## Cancer-Death Rate and Political PartiesL. David Roper (E-mail: roperld@vt.edu)

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(Go to data table at bottom.)

The cancer-death rate (number/1000) 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 cancer-death rate and the strength of the two political parties in the states?

I compared different state's cancer-death rate (CDR) 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 +0.319 Republican vote -0.223

That is, the Democratic votes for the states had a 32% positive correlation with increasing CDR and the Republican votes had a 22% negative correlation. States with high cancer-death rate vote more Democratic than Republican and vice versa.

 This is a plot of the cancer-death rate (CDR) 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 CDR with the Democratic vote and the negative correlation with the Republican vote. Note the large difference between the highest state (Louisiana with 233) and the lowest state (Utah with 159).

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

My Republican native state, Oklahoma (rate=204), ranked 25 of 50 and my Republican adopted state, Virginia (rate=209), ranked 28 of 50 for increasing cancer-death rate in 1996.

 U.S. cancer deaths 1996 election State Cancer Deaths(age adj./100000) Democrat Republican Rank Utah 159 33.3% 54.4% 1 Hawaii 164 56.9% 31.6% 2 Colorado 173 44.4% 45.8% 3 New Mexico 174.9 49.2% 41.9% 4 California 181 51.1% 38.2% 5 Arizona 181 46.5% 44.3% 6 Idaho 186 33.6% 52.2% 7 Nebraska 186 35.0% 53.7% 8 Kansas 187 36.1% 54.3% 9 Wyoming 188 36.8% 49.8% 10 North Dakota 188 40.1% 46.9% 11 Minnesota 190 51.1% 35.0% 12 Alaska 193 33.3% 50.8% 13 South Dakota 193 43.0% 46.5% 14 Iowa 194 50.3% 39.9% 15 Montana 195 41.3% 44.1% 16 Washington 196 49.8% 37.3% 17 New York 196 58.3% 30.0% 18 Connecticut 197 52.8% 34.7% 19 Texas 198 43.8% 48.8% 20 Florida 198 48.0% 42.3% 21 Oregon 201 47.2% 39.1% 22 Wisconsin 202 48.8% 38.5% 23 Michigan 203 51.7% 38.5% 24 Oklahoma 204 40.4% 48.3% 25 North Carolina 208 44.0% 48.7% 26 Georgia 209 45.8% 47.0% 27 Virginia 209 45.1% 47.1% 28 Vermont 210 53.4% 31.1% 29 Illinois 210 54.3% 36.8% 30 Massachusetts 210 61.5% 28.1% 31 South Carolina 210 44.0% 49.8% 32 Pennsylvania 211 49.2% 40.0% 33 New Jersey 211 53.7% 35.9% 34 Arkansas 215 53.7% 36.8% 35 Missouri 215 47.5% 41.2% 36 Ohio 216 47.4% 41.0% 37 Maryland 217 54.3% 38.3% 38 Maine 217 51.6% 30.8% 39 Indiana 218 41.6% 47.1% 40 Rhode Island 218 59.7% 26.8% 41 New Hampshire 218 49.6% 39.6% 42 Alabama 219 43.2% 50.1% 43 Tennessee 222 48.0% 45.6% 44 Nevada 223 43.9% 42.9% 45 West Virginia 225 51.5% 36.8% 46 Delaware 226 51.8% 36.6% 47 Kentucky 227 45.8% 44.9% 48 Mississippi 227 44.1% 49.2% 49 Louisiana 233 52.0% 39.9% 50