The Atlantic

Letter: Is ‘The Geography of Partisan Prejudice’ Knowable?

A reader questions the methodology behind The Atlantic’s guide to the most—and least—politically open-minded counties in America.
Source: Nancy Lapid / Reuters

The Geography of Partisan Prejudice

In early March, The Atlantic published a guide to the most—and least—politically open-minded counties in America. Amanda Ripley, Rekha Tenjarla, and Angela Y. He teamed up with PredictWise, a polling and analytics firm, to create a ranking of counties in the U.S. based on partisan prejudice (or what researchers call “affective polarization”).

The results were surprising in several ways, they found. “In general, the most politically intolerant Americans, according to the analysis, tend to be whiter, more highly educated, older, more urban, and more partisan themselves.”


In its analysis, PredictWise used multilevel regression with post-stratification (MRP), a method that has lots of promise in estimating public opinion within states from national survey data. However, this method should be used with great care and by Matthew K. Buttice and Benjamin Highton.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic8 min read
The New Secession
Residents of the majority-white southeast corner of Baton Rouge want to make their own city, complete with its own schools, breaking away from the majority-black parts of town.
The Atlantic5 min readPolitics
The Trade War Is Just the Beginning
The Atlantic9 min read
‘For-Now Parents’ and ‘Big Feelings’: How Sesame Street Talks About Trauma