[Rushtalk] The Growing Divide: Red States vs. Blue States

Carl Spitzer {C Juno} cwsiv at juno.com
Tue Jul 5 08:59:25 MDT 2022

 Seems I was not alone in postulating a divide of the land mass because
there can no longer be a union of communist and freedom.  
And before you know who whines about the date of the article I just
found this one its not from some archive.


The Growing Divide: Red States vs. Blue States

      * Andy Green
      * February 21, 2020 
In a recent post, I introduced an interactive dashboard that explores
the relationship between party control of state government and a variety
of well-being metrics at the state level. Of the seven metrics included
in the dashboard, states with more years of Democratic control were
associated with better outcomes on four of the metrics (Median Household
Income*, Uninsured Rate†, Bachelor’s Degree + Rate**, and GDP Per
Capita†), while there wasn’t a statistically significant relationship
for the other three metrics. However, the dashboard doesn’t show just
how much these relationships change over the 20 years the dataset spans


A Tool for Understanding the Relationship

To explore this dynamic, I introduce a dashboard examining how the
relationship between political party control of a state’s government and
the following well-being metrics has evolved over the last 20 years:

      * Median Household Income
      * Poverty Rate
      * Uninsured Rate
      * No High School Diploma Rate
      * Post-Secondary Education Rate (Bachelor’s Degree +)
      * Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Per Capita
      * Unemployment Rate



The dashboard classifies each state’s government in a given year into
one of three categories – Democratic-controlled, Republican-controlled,
or split government control. A state is only considered to be under
either Democratic or Republican control if that party controls all three
primary components of the state’s government – the governorship, the
state house, and the state senate – also known as a “trifecta.” If the
state has any combination of political party control other than a
trifecta, it is placed in the split government category for that year.

The dashboard shows the average performance of all states within each of
the party control categories over the last 20 years, with the dropdown
on the right toggling between metrics. Note that for some of the
metrics, lower numbers are better (e.g. Uninsured Rate), while for other
metrics, higher numbers are better (e.g. GDP Per Capita).


What the Dashboard Can Tell Us

The dashboard illustrates the growing divide between “red states” and
“blue states” over the last 20 years. While Republican-controlled states
have stronger average performance on four of the seven metrics at the
beginning of the timeframe, Democratic-controlled states have stronger
average performance on six of the seven metrics by the end of the
timeframe. The unemployment rate is the only metric in which
Republican-controlled states have stronger average performance by the
end of the 20-year period.

Three metrics flip from having stronger average performance among
Republican-controlled states at the beginning of the timeframe to having
stronger average performance among Democratic-controlled states by the
end of the timeframe – Poverty Rate, No High School Diploma Rate, and
Post-Secondary Education Rate (Bachelor’s Degree +).

For example, in 1999, Republican-controlled states were outperforming
Democratic-controlled states on the poverty rate by 1.1 percentage
points. However, by 2018, Democratic-controlled states were
outperforming Republican-controlled states on average by 2.8 percentage
points, a 3.9 percentage point swing.

In addition, there were three other metrics in which the gap between
Democratic and Republican-controlled states widened even further over
the course of the timeframe – Median Household Income, Uninsured Rate,
and GDP Per Capita. For example, in 1999, Democratic-controlled states
had higher median household incomes on average by a margin of $1,819.
However, by 2018, the gap was up to $12,010, an increase of over


Limitations and Future Analysis

To be sure, this dashboard is not intended to imply a causal effect;
correlation is not causation. Democratic policies may have driven
stronger median household income performance amongst
Democratic-controlled states, but it’s also possible that wealthier
states started to elect more Democrats. Further, since the states
comprising each category can change from year to year, there’s no way to
draw any conclusions about a potential causal relationship based on what
we see here.

In a future post, I will start to dig into whether any such causal
relationships exist. I will analyze how each of these metrics evolves
over the course of trifecta control by either party, and compare it to
how those metrics evolve in states that aren’t under trifecta control by
that party. In other words, I’ll seek to isolate the effect that party
control of state government has on these various well-being metrics.


† indicates significance at p < 0.1

* indicates significance at p < 0.5

** indicates significance at p < 0.01


Note: Edited on June 10, 2020 to provide more detail on statistical


You can find the data and code used in this analysis here.

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