Monday, August 20, 2007

Inequality And Voting In U.S.A.

The following figure is from Jeffrey M. Stonecash's "The Income Gap" (Political Science and Politics, July 2006):
Voting Differences Greater When Class Divisions Rise
The upper line is the Gini coefficient, multiplied by 100 to fall on a scale ranging from zero to 100. The higher the Gini coefficient, the moe unequal income is distributed. Notice how it has an upward trend after 1972. The income distribution has been becoming more unequal in the United States for a generation.

The difference is, roughly, the difference between the percentage of the poorest 15% voting Democratic and the percentage of the richest 5% voting Democratic. A higher value here shows that the rich and poor have more different voting patterns.

With the exceptions of 2000 and 2004, the electorate seems to increasingly perceive the Democratic party as for the less affluent as income becomes more unevenly distributed. If you want to live like a Republican, vote Democratic. (Stonecash explains the break in 2000 and 2004 on exceptional circumstances - Clinton's impeachment and Iraq. I wonder if it may have something to do with increasing media concentration and dishonesty. An overwhelming proportion of the mass media in the U.S. is owned by a handful of companies.)

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