Money and partisanship

Of all the post-election analysis I've read in the past week, I found this economic analysis from Slate's Daniel Gross to be among the most interesting.  Basically, among rich folks in the Northeast and West Coast, Democrats clobbered Republicans.  Among rich folks in the rest of the country, Democrats lost to Republicans by much smaller margins than typical:

Yesterday, the poll for the House vote in the East
showed that the 25 percent of the electorate making over $100,000 went
big for Democrats overall, 57-42, compared with a 49-48 margin in 2004…

A similar dynamic could be seen in the House vote in the West,
where Democrats won the high-income demographics by smaller majorities:
53-45 in the $100,000 to $150,000 slice; 50-46 in the $150,000 to
$200,000 segment, and 52-48 in the over $200,000 category. Again, that
represents a big shift from 2004, when Republicans won the $100,000 to $150,000 group 51-48 and took the over $200,000 group 54-46…

In the South, where households with more than $100,000 in annual income were 23 percent of the voters, Republicans also saw significant erosion.
The $100,000 to $150,000 group went Republican 59-39, the $150,000 to
$200,000 crowd went Republican 67-33, and the over $200,000 set voted
Republican 58-38. But that's a big comedown from 2004

On a nationwide basis, the wealthy still vote Republican. But not by much. According to the 2006 exit poll,
on a nationwide basis, of all homes making more than $100,000,
Republican House candidates received a 51-47 majority, and among those
making more than $200,000, Republicans racked up a 53-46 majority.
Here's the irony: As the number and relative weight of the wealthy
grow, their incomes rising in part because Republicans have cut taxes
on their incomes and capital gains, they're proving themselves less
likely to vote their economic interests.

I found this particularly interesting as in my home state of Virginia, the very wealthy DC suburbs were largely responsible for Webb's victory over George Allen. My childhood home of Fairfax County, VA, now one of the wealthiest counties in the country (not that my family had much to do with that), went for Webb 59-40.  For one thing, I've always thought of myself as more a Northerner than a Southerner.  The South stops at Fredericksburg.  The fact that Northern Virginia's voting patterns more closely resemble those of the Northeast than of the South, would seem to buttress my contention. 

A widely-circulated, but as far as I know, unpulished, political science manuscript entitled: “Rich state, poor state, red state, blue state: What's the matter with Connecticut?” makes the very interesting finding that basically in poor states, income is still strongly correlated with partisanship and vote, but in wealthy states, there is only a very small statistical relationship between wealth and vote choice.  As to why?  Perhaps I need to read the aforementioned paper– they don't give the answer in the abstract– and I can be pretty lazy.  Regardless, I think this paper and the Slate article present very interesting evidence for the way in which state political culture still matters quite a bit.  Politically speaking (and surely in many other ways as well), rich people in Mississippi and rich people in Connecticut are quite different. 

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