Public opinion

The red-state, blue-state war is happening in the upper half of the income distribution

Andrew Gelman Dec 7 '10

As we said in Red State, Blue State, it’s not the Prius vs. the pickup truck, it’s the Prius vs. the Hummer. Here’s the graph:


Or, as Ross Douthat put it in an op-ed yesterday:

This means that a culture war that’s often seen as a clash between liberal elites and a conservative middle America looks more and more like a conflict within the educated class — pitting Wheaton and Baylor against Brown and Bard, Redeemer Presbyterian Church against the 92nd Street Y, C. S. Lewis devotees against the Philip Pullman fan club.

Our main motivation for doing this work was to change how the news media think about America’s political divisions, and so it’s good to see our ideas getting mainstreamed and moving toward conventional wisdom.

P.S. Here’s the time series of graphs showing how the pattern that we and Douthat noticed, of a battle between coastal states and middle America that is occurring among upper-income Americans, is relatively recent, having arisen in the Clinton years:


If you’re interested in the topic, you’re in luck–we wrote a whole book about it!