This is a fantastic and powerful work of political science edited Andrew Gelman (with many contributors but I will refer to "Gelman" for convenience rather than to slight his colleagues) Gelman has also (with some of these colleagues) set up an excellent blog that deals with many of the same issues.
.This book I think it's fair to say is both a work designed to expose myths commonly held about US politics by laymen and a collection of a great deal of their own political science work.
This is obviously useful for experts in the field. I also think it or a similar work is essential to have a well thought out view on the
Even though poorer states vote more republican ( a fairly well known fact) , at least till this election richer voters in every state voted more Republican (though often narrowly)
Religiosity (in the sense of churchgoing) makes more of a difference t for better off voters-n - i.e. the gap in how they vote, between rich people who go to church and don't is much bigger than those who don't. This tends to be true in western democracies though not universally-including states as different from each as Sweden, France and Israel (obviously Israel it's synagogue going-but I’m using it generically as place of religious worship)
Linked to this and it should to the amazement of authors despite them being experts, when one cross references income and state-the big difference between "Red" and "Blue" states is between rich people in poor states vs. rich states. So in 2004 in
Linked to this in poor states the better off you are the more likely you are to attend church in the. IN rich states the opposite is true- the poor are more pious. This makes a lot of sense of the above-It suggests essentially in states in the rural or South "moral" issues if anything increase the divided in voting created by economics while the opposite is true in the North East and
It should be noted that the degree to which religion effects voting is different from which party it benefits more. I personally believe this has tended to help the Republicans more but this book doesn't really comment on that.
They also quote powerful evidence that church attendance actually is a better predictor of voting for the right in a large number of political systems than in the
Another interesting point -clashing with a forest of journalistic articles,
. All these groups are more likely to support Republicans if they go to church normally as opposed to virtually never. However the difference in effect is huge. For mainstream Protestants it makes next to no difference while for Catholics the effect is slight though significant (my understanding is it's much bigger for Hispanic Catholics. The effect is however huge for evangelicals- and even larger for Mormons and interestingly Jews.
While Jews vote about 7-2 for Democrats Jews who attend Synagogues every week is about evenly split. To look at it another way while among non attendees non evangelical Protestants are about 5 times as likely to vote republican as Jews there is virtually no difference between Jews and non-evangelical Protestants who go to church every week. This incidentally would seem to suggest problems for explanations of the left-wing behaviour of American Jews that root it in the influence of the old Jewish tradition.
I hope I have shown just a few of the ways this book is valuable. Anyone who has any real interest in the politics of the most powerful nation on earth should find it useful and informative. I will post some more on this invaluable book-including some of my problems with some of their conclusions but it really is a great work.