Are, as many pundits claim, liberals simply downright miserable, and looking for a way to drag as many others into their miserable state of existence as possible? Thankfully, modern science has taken a giant step to providing us with an answer.
In a just released study, two scientists, Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in England and Stephen Wu, an economist at Hamilton College in New York, decided to tackle the noble task of researching which states have the happiest residents. After creating a statistical model for the “average” U.S. state resident, they set out to determine exactly which states have the happiest citizens residing within their borders.
It turns out that the pundits may be on to something after all. The bottom 10 states in the researcher’s happiness quotient are:
Notice anything? If you said “I’ve never seen so much blue in all my days.” you wouldn’t be too far off. Most of the 10 least happy states are biased heavily toward the liberal side of the political spectrum, and many have very high taxes (implemented by the very legislators voted into office by those unhappy residents).
Let’s dig a little bit deeper.
The least happy state, New York voted for Obama 62% to 36% for McCain. Democratic governor? check. Democratic senators? Ditto, there too. In 2006, Hillary Clinton defeated Spencer 67% to 31%. In the 2004 Senate race, it was an even larger landslide for the left leaning (he’s about to fall over) candidate. Charles Schumer took over 71% of the vote.
Surely New York is an anomaly? You might think that, except the state with residents almost as miserable as New Yorkers is its neighbor, Connecticut. Who occupies the Senate seats there? Why Chris Dodd, who was swept back into office in 2004 with a resounding 71% of the vote. What about the presidential race in 2008? Obama 60%, McCain 38%. Their other Senator is Joe Lieberman, who was a Democrat, and caucuses with the Democrats, but is technically an independent.
Lest you think that state number 48 is any closer to being center to right in their political affiliations, it is New Jersey, which should put any doubts to rest right there. The home state of the Boss and Bon Jovi has consistently voted for Democrats in the past and it was no different in 2008, when the state’s voters turned out overwhelmingly for Obama, 57% to 41%. In 2006, Senator Menendez (D) grabbed over 53% of the vote, and in 2008, it was the Democrat Lautenberg, with over 56% of the vote.
Maybe the 47th happiest state in the study, Michigan, is republican in some measure, right? Wrong! Not a Republican in sight, although the state is sinking under the weight of high taxes and partially union induced auto industry bankruptcies. Senator Levin won in 2008 with over 62% of the vote, and the state’s voters chose Obama over McCain by a margin of 57% to 41%.
Indiana, the next state down the misery totem pole almost shows some semblance of sanity, although they, too, chose Obama over McCain. Here, though, the margin was much slimmer, at just under 50% to 49%. They do love Republican Senator Richard Lugar however, reelecting him by an overwhelming 87% to 12% over his democratic rival in the 2006 election. In 2004 though, they convincingly elected Democrat Evan Bayh, 61% to 37%.
The five most miserable states have voted Democratic Senators into office 90% of the time in the most recent elections, and in all but one case, it wasn’t even close. 3 of the 5 states, New York, New Jersey, and Michigan, also have Democratic governors.
The astute among you will also note that the next five states up the list could also be found pulling the lever for Obama in the 2008 election, most by a wide margin.
It would seem that the bloggers and talk show hosts who deride liberals for being miserable folks who only want to spread their form of wealth around have a point. If misery loves company, the voters in the states that are the unhappiest have found a way to ensure they have plenty of it; they head to the polls in November.