Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Trends in Tea Party States

Continuing my analysis of Tea Party demographics, I did a correlation analysis between various health, economic and social trends in states with the highest population density of Tea Party House Caucus members (TPC). As a reminder, in the social sciences, a correlation above 0.4 is moderately significant, and above 0.7 is very significant.

The highest correlation by far is firearm homicides for girls under 17: +0.82, meaning, radically greater young female homicides in Tea Party states, very low young female homicides in non-Tea Party states. In general, all of the firearm-related injury/death/crime data is very high in Tea Party states (suicide, injury, robbery, etc), most in ranges from +0.4 to +0.82. This data reflects the correlation between stricter gun laws and lower rates of firearm-related injury/death/crime, which parallels the relationship between states with stricter gun laws and Tea Party Caucus population density (stricter gun laws correlate with lower rates of TPC). Similarly, general murder rates were higher in TPC states, with a correlation of +0.42, as was property crime, +0.38.

The second highest trend is the relationship between TPC and % of total tax burden represented by income tax (comparing property tax, sales tax, and income tax): +0.50, meaning, the more you pay in income tax in your state relative to property and sales tax, the higher your TPC representatives, implying that you are more likely to want tax reform to lower your income taxes. Total tax burden as a % of GDP does not seem to be relevant, having a correlation of only +0.23, indicating a sole focus on relative income tax burden, and not on the total amount of your taxes you pay.

The third highest trend is median income (2008), with a correlation of -0.41, meaning, the lower your state’s median income, the higher your TPC, again perhaps implying dissatisfaction with your family’s ability to pay its bills in those states hit hardest by poverty. Interestingly, however, there seems to be no relationship between prime foreclosure rates (-0.07), subprime foreclosure rates (-0.08), income inequality (+0.10), full unemployment (U6 measure, 2010: -0.08), ratio of house price to median income (-0.15), or income change from 1998-2008 (-0.19). These correlations relate to Tea Party Caucus population density, but the relationships do not change significantly when measuring Tea Party Endorsed (TPE) population density. Income inequality for TPE is -0.37, which verges on significance, but doesn’t quite make it, ratio of house price to income is -0.36, income change is +0.32, foreclosure rate is -0.30. The numbers look different, but none really represent strong correlations. The highest correlations for TPE were suicide death (from 1999-2007), +0.41, and population density, -0.39, meaning, more suicides in states with more TPE and fewer large cities in states with more TPE.

I also analyzed religious trends, assuming I would find differences. However, there seemed to be little difference in % of Christians (+0.33), % change in church attendance from 1990-2008 (+0.23), and % change in other religions (+0.19).

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