Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News US politics and Poverty

  1. Nov 24, 2012 #1

    phyzguy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    One thing continues to puzzle me about the current political landscape in the US, as witnessed by Mitt Romney's recent comments about Obama's "gifts" allowing him to win the election. With many on the right attempting to cut back on the social safety net because of a large number of perceived "takers" who live on government handouts, one would think that the regions that vote Democratic would be where most of the recipients of these government handouts live. In fact, the data shows the opposite. The attached spreadsheet shows the percentage of the population that receives food stamps as compared to how each state voted. Of the 16 states with >15% of the population on food stamps, 12 voted Republican and only 4 voted Democrat. Of the 13 states with <10% of the population on food stamps, 8 voted Democrat and only 5 Republican. The map of poverty across the US shows that persistent poverty is almost exclusively concentrated in the "Red" states, and the staunch "Blue" states in the northeast are almost completely empty on this map. Can anyone explain to me why the regions most dependent on government largesse are the ones most opposed to continuing it?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 24, 2012 #2

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    How many of these poor, homeless, indigent people vote? How educated are they and how aware of politics are they? Are the states/areas that put more emphasis on class distinctions and wish to keep those class distinctions in place the states/areas that have larger numbers of conservatives? IMO to above.

    Have you actually matched food stamps by county to voting records? I can see from your "map" that the poor areas in Texas along the Mexican border use more food stamps than the rest of the state. What were the voter statistics for those areas?

    Also, you need to link to your actual sources.
     
  4. Nov 24, 2012 #3

    phyzguy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I don't have the answers to your questions about voting percentages and results by county.

    This is a good point and is a possible explanation. People in these states may want to keep the poor "in their place" and are therefore opposed to social programs that allow the poor to better themselves. If this is the explanation, it doesn't speak well for the conservative movement!

    The poverty map is from: http://www.ruralhome.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=500

    The Food stamp numbers are from : http://www.fns.usda.gov/ora/menu/Published/snap/SNAPPartState.htm

    And the election results are from:
    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2012/11/election-spreadsheet/
     
  5. Nov 24, 2012 #4
    Some 90% of all democrats live in multicultural urban areas, while 60% of the republican party is rural. Conservative politics push for small government and Victorian values that appeal to rural people, but especially white rural people who make up 87% of the republican party. If you include things like farm subsidies as entitlements the red states in the Bible Belt make a lot more sense.

    The republican party has basically been cutting it's own nose off to spite their face ever since they adopted their Southern Strategy. Fighting a steadily losing battle for the last half century on everything from civil rights, abortion rights, women's rights, expanding entitlements, and now even gay marriage. Bush just rushed the process along when he flushed the entire world economy down the toilet. The south lost the civil war, but now it is losing the culture war as more Americans migrate to the cities. An agrarian way of life with roots in medieval times is dying and they are not happy.
     
  6. Nov 25, 2012 #5

    jtbell

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Here's the poverty map cited in the OP:

    attachment.php?attachmentid=53300&d=1353805207.png

    Here are the 2012 presidentlal election results by county:

    2012-Election-County-By-County.png

    (from http://commoncts.blogspot.com/2012/11/us-2012-election-results-map-by-county.html)

    It looks like "blue counties" and poverty correlate in e.g. the Deep South and parts of Texas and the Rocky Mountain states. However, "blueness" and poverty do not correlate in the Northeast, Appalachia (e.g. eastern Kentucky), the Great Lakes area, and along the West Coast.
     
  7. Nov 25, 2012 #6

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Thanks JT. The blue in the food stamp areas, especially in Texas match what I expected as far as voting. The state might be red, but the pockets of very poor aren't.
     
  8. Nov 25, 2012 #7
    Here's another map showing which states receive more federal aid then the tax dollars they contribute. Red indicates receiving more than they contribute.

    map.gif
     
  9. Nov 27, 2012 #8
    Maybe these aren't the regions most dependent on government largesse. For example, the 'average' income of Connecticut residents is fairly high. But, in fact, most Connecticut residents are relatively poor. The numbers are skewed by the inclusion of the incomes of, for example, hedge fund billionaires who reside in exclusive communities.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: US politics and Poverty
  1. US Political Parties (Replies: 0)

  2. US political system (Replies: 11)

Loading...