That’s an impressive correlation

Let’s look at vaccination rates for every county in the US against the percentage that voted for Trump, shall we?

That’s his legacy, ignorance and death.

A lot of presidents in every party can claim to have left a legacy of death, but this is a stunning anti-accomplishment that might only be rivaled by Ronald Reagan and W.


  1. robro says

    Well of course, correlation ≠ causation but that said, I suspect there are other interesting correlations like church attendance rates vs low vax rates (and voting for Trump). The most consequential correlation is no vax vs death from COVID.

    Now Trump is telling his fans they should get the shot, and getting booed for it. Reap what you sow.

  2. stroppy says

    It remains to be seen whether some boos are of any consequence to Trump as Republicans continue to line up for an opportunity to kiss his ring. Meanwhile the rest of us reap what he’s sown.

    I’d look for causation in Republican policies and radicalization though a variety of social outlets new and old.

  3. raven says

    It would be even more impressive if you remember that every Blue county has some GOPers and every Red county has some Democrats.

    Unvaccinated 14 Times More Likely to Die From COVID › … › News

    Nov 24, 2021 — “Infections among the unvaccinated continue to drive this pandemic, hospitalizations, and deaths — tragically, at a time when we have vaccines …

    This source says that the unvaccinated are 14 times more likely to die from the Covid-19 virus.

    It is unfortunately correct that a few vaccinated people are also dying from the Covid-19 virus. Most of them are cancer patients, old (average age over 80), or undervaccinated e.g. one shot of J&J long ago.

  4. John Harshman says

    I’m assuming that the size of the circle represents population, so the best correlation in the data seems to be urban vs. rural, correlated with both Trump voting and low vaccination rates.

  5. PaulBC says


    It is unfortunately correct that a few vaccinated people are also dying from the Covid-19 virus. Most of them are cancer patients, old (average age over 80), or undervaccinated e.g. one shot of J&J long ago.

    Has anyone attempted to split out the causes for breakthrough infections (and hospitalization and death)?

    Graphs that show around 13x likelihood of dying if you’re unvaccinated are convincing enough, but leave the impression that if you are vaccinated, you still run a 7-8% chance of the worst outcome like it’s a dice roll.

    If we’re actually seeing that 7-8% have comorbidities, incomplete vaccinations, or just didn’t muster an immune response for some other reason (that could maybe be fixed with another shot) then the case for the vaccine is much better. I suspect that the latter is what we’re seeing, but I have no data to back it up.

    I am sort of counting on the fact that I felt like crap after my second shot and booster to indicate that my B-cells and T-cells are all primed for the virus. I don’t get out all that much anyway and still wear a mask, but I would like a clearer idea of how well-protected I am.

  6. raven says

    That is a good question.
    The collection of data on breakthrough infections and death has been sort of chaotic and haphazard. Because there are so many different states and counties involved among other things.
    And also because this pandemic is moving so fast. All the data is from Delta and we are now in the Omicron era.

    Oregon Health Authority December, 2021
    To date, 4.4% of all known breakthrough cases have been hospitalized (n=2,242), and only 1.3% have
    died (n=648).7
    The median age of the people who have died is 81 (range: 29-103).

    This is a common finding from multiple studies.
    The underlying comorbidities that are also seen are not surprising. Cancer patients are common and frequently immune suppressed.

  7. raven says

    COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths by Vaccination Status
    December 29, 2021 Washington State

    Unvaccinated 12-34 year-olds in Washington are
    • 3 times more likely to get COVID-19 compared with fully vaccinated 12-34 year-olds.
    • 12 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 compared with fully vaccinated 12-34
    Unvaccinated 35-64 year-olds are
    • 4 times more likely to get COVID-19 compared with fully vaccinated 35-64 year-olds.
    • 18 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 compared with fully vaccinated 35-64
    Unvaccinated 65+ year-olds are
    • 7 times more likely to get COVID-19 compared with fully vaccinated 65+ year-olds.
    • 13 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 compared with fully vaccinated 65+ yearolds.
    • 15 times more likely to die of COVID-19 compared with fully vaccinated 65+ year-olds.

    Here is more, showing the same trends.

    One would like to see a graph of risk versus age for the vaccinated dying from breakthrough infections. There might be one somewhere but Google hasn’t found it yet.

  8. raven says

    One more as this is relevant for everyone vaccinated.

    It finds that age is highly correlated with breakthrough hospitalizations, and a greater share of people hospitalized with a breakthrough COVID-19 infection had a comorbidity than people hospitalized with COVID-19 who were not fully vaccinated. It also finds that fewer breakthrough COVID-19 hospitalizations included COVID-related respiratory complications or treatments, suggesting fully vaccinated patients hospitalized with breakthrough COVID-19 may have been more likely to be hospitalized for unrelated reasons.

    This source has a link to a more extensive analysis.
    Anyone who wants to know more can go and look it up.

  9. bcw bcw says

    @9. Boosters help a lot, making the vaccinated numbers even better. About half of breakthrough cases have been the small population of people who have immune system impairment so for those without that problem the numbers are also better.

  10. says

    That’s an astonishingly tight linear correlation. The image is too small to read any legends, does anybody know the r? of course there is also the urban/rural issue, and probably other confounders. But the causal connections could go in any number of ways.

  11. kestrel says

    I don’t think it matters much but I live in a VERY rural area. (An hour and a half drive to an actual city. At night here, it’s blacker than the inside of a cow.) And yet, the vaccination rate is very high here, and for some weird reason, we also all pretty much vote Democrat. Also odd: the white population here is 10%. Strangely enough, in the last election, 10% voted Republican. So odd!

  12. billseymour says

    A union steward where I work is an anti-vaxxer.  (He claims to be a “libertarian” and to have “personal and religious objections” to vaccines.)

    He recently sent around an e-mail reporting over a hundred COVID cases at my workplace (among thousands of workers), and stated that he was recovering from the disease himself.  His wife and child are both suffering from the disease right now as well.

    I’m not the sort of person who feels schadenfreude at the misfortune of others; but I have a great deal of difficulty conjuring up any sympathy for folks who bring adversity on themselves.  Should I at least feel sorry for them because they’re victims of Fox News and others?  I struggle with that.

  13. simonhadley says

    I’m in a blue state but very red and rural county so our vaccination rate sucks. It’s sad to know farmers who are absolutely some of the hardest working, practical and straight forward thinking folks you could meet but they lose all logic when it comes to politics. I will never understand farmers who vote red when it’s more often the republicans who keep cutting farm subsidies. It just baffles me.

  14. Walter Solomon says

    kestrel @14

    A rural area in the US where white people are a small minority is most likely in the Southwest. Am I correct about this?

  15. chrislawson says


    The really sad thing is that I bet all of those farmers regularly vaccinate their livestock using exactly the same logic that they reject when it comes to the health of the humans around them.

  16. chrislawson says


    The original report has the r^2 as 0.5, so the r is ~0.71. This correlation is increasing with time.

    One of the commenters on that post has reported a multi-regression analysis that increases the r^2 to 0.55, so r=0.74, with the observation that vote share is by far the strongest correlate, far more than education, income, or population density. This is yet more primary evidence that the Republican movement has become an anti-rational death cult.

  17. hemidactylus says

    DeSantis will resurface for his glorious victory lap when the Omicron wave ends and Fox News will sing his praises based on the snapshot of low numbers then. Surge? What surge? We’re winning. Watch me gesticulate my hands at the podium festooned with some stupid PR message. ‘Let go of Brandon’.

  18. Akira MacKenzie says

    simonhadley @ 17

    I will never understand farmers who vote red when it’s more often the republicans who keep cutting farm subsidies. It just baffles me.

    A huge chunk of it is that most farmers don’t see themselves as someone running a farm, but a for-profit business. Just like any billionaire, they’ll eagerly accept any subsidy or tax cut and demand that regulations that would cut into their profits be slashed. Like religion, capitalism poisons everything.

    Another factor is culture, something the Left really tries to avoid in favor of class-based arguments. For generations, the Red States have cultivated an insular, deeply-religious culture or hyper-individuality and toxic masculinity that existed long before the Kochs started pumping Dark Money into their politics. I often hear liberals/leftists lament “Why do to rural, Red State working class keep voting against their material interests!?” The first response from the Red State working class is “WHO ARE YOU TO TELL ME WHAT MY MATERIAL INTERESTS ARE?,” with “What are ‘material interest’?” coming second. They have been raised to believe that “Real Americans” don’t ask for or accept handouts and resent the very notion of a social safety as infantilizing at best, tyrannical at worst.

    They also believe tend to believe that this world is not only transitory, but irreparably corrupt. A new, perfect world awaits everyone who accepts Jesus as their personal lord and yadda yadda. Indeed, anyone who claims to want to “make the world a better place” must be plotting to enslave humanity in Satan’s name because only their Gawd has the power to do that, and he’s already written off Earth as a loss.

    They see government as this enemy: The dark, distant tyrant who tells them they can’t pray in public, foists godless evolution in schools and uses Sex Ed to teach their children to be perverts, takes away their guns. seeks to deprive them of cheeseburgers, make them live along side “n-words” and “f-words,” and allows the abortion of millions of dear, sweet, babies each and every day.

    It only makes sense that the party of the right-wing would attract rural America.

    chrislawson @ 21

    Ah, but they’re human beings, created in Gawd’s image. They aren’t some filthy animal, no matter what the communist evil-utionists say.

  19. PaulBC says

    Akira MacKenzie@25 Well maybe, but you are making a lot of generalizations about farmers. It probably does apply to many midwest grain farmers. Also, a trip down I-5 through California’s central valley will show how conservative that region is. The mere act of farming doesn’t turn you rightwing. Historically, farms have been associated with utopian societies and progressive movements like the Grangers. I think New England farmers are not as easy to pin down politically (but I admit I can’t find data right now). And I would imagine at least some organic farms are run by people who are themselves environmentalists.

    I grew up next to a farm in the Philadelphia exurbs owned an old school gentleman farmer who read his newspapers and leased his land to grow winter wheat and soybeans. I never had any impression that he was religious, but I would guess he was some kind of mainline protestant. He let neighborhood kids walk all over his farm (to its detriment) and always had time to talk. It was developed into McMansions in the 80s when he died, which still makes me sad.

    OK, so exceptional cases. But even if all farmers were rightwing, there just aren’t that many of them: 1.3% of the population. When we talk about the red state vote, we’re almost certainly talking about people who work in real estate, insurance, car dealerships, or healthcare just like everywhere else, also things related to agriculture like processing food or farm equipment sales. Many also work for their state governments, and they may be pissed off about government, but they’ll take the job.

    I don’t think there’s an essentially rural explanation for red state politics. To some extent it could be explained as having a less cosmopolitan outlook (though actual farmers depend heavily on the global economy). I think more of it is the historical connection with authoritarian religious beliefs in the US and in more recent history, a calculated backlash to New Deal programs that did help farmers but got the attention of those who see “communism” every time the public sector tries to address hardship.

    I completely agree with your point that “material interest” is a canard. People are interested in having the world work they think it should, and often they’re a lot more interested in seeing other people “punished” than they are in cooperating for mutual benefit. It’s also true that they’ll hypocritically accept benefits if they can pretend to be against. They may not like subsidies, but they’ll take them.

  20. hemidactylus says

    @27- PaulBC
    I think back to William Jennings Bryan who was a populist and against the gold standard (that weird silver vs gold thing) and though he’s known for Scopes and was a religionist, his views wouldn’t completely line up with today’s GOP. Some were progressive except I don’t think he was fond of the eugenics part of that agenda. He wound up in Wilson’s cabinet and quit over WWI. Politics has changed a bit since.

  21. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ Paul BC

    I’m operating on what I see and hear in Rural/Exurban Wisconsin. Every farm I pass that has a political yard sign is always for Trump with also plenty of “Back The Blue,” “Let’s Go Brandon” and anti-abortion signs to go with them. If there was ever a “progressive” strain in rural American politics, it’s long, long dead and gone now.

  22. PaulBC says

    Akira MacKenzie@29 I agree, and I saw plenty of “Recall Newsom” signs the last time I drove down I-5 (he had already survived the recall). They are also pissed off about water, which is kind of understandable, but damming up rivers won’t magically fix global warming. There favorite slogan: “Is it wasting water to grow food?” My answer is, sure, sometimes it is. Any good can be produced in excess. Also, turning California in an agro-industry hellhole won’t even provide as much economic value as preserving it intact (but I digress).

    My point was that there is nothing essential about agriculture that produces conservatives. There is not even anything essentially rightwing about running a “for-profit business.” The money has to come from somewhere. It should be taxed for the public good.

  23. Akira MacKenzie says

    Paul BC @ 30

    My point was that there is nothing essential about agriculture that produces conservatives.

    It wasn’t my intent to imply that. I’m just musing what aspects of rural existence tend to bring out the reactionary out here.

    There is not even anything essentially rightwing about running a “for-profit business.”

    Ummmmm… Capitalism IS right wing. Capitalism is about as synonymous with “right wing” as fascism is.

  24. PaulBC says

    Akira MacKenzie@31 Adam Smith’s views are classified as Classical liberalism for what it’s worth. He was responding to mercantilism by promoting free trade. Unless you want to conflate “fascism” with any form of government that encourages private ownership and enterprise, you can’t really call that fascism.

    “Capitalism” can suggest a lot of things and there’s no question that corporations are effectively authoritarian institutions, which is one reason we need stronger unions to engage them in collective bargaining (and aren’t likely to get them any time soon). But the basic principle of trading goods and services for more utility (to you) than you personally put into them is a neutral principle that applies to nearly any human activity undertaken for some reason other than pure altruism (or reciprocity, which doesn’t scale very well)

    So if someone has a farm and provides something useful, I’m happy if they profit from it. They should pay their share of taxes. In general, the economy should be organized in a way that encourages production of useful goods and services and penalizes pure rent-taking and externalities such as pollution. This is the system we started to put in place in the 20th century and it’s usually considered a form of capitalism. The problem is when the primary goal of an “entrepreneur” is to evade taxes and exploit externalities rather than produce something useful in return for the reward. These aren’t even “unregulated” or “free” markets but usually markets that are distorted to favor specific interests.

    When we have a government that is effectively owned by concentrated wealth and operates in contempt of its constituents (which we do) that’s corruption, not capitalism.

  25. Akira MacKenzie says

    Oh non-existent Gawd! If I wanted to hear a defense of wage slavery and neoliberal bullisht, I’d would have stayed a fucking Republican or worse a “classical liberal.”

    Capitalism, like theism, must be purged from human society whether its mouth-breathing members want it gone or not.

  26. PaulBC says

    Akira MacKenzie@33

    Capitalism, like theism, must be purged from human society whether its mouth-breathing members want it gone or not.

    Well, good luck with that. No, seriously. I will be shocked if we even get back to something like the grudging acceptance of labor unions (50s status quo) within my lifetime. All indicators seem to point the other way.

  27. snarkrates says

    FWIW, I can remember when rural areas–at least more of them–voted blue. And then the Rethugs convinced Dems that efforts like rural electrification, rural education improvement and farm subsidies were just too expensive unless they went to folks with a New York City address. And yes, it was the Rethugs who led the charge to cut the hell out of social spending, but the Dems let it go through in the spirit of bipartisanship.
    If Dems ever again want to have a secure majority, they’ll have to rebuild FDR’s coalition…that and wait 20 years ’til the entire Faux News demographic dies off. Meantime, Rethugs will keep the coup fires burning. If you have dual citizenship, it might be a good time to dust off that ol’ non-USA passport.

  28. chrislawson says


    What you describe as “corruption, not capitalism” is known to economists as “crony capitalism.” That is, it is still a form of capitalism, but one where the free-market ideals of Adam Smith have been disassembled and to quote the IMF “nepotism will be more rewarding than efficiency.”

    (A quick aside: Adam Smith argued at length that free markets need strong government intervention to survive the forces of monopolisation and cartel formation. The loudest advocates for Smith seem never to have read him.)

    The problem as I see it is that capitalism always tends to fall into crony capitalism. That is, over the course of time, there will almost always be some form of regulatory capture which is very difficult to reverse politically.

    For instance, Australia introduced an ACCC (Australian Consumer and Competition Commission) in 1995 with one of its main mandates to prevent anti-competitive practices. Now, around 25 years later, it is assisting anti-competitive behaviour, especially if it favours large corporations. It has opposed almost no mergers in the last few years, including the acquisition by one of our major supermarket chains of one of our major food suppliers — in a field where the supermarkets already have a terrible history of using anti-competitive practices to destroy their suppliers, often driving them out of business and replacing products with their own brand equivalent. But the ACCC did rouse itself from its torpor to oppose the merger of our smallest mobile phone network and an ISP despite the fact that the industry is already dominated by two such mega-entities with a long history of anti-competitive tactics (at one stage, the largest mobile provider in Australia was charging other retailers a higher wholesale rate than its retail rate). There was a clear case that this merger would allow two much smaller companies to merge and create a true third ISP/mobile competitor in the marketplace. Thus, in a country run by crony capitalists (i.e. the Liberal Party), even the competition watchdog is turned into a tool for protection of already-dominant corporations.

    This is as you say a betrayal of free-market principles. But not of capitalism. There is a huge difference between what capitalist interests say they want (“a free market”) and what they actually want (goverment industry protection not just from competitors, but from the consequences of their own speculative errors). Again, this is not a betrayal of capitalism because it does not even remotely undermine the private ownership of means of production.

  29. chrislawson says

    Also, there is definitely a rural/urban divide. Even in red states, the cities tend to vote blue and even in blue states the rural areas tend to vote red. It’s not just about farming, as you say, because there are several other important rural industries such as mining, as well as the businesses that are not directly related to agriculture/mining but still service the area and therefore depend on them, e.g. restaurants and cafes, clothing retailers, accountants, etc.

  30. says

    For a lot of trumpists- especially in the leadership and media organs- remaining unvax and/or encouraging others to remain unvax is gross realpolitik; they are making the calculation that the pandemic continuing through the midterms will be awful for the dems, which is likely a good bet. They are literally allowing a virus to kill their own voters for political gain. I don’t think a country can recover from that level of poison. We should stop assuming idiocy and calling out the bad faith. We should also be making plans for civil separation or worse.

    @Akira MacKenzie

    I’m not sure where you are in WI but I live in a WOW shithole and the attitude you are describing is common among the trumpists are where I live too.