Richard Florida claims that the economic crisis has “deepened America’s conservative drift – a trend which is most pronounced in its least well off, least educated, most blue collar, most economically hard-hit states”:
Class continues to play a substantial role. Conservative political affiliation is strongly positively correlated with the percentage of a state’s workforce in blue-collar occupations (.73), and highly negatively correlated with the proportion of the workforce engaged in knowledge-based professional and creative work (-.61). Both are also associated with the tilt toward conservatism in the past year. States with more conservatives are considerably less affluent than those with more liberals. Conservative political affiliation is highly negatively correlated with state income levels (-.73) and even more so with average hourly earnings (- .77). This is in line with the findings of Andrew Gelman’s Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State, which finds that while rich voters favor Republicans, rich states favor Democrats.
Ed Kilgore questions Florida’s approach:
If you look at the Gallup data on which Florida’s entire “analysis” (mainly just a charting of ideological self-identification by state) rests, it certainly doesn’t show any dramatic recent rightward trend. The percentage of Americans self-identifying as “conservative” since 1992 has varied from a low of 36% to a high of 40% (a high it reached in 2004, before dropping to 37% in 2008). As it happens, the percentage of Americans (again, according to Gallup) self-identifying as “liberal” has also gone up 4% since 1992 (from 17% to 21%). The percentage self-identifying as “moderates” has, accordingly, drifted down from 43% in 1992 to 35% in 2011, though the number was only two points higher in 2007 and 2008.
If you want a simple explanation of this very small trend, it’s pretty obvious: the increasing ideological rigidity of one of America’s two major political parties, along with the media infrastructure supporting it.
Via The Daily Dish.