This paper examines the relationship between partisan political success, in both the United States House of Representatives and in the lower houses of U.S. state legislatures, and distance from the central city. The increasing Republican success over time, first in suburbs generally, and then in outer suburbs, is illustrated. Correspondingly, the paper shows that Democrats have retained their advantage in the central city, lost advantage in the rural areas and compete most effectively in inner ring suburbs. Also, different measures of distance from the central city (distance in miles, in types of living arrangements (e.g. urban, suburban, and rural) and in terms of how much of the district is urban) are considered, measured and then incorporated into causal models. The models show that both the number of miles from the central city and the types of living arrangements has a statistically significant impact on party electoral fortunes. The models also show the impact of region and of several demographic factors, including race, income and the percentage of citizens in the district who receive social services.
Metropolitan-rural voting patterns in U.S. legislative electionsJournal of Economics and Politics
Citation InformationElizabeth A. Stiles and Larry Schwab. "The effect of distance from central cities on partisan outcomes in elections" Journal of Economics and Politics 19.1 (2011): 35-48.