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Fun With Meaningless Data

November 24th, 2007 · 4 Comments

Lots of blogosphere buzz over a recent Heritage study purporting to find that Democrats are the real “party of the rich”—which is sort of odd given that, except at the absolute megabillions tippy-top of the income distribution, it’s well established that income and voting Republican are positively correlated. Until you look at what they’re actually claiming. Turns out it’s a lot of things like this:

Democrats now control the majority of the nation’s wealthiest congressional jurisdictions. More than half of the wealthiest households are concentrated in the 18 states where Democrats control both Senate seats.

Dems tend to do better in more densely populated urban areas, so it’s not exactly a shock to learn you’ll find more wealthy households in those areas. You’ll find more households, period in those areas: That’s what “densely populated” means. Those 18 states may have over half the wealthiest households, but they also have over 41 percent of the total U.S. population. And while places like New York City may have immense concentrations of the hyper-rich, that doesn’t mean they’re the Democratic base: The very wealthy are a small minority of voters pretty much everywhere.

As for Congressional districts, is it all that surprising to learn that the party that controls 53 percent of all House seats also controls a majority of the “wealthiest congressional jurisdictions?” They’re presumably the poorer-wealthiest jurisdictions, though, since eight of the ten richest Congressional districts are represented by Republicans, despite all being around major metropolitan areas.

Tags: Horse Race Politics



4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Adam // Nov 25, 2007 at 10:04 am

    I agree. But this study fits into the media’s current narrative its grooming about old party norms turning on their heads, so you can understand their glee in banging this one out on their keyboard. This is very much a “damn-the-facts-let’s-run-with-it” kind of story.

  • 2 Gil // Nov 25, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    All this seems to show is that many wealthy families care less about being represented in congress by Republicans than they do about other reasons to live in a particular area.

    They could “Vote with their feet” if they wanted to. But, apparently, they don’t want to.

    This doesn’t seem like big news to me, but I guess it’s something.

  • 3 AemJeff // Nov 25, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    This isn’t about “the media.” It’s about Heritage and cynical attempts to control the narrative regardless of what might actually be the case.

  • 4 shecky // Nov 25, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    Even if the Heritage article were factual that the rich were overwhelmingly Democrats, I don’t see how it would make any difference. As a club to batter the Democratic Party, it’s pretty weak. It would seem an attempt to provoke some kind of class warfare on the part of Heritage.