Cato Book Forum: Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do

Attention D.C.-area locals!

This Thursday I’ll be moderating a Cato book forum on Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do by Columbia political scientist and stats wizard (and blogger) Andrew Gelman. Andrew and co-authors David Park, Boris Shor, Joseph Bafumi, and Jeronimo Cortinaare are responsible for the great paper [pdf] that asked “what’s the matter with Connecticut?” and this is the book length treatment of their fascinating findings. If you’re interested in understanding the state of the art in the geography and demographics of American public opinion as we head down the final stretch of the presidential race (and who isn’t!), this is a book, and a book forum, you shouldn’t miss.

Commentators will include public opinion expert Michael P. MacDonald, from Brookings and GMU, and Cato VP for research, Brink Lindsey, author of The Age of Abundance: How Prosperity Transformed America’s Politics and Culture, and Gelman will be joined by co-author Boris Shor.

Register here.

BONUS: From Red State, Blue State, some myths and facts about the red and the blue:

Myth: The rich vote based on economics, the poor vote “God, guns, and gays.”
Fact: Church attendance predicts Republican voting much more among rich than poor.

Myth: A political divide exists between working-class “red America” and rich “blue America.”
Fact: Within any state, more rich people vote Republican. The real divide is between higher-income voters in red and blue states.

Myth: Rich people vote for the Democrats.
Fact: George W. Bush won more than 60 percent of high-income voters.

Myth: Democrats are the party of the poor, Republicans are the party of the rich.
Fact: Rich people are getting richer in Democratic states. Incomes at the lower end have been increasing faster in Republican states.

Myth: Kansas votes Republican because its low-income voters can’t stand the Democrats’ 1960s-style values.
Fact: Kansas has been a Republican state for over 50 years, and rich Kansans vote much more Republican than middle-income and poor voters in the state.

Myth: Class divisions in voting are less in America than in European countries, which are sharply divided between left and right.
Fact: Rich and poor differ more strongly in their voting pattern in the United States than in most European countries.

Myth: Religion is particularly divisive in American politics.
Fact: Religious and secular voters differ no more in America than in France, Germany, Sweden, and many other European countries.

Register here.

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center