Yes, yes, I heard from Professor Gelman too — thank you, Jim. You have well and truly schooled me. And I was indeed writing impressionistically and rhetorically — saying I was taught that the Republican party was the party of the rich, and the Democrats the party of the common man, pure and simple. I was meaning to say: When I grew up, I realized it wasn’t so simple. And, yes, I was writing as a journalist and observer, not as a statistician. When I want to write less breezily and more scientifically — well, that will be pretty clear (I hope).
Now that Vermont is out of the way: Do you care to comment on the voting habits of the Manhattan rich?
Actually, I did point out that the wealthiest neighborhood of Manhattan has the highest proportion of Republicans. But there is more data to be found thanks to google, Who Are NYC’s Republicans?:
GOP members are much more affluent. About 31 percent of them have incomes above $75,000. This compares to only 16 percent of New Yorkers as a whole, according to an analysis of the raw data from a CBS-New York Times poll of New York City completed in June 2003. (Because the number of respondents is only 962, the results reported are approximate.)
Republicans are about half as likely to report that their financial situation has worsened recently–24 percent of Republicans say that, compare to 42 percent of all New Yorkers.
Republicans are more likely to own their own home (47 percent versus 30 percent.)
About three-quarters are white compared to less than half of the rest of the New York City population. Interestingly, though, there is as large a proportion of Republicans who are Hispanic (28 percent) as of New Yorkers in general.
Republicans are more likely to be between 45 and 64 years old than the population as a whole (37 percent versus 27 percent.), and just about as likely as the population as a whole to have kids living with them (35 percent.)
They are more like to identify with a religion, 81 percent compared to 76 percent. While 57 percent of New York City Republicans are Catholic, only 36 percent of non-Republican New Yorkers are Catholic; similarly 14 percent of Republicans they are Jewish compared to 8 percent of the rest of New Yorkers.
I quoted at length because this is obviously more than about income; there are other interacting factors here. But, the general point is still that when you modestly control for some variables like region or religion, Republicans tend to have more money than Democrats! It is more complex than saying Republicans are the party of the rich, but it is just wrong to pretend that the Democrats are the party of the rich while the Republicans are the party of the non-rich, unless you rig the game by filtering the population (e.g., compare Jews vs. Fundamentalist Christians, and just look at income & wealth, instead of controlling for religion and region). The old “myth” has more truth than the new myth. I don’t fault Jay Nordlinger for being unscientific, I fault him for being plainly wrong, and reinforcing misconceptions.
Here’s a map you can eyeball: