Expand chart
Notes: The Cook Partisan Voter Index is a measure of how liberal or conservative a district leans based on the two most recent elections. Pennsylvania PVI and vote margins reflect the 2016 district map prior to being redrawn. Data: Census Bureau 2012-16 American Community Survey, Cook Political Report Partisan Voter Index; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

This graphic shows why voters in this year's midterm elections are likely to hear such different stories about the economy: blue districts are more likely to have serious income inequality than red districts. That's why Democrats and Republicans have two conflicting narratives: What's true for one party's constituents often isn't true for the other's.

Why it matters: Each party has pushed a narrative that reflects the truth of their side while angering and scaring those on the other side. Until someone comes up with an agenda that encompasses both sides, politicians will be speaking to only half of the country at a time.

The trends:

  • Blue districts tend to have more households with incomes above $200,000 than red districts do.
  • But blue districts also tend to have more households with incomes below $10,000 than red districts do.
  • Blue districts are more likely to have high levels of income variation than red districts. Red districts have more people with similar incomes.

Between the lines: There's inequality within districts and inequality between districts. Yet neither party has successfully leveled the playing field while in control.

  • Democrats speak about policies that redistribute wealth and reduce income inequality because they live in unequal places.
  • Republicans resent the lecturing of "liberal elites" and embrace policies that promote opportunity, because they live in places where people are generally in similar economic situations.

What they're saying: There's political opportunity in deepening this divide. "Political messaging has always been a driver for people’s partisan affiliations…but what’s more interesting today is that we’re in an age of fear and loss," said Brookings' Nicol Turner-Lee.

  • "The moral of the story is that everyone plays off their base … the base is being driven by the fears of their own lived realities in the economy," Turner-Lee continued.
  • When there are big disparities in communities, "that is top of your mind in your speeches and the issues that you care about. But if you’re [seeing] it’s not that big of a problem … then your focus shifts away," said the American Enterprise Institute's Aparna Mathur.

Yes, but: There's huge political opportunity in bridging the divide, too. “Whoever can deconstruct these messages would be highly successful in winning the national election," Turner-Lee said.

Go deeper:

Blue districts have higher uninsured rates and more poverty

Wave watch: How the special elections could predict the midterms

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Wall Street fears meltdown over election and Supreme Court

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and President Trump's vow to name her replacement to the Supreme Court before November's election are amplifying Wall Street's worries about major volatility and market losses ahead of and even after the election.

The big picture: The 2020 election is the most expensive event risk on record, per Bloomberg — with insurance bets on implied volatility six times their normal level, according to JPMorgan analysts. And it could take days or even weeks to count the record number of mail-in ballots and declare a winner.

Election clues county by county

Ipsos and the University of Virginia's Center for Politics are out with an interactive U.S. map that goes down to the county level to track changes in public sentiment that could decide the presidential election.

How it works: The 2020 Political Atlas tracks President Trump's approval ratings, interest around the coronavirus, what's dominating social media and other measures, with polling updated daily — enhancing UVA's "Crystal Ball."

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 31,605,656 — Total deaths: 970,934 Total recoveries: 21,747,491Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,897,432 — Total deaths: 200,814 — Total recoveries: 2,646,959 — Total tests: 96,612,436Map.
  3. Health: The U.S. reaches 200,000 coronavirus deaths — The CDC's crumbling reputation — America turns against coronavirus vaccine.
  4. Politics: Elected officials are failing us on much-needed stimulus.
  5. Business: Two-thirds of business leaders think pandemic will lead to permanent changes — Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus.
  6. Sports: NFL fines maskless coaches.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!