Myths and Realities of American Political Geography
Edward L. Glaeser
Harvard University - John F. Kennedy School of Government, Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Bryce Adam Ward
Harvard University - Faculty of Arts and Sciences; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 2100
KSG Working Paper No. RWP06-007
The division of America into red states and blue states misleadingly suggests that states are split into two camps, but along most dimensions, like political orientation, states are on a continuum. By historical standards, the number of swing states is not particularly low, and America's cultural divisions are not increasing. But despite the flaws of the red state/blue state framework, it does contain two profound truths. First, the heterogeneity of beliefs and attitudes across the United States is enormous and has always been so. Second, political divisions are becoming increasingly religious and cultural. The rise of religious politics is not without precedent, but rather returns us to the pre-New Deal norm. Religious political divisions are so common because religious groups provide politicians the opportunity to send targeted messages that excite their base.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 48
Keywords: Economics - Economic and Econometric Theory, Electoral Politics, Political Science, Press and Public Policyworking papers series
Date posted: January 10, 2006
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