Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Republican States Of America??

In a report that is sure break Cory Heidelberger's heart, Richard Florida asserts that the United States is becoming a more Republican nation.
Polling data by the Gallup Organization identifies the percentage of state voters who "lean Republican" or "lean Democratic," taking the partisan inclinations of self-declared political independents into account. Measured this way, Republican identification now tops 50 percent in six states: Utah (58 percent), Wyoming (57 percent), Idaho (56 percent), Kansas (50 percent), Nebraska (50 percent) and Alabama (50 percent). The number of states where 40 percent or more of voters lean Republican has doubled, rising from 17 in 2008 to 34 in 2011. In only one state, Hawaii, do less than 30 percent of voters lean Republican.
These changes seem to be tied to pessimism.
The percentage of Americans who say they lean Republican has increased in 47 of the 50 states, and it has grown by more than 5 percent in 20 of them. This shift has little to do with how Americans perceive the current condition of the economy. At bottom it reflects great cleavages of income, class, religion, and diversity that continue to divide Americans by state and region. Republicanism is most pronounced and is growing fastest among America's least well-off, most blue collar states with the bleakest futures. Democratic identification remains strongest in richer, better-educated, more-diverse, and more prosperous states. 
As someone who thinks the Murphy who coined Murphy's law was an optimist, I should be leaning Republican.  I obviously am not.

Florida's analysis also explains why South Dakota's political leaders seem to go out of their way to avoid attracting creative class jobs.
In a 180-degree shift from the great electoral realignment of the 1930s, the Republicans have increasingly become the party of blue-collar working class states. The transition to a knowledge-based economy has been spiky and uneven. De-industrialization and the consequent loss of high-paying manufacturing jobs has been concentrated in the Rustbelt; much of the Sunbelt has crashed along with its housing bubble. At the same time, the growth of knowledge and creative class jobs has been concentrated on the East and West Coasts and in college towns. Republican identification is highly positively associated with the percentage of the workforce in blue-collar occupations (.52, again up from 2008). Conversely, Republican affiliation is negatively associated with the proportion of the workforce engaged in knowledge-based and creative class work (-.39). Growing Republicanism reflects the highly uneven geography of work and class in America.

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