Property Crime and Political PartiesL. David Roper (E-mail: roperld@vt.edu)

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The property-crime rate (number/100,000) varies greatly among the states in the United States. (See table at end for 1996 rates.)

An interesting question to ask is: Is there any correlation between the property-crime rate and the strength of the two political parties in the states?

I compared different state's property-crime rate (PCR) data for 1996 with the results of the 1996 presidential election for each state. (See table at end for votes in the 1996 election.) A correlation calculation yielded the following:

 Correlation Rate Democrat vote -0.107 Republican vote +0.208

That is, the Democratic votes for the states had a 11% negative correlation with increasing PCR and the Republican votes had a 21% positive correlation. States with high property-crime rate vote more Republican than Democratic and vice versa.

 This is a plot of the property-crime rate (PCR) sorted by rank of the states compared to the Democratic votes and the Republican votes. (See table at end for the data.) Also shown are linear fits to the two votes. This shows visually the positive correlation of PCR with the Republican vote and the negative correlation of PCR with the Democratic vote.

What can one conclude from these results? Whatever factors cause the large disparity for property-crime rates between the various states also cause those states to tend to vote Republican.

My Republican native state, Oklahoma (rate=5056), ranked 37 of 50 and my Republican adopted state, Virginia (rate=3627), ranked 13 of 50 for increasing property-crime rate in 1997-8.

 U.S. Property Crime Rates (per 100,000) 1996 1996 election State Property Crime Democrat Republican Rank West Virginia 2273 51.5% 36.8% 1 North Dakota 2585 40.1% 46.9% 2 New Hampshire 2705 49.6% 39.6% 3 South Dakota 2793 43.0% 46.5% 4 Kentucky 2846 45.8% 44.9% 5 Vermont 2882 53.4% 31.1% 6 Pennsylvania 2960 49.2% 40.0% 7 Massachusetts 3195 61.5% 28.1% 8 Maine 3269 51.6% 30.8% 9 Iowa 3376 50.3% 39.9% 10 New York 3405 58.3% 30.0% 11 Wisconsin 3569 48.8% 38.5% 12 Virginia 3627 45.1% 47.1% 13 Rhode Island 3646 59.7% 26.8% 14 Idaho 3745 33.6% 52.2% 15 New Jersey 3801 53.7% 35.9% 16 Connecticut 3816 52.8% 34.7% 17 Indiana 3961 41.6% 47.1% 18 Nebraska 4002 35.0% 53.7% 19 Wyoming 4004 36.8% 49.8% 20 Ohio 4027 47.4% 41.0% 21 Mississippi 4035 44.1% 49.2% 22 Minnesota 4124 51.1% 35.0% 23 Arkansas 4175 53.7% 36.8% 24 Delaware 4227 51.8% 36.6% 25 Alabama 4255 43.2% 50.1% 26 Kansas 4268 36.1% 54.3% 27 Montana 4333 41.3% 44.1% 28 California 4345 51.1% 38.2% 29 Illinois 4430 54.3% 36.8% 30 Michigan 4482 51.7% 38.5% 31 Missouri 4493 47.5% 41.2% 32 Tennessee 4675 48.0% 45.6% 33 Colorado 4714 44.4% 45.8% 34 Alaska 4723 33.3% 50.8% 35 North Carolina 4938 44.0% 48.7% 36 Oklahoma 5056 40.4% 48.3% 37 Texas 5065 43.8% 48.8% 38 Maryland 5131 54.3% 38.3% 39 Nevada 5181 43.9% 42.9% 40 South Carolina 5217 44.0% 49.8% 41 Washington 5478 49.8% 37.3% 42 Oregon 5534 47.2% 39.1% 43 Utah 5654 33.3% 54.4% 44 Georgia 5671 45.8% 47.0% 45 New Mexico 5762 49.2% 41.9% 46 Louisiana 5910 52.0% 39.9% 47 Hawaii 6304 56.9% 31.6% 48 Arizona 6436 46.5% 44.3% 49 Florida 6446 48.0% 42.3% 50