JONATHAN CHAIT JUNE 4, 2010
Andrew Gelman has a chart plotting the ideology of voters by party in every state along social and economic issues:
The blue clusters in the bottom left are Democratic states, and the red clusters in the upper right Republican states. Among democrats, those in West Virginia are the most socially conservative, those in Vermont the least socially conservative.
So what does this chart tell us? I think it tells us that the Democratic Party's voters are far more divided by social issues than by economics. Look at the plot of figures, centered very closely along a vertical axis. This helps explain why, over the last two election cycles especially, the Democratic Party has recruited socially conservative candidates for the House and Senate.
The Pew typology of the electorate, which has long been my favorite reference on this subject, found that Democrats are divided by social issues, Republicans by economic issues. The first part shows up in Gelman's chart, the second part does not, though any number of methodological differences could be at work here.