Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Aug 19th 2009 at 6:37pm UTC

Economics and Ideology

Political scientist Andrew Gelman has some great graphs on the connection between economics and ideology. Comparing income levels, ideology, and party identification, he and collaborator Daniel Lee found the connection between income and party identification was strongest among conservative Republicans. But the relationship was “close to zero” for liberals. Liberal Dems were spread across all income groups, while conservative Dems had much lower income levels.

My reading is that class continues to play a considerable role in American politics: With the exception of liberal Dems who draw from across the spectrum of classes, the parties and their key factions increasingly represent class blocs. Gelman notes that the connection between economic status and party/ideology underpins America’s increasingly polarized policy debates. He’s right. In the current zero-sum economic climate, it’s only likely to get worse.

One Response to “Economics and Ideology”

  1. Michael Wells Says:

    The charts are pretty small, but it looks like all of the liberal groups (D, I, R) are relatively evenly spread across the income spectrum. Liberal Democrats being the most income-neutral.

    The opposite is true for Conservatives, with conservative D’s bunching at low income and conservative R’s tending towards upper income. Moderate conservatives are comparatively flat compared to the other two.

    It would be interesting to see the same kind of political graphs charted against education. I’d guess it would be pretty much the same pattern — liberal D’s evenly spread, conservative D’s at the low end and conservative R’s at the high end.

    Finally, the same chart against age. Again, I’d guess liberal D’s evenly spread, and conservative D’s tending older. I’m not sure how conservative R’s would spread for age.