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The Forum

A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics

Ed. by Disalvo, Daniel / Stonecash, Jeffrey

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Red State/Blue State Divisions in the 2012 Presidential Election

1 / Andrew Gelman2 / Boris Shor3

1Department of Statistics, Harvard University, 1 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

2Department of Statistics, Columbia University, Amsterdam Ave. at 122 St., New York, NY 10027, USA

3University of Chicago and University of California, Berkeley

Corresponding author: Avi Feller, Department of Statistics, Harvard University, 1 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Citation Information: The Forum. Volume 10, Issue 4, Pages 127–131, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, ISSN (Print) 2194-6183, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/forum-2013-0014, February 2013

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The so-called “red/blue paradox” is that rich individuals are more likely to vote Republican but rich states are more likely to support the Democrats. Previous research argued that this seeming paradox could be explained by comparing rich and poor voters within each state – the difference in the Republican vote share between rich and poor voters was much larger in low-income, conservative, middle-American states like Mississippi than in high-income, liberal, coastal states like Connecticut. We use exit poll and other survey data to assess whether this was still the case for the 2012 Presidential election. Based on this preliminary analysis, we find that, while the red/blue paradox is still strong, the explanation offered by Gelman et al. no longer appears to hold. We explore several empirical patterns from this election and suggest possible avenues for resolving the questions posed by the new data.

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