Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Voter Migration and the American Electorate

When viewing a map of the political partisan spatial layout amongst states in the United States one can see it is nonrandom. The partisan clumps that exist within the United States are "self-perpetuating" and voter migration in homogenous partisan groups is increasing over time. The consequences of these homogenous partisan groups require more study. Bishop asserts that the clustering of like minded groups only narrows ones point of view. Whereas, in "heterogenous communities [they] teach their members to compromise" through exposure of opposing view points. Bishops assumes that if this trend continues within the states then it will result with a country of "intolerance that will tear...apart at its seams". This study is concerned with what is creating and defining these partisan boundaries and if geographic sorting in the electorate is an issue at all.
It is important to consider all of the factors that could be contributing to this unbalanced partisan spatial layout. Some of these factors include "population migration,...polarization of the national parties and the evolution of individual attitudes". This migration of ideals is a natural occurrence as one gravitates towards social settings compatible with their own mindset. In order to truly determine this individual migration this study focuses on individual patterns such as migrating towards or from like minded areas.
Data from the YouGov Cooperative Congressional Election Study supports the idea that partisanship is heavily considered during relocation. They acquired this data from a national sample taking from recent movers asking them to rank in importance their different considerations for their final choice in destination.
Even though co-partisanship was not the foremost considered reason for the final destination of the movers about 30 percent did heavily weight partisanship. This percentage can make a substantial effect. Despite being able to see concentrations of partisanship across the country it is hard to determine wether individual migration contribute to these apparent partisan differences. This study is the first of its kind in examining geographic sorting effects. However, this study concludes that jobs and family concerns remain to be the most important factors in regards to migration. 

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