What Determines Differences in Political Party Preference Among States in America?
Anyone who has ever participated in an election or follows politics has most likely observed a dramatic difference in political ideologies from state to state in America. During presidential elections we often see images of the United States broken into blue and red sections for each states political party preference. This poses the question on every electoral candidates mind, what factors contribute to a state generally voting to the left and vice versa?
Political candidates and their party campaigners employ numerous strategies each year to change our political view, whether it is Democratic or Republican. However, while some of these tactics might work, most of us do not gain our political opinions from a campaign scheme. Rather through the various environmental factors we grow up in our political philosophies begin to formulate. Although it is nearly impossible to identify the key contributors to a person’s political beliefs, distinguishing the central determinants to a general populations political ideology is critical. It is crucial for not only political campaigners and analysts, but also the American public, that we understand how voting choices are determined and thus why our President is chosen over another candidate. In the next few pages I will be conducting a statistical analysis using multiple regression to determine what factors go into a states general political party preference.
The determinants of political party preference for a single person, state or a general region have been studied extensively not only in the United States but also across the world. Our nation is intrigued by the political ideology differences that appear among people of diverse races, demographics and incomes. Not only is it important to recognize these variables that may affect a party preference, but there is also a need to determine which of these variables hold the most weight. In 2007, the Quarterly Journal of Political Science published a research paper examining the validity of the recent trend of richer states voting Democratic. Similar to my own statistical research, the authors used multiple regression analysis to determine why richer states generally voted Democratic using various predictors such as age, race and income. They also delved into what political party individual voters generally leaned towards, a topic I did not cover. It was determined that within each state, richer residents generally voted Republican, but states with higher incomes (seen in my own variable of income) gave more support to Democrats. This journal also measured how race affected the political party preference of a state. They concluded hat “half of the pattern (poorer voters support Democrats) is explained by race: African-Americans mostly live in poorer states and themselves tend to be poorer and vote for Democrats”. This conclusion parallels with my own results in which an increase in white population causes an increase in Republican voters (Gelman, 2007). Another research analysis similar to my own, published in the Presidential Studies Quarterly, again used multiple regression to compare the voting decisions of Southern and non-Southern voters. My own regression analysis was conducted much differently using party preference from each state as my Y variable rather than from a specific region. The two authors used two regression equations, rather than one, in order to generate an individual analysis for two Y variables; Southern voters and non-Southern voters. They then compared the matching predictors for each equation to determine how Southern and non-Southern voters differ in voting determinants such as gender, race and age (Shields, 2008). A final piece of literature that corresponds with my own analysis of statewide political party preference was conducted by The Bay Area Center for Voting...
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