Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 2 > Issue 4

Rich State, Poor State, Red State, Blue State: What's the Matter with Connecticut?

  • Andrew Gelman 1
  • Boris Shor 2
  • Joseph Bafumi 3
  • David Park 4

[1]Andrew Gelman, Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science, Columbia University, USA, gelman@stat.columbia.edu [2]Boris Shor, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago, USA [3]Joseph Bafumi, Department of Government, Dartmouth College, USA [4]David Park, Department of Political Science, George Washington University, USA


Availability heuristic, Ecological fallacy, Hierarchical model, Income and voting, Multilevel model, Presidential elections, Public opinion, Secret weapon, Varying-slope model

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Table of contents

Democrats and Republicans, Rich, and Poor: Two Perspectives
Studying the Relation Between Income and Vote Preferences
Modeling State-Level Differences in Individual-Level Patterns

Quarterly Journal of Political Science

(Vol 2, Issue 4, 2007, pp 345-367)

DOI: 10.1561/100.00006026


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 individuallevel 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.

Key methods used in this research are: (1) plots of repeated cross-sectional analyses, (2) varying-intercept, varying-slope multilevel models, and (3) a graph that simultaneously shows within-group and between-group patterns in a multilevel model. These statistical tools help us understand patterns of variation within and between states in a way that would not be possible from classical regressions or by looking at tables of coefficient estimates.

Data Files

Replication Data | 100.00006026_supp.zip (ZIP),

This file contains the data that is required to replicate the data on your own system.

DOI: 10.1561/100.00006026_supp