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Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do - Expanded Edition Paperback – Illustrated, Dec 27 2009
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On the night of the 2000 presidential election, Americans watched on television as polling results divided the nation's map into red and blue states. Since then the color divide has become symbolic of a culture war that thrives on stereotypes--pickup-driving red-state Republicans who vote based on God, guns, and gays; and elitist blue-state Democrats woefully out of touch with heartland values. With wit and prodigious number crunching, Andrew Gelman debunks these and other political myths.
This expanded edition includes new data and easy-to-read graphics explaining the 2008 election. Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State is a must-read for anyone seeking to make sense of today's fractured political landscape.
"Commentators on both the left and the right have theorized about why working-class Kansas farmers and latte-sipping Maryland suburbanites vote against their economic interests. . . . The real paradox, [Gelman] says, is that while rich states lean Democratic, rich people generally vote Republican; while poor states lean Republican, poor people generally vote Democratic."---Alan Cooperman, Washington Post Book World
"This is the Freakonomics-style analysis that every candidate and campaign consultant should read."---Robert Sommer, New York Observer
"Gelman works his way, state by state, to help us better understand the relationship of class, culture, and voting. The book is a terrific read and offers much insight into the changing electoral landscape."---Sudhir Venkatesh, Freakonomics blog
"[T]his book already analyzes far more data than do most. On that note, it is worth lauding another of this book's strengths: its rich graphical presentation of evidence. Its numerous figures often allow the reader to see the data and to draw one's own inferences, and they render the book accessible to those with little statistical training."---Gabriel S. Lenz, Public Opinion Quarterly
"Although the book is stronger on description than interpretation, it raises important questions and presents its findings in a clear and readable fashion that encourages replication, critique, and elaboration. . . . Red State, Blue State shows that much can be learned from applying serious quantitative analysis to popular ideas. It debunks popular misconceptions, but also reveals the limitations of most academic analyses."---David L. Weakliem, International Review of Modern Sociology
About the Author
- Publisher : Princeton University Press; Revised edition (Dec 27 2009)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 276 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0691143935
- ISBN-13 : 978-0691143934
- Item weight : 397 g
- Dimensions : 15.49 x 2.03 x 23.37 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #915,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #285 in Statistics
- #607 in Political Parties (Books)
- #15,954 in Political Science (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the authors
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That said, the second edition was published in 2010 and ending with the Obama election of 2008. Fascinating as it is, the book is crying out to be updated for the rest of the Obama elections and, most importantly for those of Trump and Biden.
Please, Prof. Gelman, do think of updating the book as a model of simply illustrated and explained political analysis.
Since the 2000 election and the near dead even split in the electorate, the "red-blue" divide has captivated politicos. The blue states voted for Gore and Kerry, and the red states put George W. Bush in the White House. What has amazed a few people is the fact that the poor states are the red states, which seemed to fly in the face of the storyline that the poor normally vote Democratic. Why do red-poor states - those states that actually take more money from the federal government than their inhabitants pay towards the federal government - vote Republican? Some, like Thomas Frank in "What's the Matter with Kansas?," suggested that poor folks were suckered into voting Republican because Party leaders hyped social issues (abortion, gay marriage) to get the poor on board, all the while ensuring tax cuts were passed for the benefit of the wealthy. It is intriguing to note that after the better part of 30 years of time in the White House, Republicans really haven't done a great job of passing conservative social legislation, but have done a fine job with tax cuts that have largely benefited the wealthy (the wealthy do, of course, pay most of the taxes). Well, Gelman and the rest rebut Frank by pointing out that the poor do indeed - in all states - vote more for the Democratic Party than do the wealthy. Again, that is the case even in red states. Granted, there is probably a higher proportion of poor folks in red states voting Republican than they do in blue states, but even in red states the poor are more likely to vote Democratic. It's the WEALTHY who are causing the red-blue divide. That is, the wealthy are more likely to defect from their financial interests, and they do so, obviously, in the blue states. Furthermore, it is the wealthy who are arguing over social policy, and the poor are sticking to their economic interests. Most importantly for the Democratic Party, Gelman and friends point out that, contrary to the arguments of the left, Democrats would not improve electoral outcomes by becoming more liberal. Doing so will only cause more moderates to leave the Democratic Party. Still, as any Democrat has should have learned, the winning strategy is not always the chosen strategy.
Regardless, "Red State, Blue State..." is an easy to read book with plenty of citations for any reader who wants to dig deeper into the theory, methodology, and articles of serious public opinion and voting behavior scholarship.
My biggest complaints about the book aren't too big. First, the early chapters were particularly choppy and almost read as cut-and-paste efforts. Thankfully the nuggets were interesting, but the overall themes were elusive. Second, for a short book, the price is a bit steep. Don't get me wrong: I love an easy to read short book, but don't charge me a big book price for it. Otherwise, a fine job on an important issue, which may be a little less relevant now with President-electObama's impressive 2008 victory. A few missteps by him, however, and we're right back to the 49-49 split with the increased likelihood of red state led Republican victories.
Occasionally I would have liked more information on the analysis techniques used, but I realize I'm probably in a minority.