Are All Rich People Now Liberals?

So asks James Ledbetter in Slate.

And the answer is . . . No!

Here’s what happened in 2008:

OK, that’s how people vote. How bout party identification and ideology? Check these out:

And here it is, sliced a different way:

Of, if you want to see it in map form, check out this article (with Daniel and Yair).

P.S. A skeptic might comment that the above graphs, which are based on national poll data, only break down incomes to the top 5% or so. What about the truly rich. Here are my thoughts on the political attitudes of the super-rich.

P.P.S. Ledbetter actually makes some good points in his article, which is about the campaign contributions of rich Americans. The article relies on a recent book by David Callahan, which seems to echo the work of Tom Ferguson (cited in the above-linked blog entry), who’s tracked campaign contributions by industry over many years.

I think that Ferguson (and Callahan) are on to something important, and I’m glad that Ledbetter is thinking about the implications of these trends. I just think his headline is silly and unhelpful. And the fact that it got out there at all–I assume Ledbetter didn’t write the headline himself–is evidence that there is still a lot of confusion about income and voting in the news media.

About Andrew Gelman 26 Articles

Affiliation: Columbia University

Andrew Gelman is a professor of statistics and political science and director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University. He has received the Outstanding Statistical Application award from the American Statistical Association, the award for best article published in the American Political Science Review, and the Council of Presidents of Statistical Societies award for outstanding contributions by a person under the age of 40.

His books include Bayesian Data Analysis (with John Carlin, Hal Stern, and Don Rubin), Teaching Statistics: A Bag of Tricks (with Deb Nolan), Data Analysis Using Regression and Multilevel/Hierarchical Models (with Jennifer Hill), and, most recently, Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do (with David Park, Boris Shor, Joe Bafumi, and Jeronimo Cortina).

Andrew has done research on a wide range of topics, including: why it is rational to vote; why campaign polls are so variable when elections are so predictable; why redistricting is good for democracy; reversals of death sentences; police stops in New York City, the statistical challenges of estimating small effects; the probability that your vote will be decisive; seats and votes in Congress; social network structure; arsenic in Bangladesh; radon in your basement; toxicology; medical imaging; and methods in surveys, experimental design, statistical inference, computation, and graphics.

Visit: Andrew Gelman's Website

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