With all of the red state vs blue state data that’s been parsed—and is still being parsed—post Election 2012, one of the more fascinating examples of all that number crunching comes, not from Nate Silver, but via a former federal auto safety researcher named Louis V. Lombardo and public safety watchdog group Fair Warning:
The nation’s red and blue states often are miles apart in social attitudes and, of course, political outlook.
It turns out that they also divide into distinct camps when it comes to a grimmer measure — fatal traffic accidents.
To an extent that mystifies safety experts and other observers, federal statistics show that people in red states are more likely to die in road crashes. The least deadly states – those with the fewest crash deaths per 100,000 people – overwhelmingly are blue.
In the absence of formal definitions for red or blue states, we labeled as red the states that favored Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and as blue those that supported the reelection of President Obama.
The 10 states with the highest fatality rates all were red, while all but one of the 10 lowest-fatality states were blue. What’s more, the place with the nation’s lowest fatality rate, while not a state, was the very blue District of Columbia.
Massachusetts was lowest among the states, with 4.79 road deaths per 100,000 people. By contrast, red Wyoming had a fatality rate of 27.46 per 100,000.
They even got a pull quote from What’s the Matter with Kansas? author Thomas Frank, who deemed the study “amazing” and added:
“This is someplace where you would not expect to see a partisan divide.”
What if it’s not a partisan divide at all and something closer to variance in regional IQs? I’d love to see those red state vs blue state stats, wouldn’t you?
Of course there are other factors to take into consideration, such as driving distances, seasonal weather conditions and the fact that many red states have more lax speed limits (Texas, for instance, has a toll road where you can drive 85mph). What time states makes bars shut also comes to mind. So would the proximity to hospitals… population density…
But still, think about it: Voting Republican (and all that implies about intelligence)... Significantly increased per capita auto fatalities... it would seem to me that factoring in IQs might shed at least some additional light on this subject.
There are a lot of ways you could slice and dice something like this, of course, but the most basic factors (as opposed to ideology or a specific belief in, say, Creationisn) would obviously be the most relevant. They might never be able to “prove” a statistical connection—perhaps thick people make better drivers and it’s the red state Democrats doing the bulk of the car crashing, the study obviously didn’t drill down that far, and I doubt they asked these dead people who they were planing to vote for—but it’s probably worth the effort to factor in IQs.
I do wonder what J.G. Ballard would make of all this!
Thank you kindly, Em!