend toward richer areas supporting the Democrats–but within states and counties, and overall, the Democrats retain the support of the poorer voters. This pattern has confused many political commentators into falsely believing that Republicans represent poorer voters than Democrats.
And here are some cool quotes that illustrate the ambiguities of the relation between income and political preference:
I never said all Democrats are saloon-keepers. What I said is that all saloon-keepers are Democrats. – Horace Greeley, 1860
Pat doesn’t have a mink coat. But she does have a respectable Republican cloth coat. – Richard Nixon, 1952
I come from Huntington, a small farming community in Indiana. I
had an upbringing like many in my generation–a life built around
family, public school, Little League, basketball and church on Sunday. My brother and I shared a room in our two-bedroom house. – Dan Quayle, 1992
Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent
household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald’s-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas. — Toni Morrison, 1998
Like upscale areas everywhere, from Silicon Valley to Chicago’s
North Shore to suburban Connecticut, Montgomery County supported the
Democratic ticket in last year’s presidential election, by a margin
of 63 percent to 34 percent. – David Brooks, 2001
A lot of Bush’s red zones can be traced to wealthy enclaves or sun-belt suburbs where tax cuts are king. – Matt Bai, 2001
But in the Ipsos-Reid surveys, 38 percent of voters in “strong Bush” counties said that they had household incomes below $30,000, while 7 percent said that their families earned at least $100,000. In “strong Gore” counties, by contrast, only 29 percent of voters pegged their household income below $30,000, while 14 percent said that it was above $100,000. – James Barnes, 2002
P.S. Typo in first sentence of this entry fixed (thanks to Jody’s comment).