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Are Republicans Healthier Than Democrats?

The data appear to say yes, but more work needs to be done to make sense of it all.


  1. Matt Stevens says:

    I'd suspect a regional effect: Northeasterners are more likely to complain about their health (or anything else) than Southerners. Just a guess.

  2. jrhs says:

    "[A]fter controlling for…, Republicans were 15% less likely to be smokers."

    Would someone please explain what "15% less likely" means and exaltly how it is derived? 15% difference? Wow. I know, I know…I hate such statement.


  3. jbn9 [] says:

    Andrew says:

    It's also been suggested that the causation might go the other way ("A Democrat is a Republican who got sick," to update that old saying), but, although I can see that happening in an aggregate level–people moving toward the Democrats partly because of dissatisfaction over issues such as health care–it's hard for me to believe this would be explaining the pattern at an individual level.

    I think this is completely believable on an individual level. If I personally have never been sick, then I am annoyed at any health care premiums I am forced to pay and, similarly, I'm annoyed at the socialistic health care system we have where I pay because somebody else is sick. When I become sick, I realize that health care is a really big expense even with insurance. I now want a more socialistic system because I realize getting sick was not my fault.

  4. Andrew Gelman says:

    Matt: Maybe so. It's the damn weather, I guess.

    Jrhs: You can click thru to the original paper. By 15% less likely, I mean that the probability is reduced by 15% (not 15 percentage points).

    Jbn9: I don't disagree with you on the margins, but it's hard for me to believe that this process would have such a large effect in total.

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