Fueled by the simplicity of red state-blue state election maps, some pundits conclude that America is experiencing a landmark shift in traditional political allegiances. They see poor, working-class voters leaving the Democratic Party to become "NASCAR Republicans," while wealthier voters are joining an increasingly elite group of liberal, limousine-driving "Latte Democrats."
Not so, suggests David K. Park, Ph.D., an assistant professor of political science in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and co-author of a new study of how income influences state-by-state voting patterns.
"The novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald once proclaimed that the rich 'are very different than you or me,' and our study suggests that he was right, at least when it comes to voting patterns in some of our poorer Southern and Midwestern states," says Park.
Titled "Rich State, Poor State, Red State, Blue State, What's the Matter With Connecticut?" and funded by the National Science Foundation, the study has sparked lively debate in political blogs since presented at the Midwest Political Science Association conference.