How polarized is the American electorate? According to Fiorina et al’s “Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America” not very. Fiorina et al. do a wonderful job of laying out the claim that it is the elites that are polarized, not the electorate. So how ideologically different is a Republican rur’l Texan from an urban Democratic New Yawker? Here I plot the mean ideology (measured on a -1 to 1 scale with -1 being extremely liberal and 1 extremely conservative) for the US, rural Republican Texans and urban Democratic New Yorkers.
My co-blogger John Sides noted that “the liberal fair-trade coffee-drinking Per Se-dining New Yorker is closer to the US median than the conservative truck-drivin’ Toby Keith-lovin’ Texan.” This simple analysis does seem to call into question the perceived notion that red America is more authentically “American” than blue America, but we’ll explore this in more detail in some further posts.