New Study Finds Surprising Lack of Red-Blue Divide

We want to share the announcement on an insightful new study that we know will interest NCDD members that comes from NCDD supporting member Steven Kull of Voice of the People. VOP teamed up with the Program for Public Consultation to conduct a study on public policy opinions that has some pretty surprising results. You can learn more about the study in Steven’s announcement below or find the study by clicking here.

vop logoA new study conducted by NCDD members at Voice of the People and the Program for Public Consultation finds remarkably little difference between the views of people who live in red (Republican) districts or states, and those who live in blue (Democratic) districts or states on questions about what policies the government should pursue. The study analyzed 388 questions asking what the government should do in regard to a wide range of policy issues and found that that most people living in red districts/states disagreed with most people in blue districts/states on only four percent of the questions.

The study titled, “A Not So Divided America,” contradicts the conventional wisdom that the political gridlock between Democrats and Republicans in Congress arises from deep disagreements over policy among the general public.

The study analyzed questions from dozens of surveys from numerous sources including the National Election Studies, Pew, major media outlets, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs as well as the Program for Public Consultation. Responses were analyzed based on whether the respondents lived in red or blue districts or states.

  • On only four percent of the questions (14 out of 388) did a majority or plurality of those living in red congressional districts/states disagree with the majority or plurality in the blue districts/states.
  • For a large majority of questions – 69 percent – (266 of 388), there were no statistically significant differences between the views in the red districts/states and the blue districts/states.
  • For 23 percent, or 90 questions, there were statistically significant differences in the size of the majority or plurality, but the dominant position in both the red and blue districts/states was on the same side of the issue.
  • Thus for 92 percent of questions people in red and blue districts and states basically agreed.

The full study can be found at

The report’s appendix with the survey questions analyzed can be found at

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Mark Hammer

We tend to label states as “red” or “blue” by virtue of the electoral college votes. And in many instances, those college votes may become committed in monolithic fashion on the basis of very small margins. Researchers at the University of Michigan have produced cartograms that redraw the American map in an adjusted way, compensating for population size, and proportion of votes going this way or that. The result is that a great deal of country is decidedly…purple.

Fascinating, and eye-opening stuff. Here’s an Election 2004 report.