Inequality and Voting

David Frum had a pretty interesting article in The New York Times Magazine on inequality issues, but it’s important to read Andrew Gelman for a corrective on some of the basic facts. In particular, Frum writes “As a general rule, the more unequal a place is, the more Democratic; the more equal, the more Republican” and also says something similar in his book. Compare that to this chart:

Qualitatively, it’s hard to see what’s going on here exactly in terms of partisanship. Quantitatively, “the Democrats’ vote share by state is slightly correlated with income inequality, but much less than the correlation with income itself.” High levels of in-state inequality seem to be correlated with high levels of immigration (I assume that part of the story is immigration causing inequality and part of the story is that the immigrants are going to places where there are very rich people and, therefore, jobs to be had servicing them) which, in turn, is only pretty loosely associated with Democrats doing well.