red states, blue states, zero sum games, and escaping the gravity well

(Pointed out to me by TJIC)

Very interesting ideas.

Affordable Family Formation

…The key reason why some states vote Republican, I’ve found, can be summed up in the three-word phrase: Affordable Family Formation.

In parts of the country where it is economical to buy a house with a yard in a neighborhood with a decent public school, you’ll generally find more Republicans.

You’ll find less in regions where it’s expensive.

1) The Dirt Gap: Blue State metropolises, such as Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles, tend to be on oceans or Great Lakes. Their suburban expansion is permanently limited to their landward sides. In contrast, Red State metropolises, such as Dallas, Atlanta, and Phoenix, are mostly inland. Thus they tend to be surrounded almost completely by dirt–allowing their suburbs to spread out…

2) The Mortgage Gap: The Dirt Gap directly drives the Mortgage Gap. As the Law of Supply and Demand dictates, the limited availability of suburban dirt in most Blue States means housing costs more.

Of course, Blue State cities are also more likely to use environmental and other restrictions on housing to restrict supply artificially. Portland, an inland metropolis, is famous for outlawing development of adjoining land, thereby inflating housing prices and shrinking fertility, as reported in Timothy Egan’s March 24, 2005 New York Times article on Portland, “Vibrant Cities Find One Thing Missing: Children.”…

Bush was victorious in the 26 states with the least home price inflation since 1980. Kerry triumphed in the 14 states with the most (according to the invaluable Laboratory of the States website).

Home prices rose fastest in Kerry’s Massachusetts (515 percent) and second slowest in Bush’s Texas (89 percent). The correlation between low housing inflation and Bush’s share was strong: r-squared = 52 percent…

3) The Marriage Gap: … the single best correlation with Bush’s share of the vote by state that anybody has yet found is: the average years married by white women between age 18 and 44: an astonishing r-squared = 83 percent.

(This has to be one of the highest r-squareds for a single unexpected factor ever seen in political science.)

Bush carried the top 25 states ranked on “years married.”

For example, white women in Utah, where Bush had his best showing with 71 percent of the total vote, led the nation by being married an average of 17.0 years…

in Washington D.C., where Bush only took 9 percent, the average white woman is married only 7.4 years…

4) The Baby Gap: Bush carried 25 of the top 26 states in white total fertility (number of babies per white woman), while Kerry was victorious in the bottom 16.

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