TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2020
Weirdly, Krugman explains: At present, Biden has won Georgia by less than half a point. He has lost Ohio by eight.
What explains these different outcomes? Weirdly, Krugman explains:
KRUGMAN (11/10/20): [T]he fact that Democrats are now competitive in Georgia but not in Ohio, which appears to have become Trumpier than Texas, tells you a lot about where America is heading. In some ways these changes in the electoral map offer reason for hope; but they also suggest looming problems for U.S. democracy.
How did Georgia turn faintly blue? As The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson wrote, in a phrase I wish I’d come up with, the great divide in American politics is now over “density and diplomas”: highly urbanized states—especially those containing large metropolitan areas—with highly educated populations tend to be Democratic.
Say what? Biden did eight points better in Georgia because its population is more highly educated?
Later, Krugman seems to advance this claim further. This time, he brings Wisconsin and Michigan into the mix:
KRUGMAN: In practice, density and diplomas tend to go together—an association that has grown stronger over the past few decades. Modern economic growth has been led by knowledge-based industries; these industries tend to concentrate in large metropolitan areas that have highly educated work forces; and the growth of these metropolitan areas brings in even more highly educated workers.
Hence the transformation of Georgia. The state is home to greater Atlanta, one of the nation’s most dynamic metropolises, which now accounts for 57 percent of Georgia’s population. Atlanta has drawn in a growing number of college-educated workers, so that at this point the percentage of working-age adults with bachelor’s degrees is higher in Georgia than in Wisconsin or Michigan. So at some level it shouldn’t be surprising that Georgia apparently joined the “blue wall” in securing the presidency for Biden.
According to Krugman, Georgia joined the blue wall for Biden because its population is well educated. Indeed, the percentage of working-age adults with bachelor’s degrees is higher in Georgia than in Wisconsin or Michigan, Krugman says.
For the record, the percentage is also higher in Georgia than in Ohio. Is that why Georgia went blue, while Ohio voted for Trump?
This idea struck us as possibly far-fetched. We decided to check the data to which Krugman provided a link.
On the one hand, it's true! Georgia does have more college-educated voters, or at least it did two years ago within a certain age range. But, according to Krugman's source, the differences are small:
Adults 25 to 64 with a bachelors degree or higher, 2018:
Michigan: 31.2%Wisconsin: 31.8%
Those are the data to which Krugman linked. Georgia's percentage was higher than Ohio's, but only by a smidge.
Does that explain the gap between Georgia and Ohio this year? Or could it perhaps be related to this, as recorded in this year's (imperfect) exit poll data?
Racial identity of 2020 voters:
Georgia: 61% white, 29% blackOhio: 84% white, 11% black
According to the exit polls, Ohio's electorate is much whiter. When we compare these states, the "education" gap is small, the "racial" gap much larger.
For what it's worth, "race" isn't always destiny. In Ohio, Biden won 41% of white votes. In Georgia, the number was 30%.
That's according to the exit polls, which can't be assumed to be perfectly accurate. That said, the education gap seems rather small, the racial gap much larger.
Why did Georgia tip to Biden while Ohio went to Trump? For our money, Krugman's explanation is extremely odd.
Weirdly, Krugman explained. What we want to know is how do you like the things you read in our blue-eyed top newspaper now?