It's Not the Cities, Stupid

I just returned an hour or so ago from the AFF rountable of Bush’s mandate. Interestingly, because it was a highly conservative panel, Bush got absolutely ripped to shreds for his fiscal profligacy and total abandonment of anything resembling a traditional free-market conservative philsophy of governance. (Yet, other than the one Brit, I fear that they all voted for him anyway. Why?)

Anyway, by far the most interesting point of the evening was made by Adrian Wooldridge of the Economist and co-author of Right Nation who reported that areas with high economic growth predominantly voted for Bush and areas with low growth voted predominantly for Kerry. There are, of course, exceptions, but that was the clear trend. Wooldridge said he’s got a piece coming out on this in the next Economist, which I now look forward to.

So, it may not really be a town and country thing, but a low-growth/high-growth thing. Democrats succeed in crowded havens of economic stagnation, like San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia and so forth. While Bush did pretty well in high growth cities — I guess places like Phoenix, Dallas, Charlotte, Atlanta. I have no idea how the causation goes–whether certain cities have low growth because they’re so liberal, or so liberal because they’re stagnating, or some reciprocal thing, or something else. But, either way, it looks to screw up the Stranger’s Big Idea of the liberal Urban Archipelago.

Look for the Economist piece.

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center