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Health

How income, class, religion, etc. relate to political party

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanMarch 27, 2012 7:11 AM

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Update: There was a major coding error. I've rerun the analysis. No qualitative change. As is often the case a 10 minute post using the General Social Survey is getting a lot of attention. Apparently circa 1997 web interfaces are so intimidating to people that extracting a little data goes a long way. Instead of talking and commenting I thought as an exercise I would go further, and also be precise about my methodology so that people could replicate it (hint: this is a chance for readers to follow up and figure something out on their own, instead of tossing out an opinion I don't care about). Just like below I limited the sample to non-Hispanic whites after the year 2000. Here's how I did it: YEAR(2000-*), RACE(1), HISPANIC(1) Next I want to compare income, with 1986 values as a base, with party identification. To increase sample sizes I combined all Democrats and Republicans into one class; the social science points to the reality that the vast majority of independents who "lean" in one direction are actually usually reliable voters for that party. So I feel no guilt about this. I suppose Americans simply like the conceit of being independent? I know I do. In any case, here are the queries: For row: REALINC(r:0-20000"LLM";20000-40000"M";40000-80000"UM";80000-*"BU") For column: PARTY(r:0-2"Dem";3"Ind";4-6"Rep") What I'm doing above is combining classes, and also labeling. The GSS has documentation to make sense of it if you care. Some of you were a little confused as to what $80,000 household income in 1986 means. I went and converted 1986 dollars to dollars today.

As you can see $80,000 in 1986 would be $166,000 today. So what percentile in household income is $166,000? Here it is (I rounded generously, so it is really 43 or 93 and such, instead of 40 or 95):

Value of income conversion

19862012

$20,000$42,000

$40,000$83,000

$80,000$166,000

To clear up future confusions I have relabeled the income ranges with the descriptive classes above. You can argue all you want that being in the ~5% of income is not upper class, but just pretend I used a different term (e.g., higher middle class?). I'm not too hung up on the terminology, I'm more focused on the people in the top 5% of the income distribution. The local doctor or successful business person, not the billionaire who owns an island in the Caribbean. Now you have a sense of the classes which we'll be looking at. In the results below I report the proportions of the row and column values. So the leftmost three columns will tell you the percentage of Democrats who are upper class, while the rightmost three columns will tell you the percentage of upper class people who are Democrats. The leftmost three columns add up to 100% vertically, the rightmost three columns 100% horizontally. The second major aspect of reading the table below is that I "controlled" for various sets of characteristics. So, for example, you see the income and party identification patterns for those with no college education, and those with college educations. Here are the variables: DEGREE(r:0-2"No College";3-4"College"), BIBLE, REGION(r:1-4,8-9"Not South";5-7"South"), SEI Two notes here. First, I used the Census division categories. Second, the "socioeconomic status index" is more than just income, and I created three broad classes, giving you the percentile ranges.

Income rangeQuantitative classDescriptive class

Up to $20,000< 40%Lower & Lower Middle (LLM)

$20,000 to $40,00040% to 70%Middle (M)

$40,000 to $80,00070% to 95%Upper Middle (UM)

$80,000 and up> 95%Broad Upper (BU)


Columns = 100%Rows = 100%

DemIndRepDemIndRep

LLM425133402433

M282728371845

UM211627351353

BU8611341155

No College

DemIndRepDemIndRep

LLM515539392635

M292731362044

UM161424311653

BU436281557

College

DemIndRepDemIndRep

LLM242819451342

M252824421147

UM32253540835

BU19192238953

Bible is Word of God

DemIndRepDemIndRep

LLM636139352244

M272832241659

UM101023161075

BU12571182

Bible is Inspired of God

DemIndRepDemIndRep

LLM374928412336

M312929411643

UM241729371152

BU851430862

Bible is Book of Fables

DemIndRepDemIndRep

LLM375128512928

M252224532024

UM232030501730

BU15718551134

Not the South

DemIndRepDemIndRep

LLM405028412435

M272728391843

UM231728381349

BU10611391249

The South

DemIndRepDemIndRep

LLM475433392333

M292829351748

UM181427281160

BU641223967

Bottom 50% of socioeconomic status

DemIndRepDemIndRep

LLM555944402733

M282730362341

UM141121321751

BU435341749

40% to 10% of socioeconomic status

DemIndRepDemIndRep

LLM343826401941

M313029381447

UM262431331354

BU9715281062

Top 10% of socioeconomic status

DemIndRepDemIndRep

LLM182817431443

M242724411148

UM30203440653

BU26252542948

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