As technology gets smarter, there's a very real threat that people's jobs will be replaced with robots and algorithms.
Routine jobs, which include anything that can be completed following explicit rules such as metal workers, truck drivers, cashiers, and customer service reps, are at most risk of being displaced by technology. Since 2000, all job growth has been in non-routine jobs, including higher wage managerial and professional occupations and lower wage service jobs.
Jed Kolko, a staffer for FiveThirtyEight, reports that of the top 10 metros with the lowest share of routine jobs, all of them favored Obama in the 2012 election. Of the top 10 metros with the highest share of routine jobs, eight of them favored Mitt Romney in 2012.
None of this data suggests that routine jobs make people vote Republican, or that red-leaning metros attract routine jobs or repel non-routine ones. But the simple correlation alone — without any causality — suggests that automation may turn out to be a partisan issue. Red metros have a higher share of routine jobs, and their economies are therefore more at risk from automation. Blue America is not only at lower risk from automation, but stands to reap more of its benefits because tech hubs — where the developers of the algorithms and robots are — lean strongly blue.