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

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The cirrhosis-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 cirrhosis-death rate and the strength of the two political parties in the states?

I compared different state's cirrhosis-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 -0.037 Republican vote +0.084

That is, the Democratic votes for the states had a 4% negative correlation with increasing CDR and the Republican votes had a 9% positive correlation. States with high cirrhosis-death rate vote more Republican than Democratic and vice versa.

 This is a plot of the cirrhosis-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 Republican vote. Note the huge difference between the highest state (New Mexico with 16.3 and the lowest state (Nebraska with 5.5).

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

My Republican native state, Oklahoma (rate=13.9), ranked 27 of 50 and my Republican adopted state, Virginia (rate=10.8), ranked 16 of 50 for increasing cirrhosis-death rate in 1996.

 U.S. cirrhosis deaths 1996 election State Deaths(age adj. Per 100,000) Democrat Republican Rank Nebraska 5.5 35.0% 53.7% 1 Hawaii 5.7 56.9% 31.6% 2 Minnesota 6.3 51.1% 35.0% 3 Iowa 6.7 50.3% 39.9% 4 Missouri 7.1 47.5% 41.2% 5 Kansas 7.3 36.1% 54.3% 6 Wisconsin 7.4 48.8% 38.5% 7 Utah 7.5 33.3% 54.4% 8 Arkansas 7.6 53.7% 36.8% 9 Idaho 7.6 33.6% 52.2% 10 Maine 7.8 51.6% 30.8% 11 North Dakota 7.8 40.1% 46.9% 12 Vermont 7.8 53.4% 31.1% 13 Indiana 8.1 41.6% 47.1% 14 Pennsylvania 8.1 49.2% 40.0% 15 Virginia 8.2 45.1% 47.1% 16 Connecticut 8.3 52.8% 34.7% 17 New York 8.3 58.3% 30.0% 18 Kentucky 8.4 45.8% 44.9% 19 Ohio 8.4 47.4% 41.0% 20 Georgia 8.5 45.8% 47.0% 21 Washington 8.5 49.8% 37.3% 22 Montana 8.6 41.3% 44.1% 23 New Jersey 8.7 53.7% 35.9% 24 Maryland 8.8 54.3% 38.3% 25 Mississippi 9 44.1% 49.2% 26 Oklahoma 9 40.4% 48.3% 27 Alabama 9.1 43.2% 50.1% 28 Massachusetts 9.1 61.5% 28.1% 29 Colorado 9.2 44.4% 45.8% 30 Illinois 9.2 54.3% 36.8% 31 Louisiana 9.2 52.0% 39.9% 32 North Carolina 9.3 44.0% 48.7% 33 New Hampshire 9.4 49.6% 39.6% 34 Oregon 9.4 47.2% 39.1% 35 Delaware 9.6 51.8% 36.6% 36 Rhode Island 9.6 59.7% 26.8% 37 South Carolina 9.9 44.0% 49.8% 38 Tennessee 9.9 48.0% 45.6% 39 Michigan 10.1 51.7% 38.5% 40 Alaska 10.3 33.3% 50.8% 41 South Dakota 10.3 43.0% 46.5% 42 West Virginia 10.6 51.5% 36.8% 43 Florida 11.1 48.0% 42.3% 44 Texas 11.2 43.8% 48.8% 45 California 12 51.1% 38.2% 46 Arizona 12.9 46.5% 44.3% 47 Wyoming 13.7 36.8% 49.8% 48 Nevada 15.8 43.9% 42.9% 49 New Mexico 16.3 49.2% 41.9% 50