- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; Expanded edition (December 27, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691143935
- ISBN-13: 978-0691143934
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 22 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do - Expanded Edition Expanded Edition
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Gelman and a group of fellow political scientists crunch numbers and draw graphs, arriving at a picture that refutes the [idea] . . . of poor red-staters voting Republican against their economic interests. Instead, Gelman persuasively argues, the poor in both red states and blue still mostly vote Democratic, and the rich, nationally speaking, overwhelmingly vote Republican.---Leo Carey, New Yorker
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
Andrew Gelman is professor of statistics and political science at Columbia University. His books include Teaching Statistics: A Bag of Tricks. He received the Presidents' Award in 2003, awarded each year to the best statistician under forty.
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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.
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Its an interesting attempt to examine conservative voting patterns across the country.Read more