Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy States and Correlations

Richard Florida has been doing correlations between the well-being index numbers by state and various economic and demographic indicators. Over on my political blog I had done a little regression analysis after the election, so a similar trend immediately jumped out at me on the well-being survey.

The first map below is a by-district electoral map that shows 2004 to 2008 voting shifts - bluer means voted more Democrat in 2008 than in 2004, redder means voted more Republican in 2008 than in 2004. On the well-being map, brown is the least happy.

Of course there are the usual statistical caveats: correlation doesn't equal causation, and we don't know to what degree the people in the well-being survey voted in line with the electoral results in their districts. What's strangest about this is that it bucks the received wisdom that unhappy people will vote to throw the bums out. It looks like at least in 2008, the less happy you were, the more likely you were to vote for the party already in power.

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