Saturday, November 11, 2006

Demographics of the Democratic Victory

This CNN poll (courtesy of Mahblog) should (but probably will not) decisively refute the myth of the elitist blue stater. Support for Republicans correlated positively with income, ranging from the 7% of voters earning under $15,000 per year who favored Democrats 67% to 30% to the 5% of voters earning over $200,000 per year, who favored Republicans 53% to 45%. (Exception: Members of the $75,000 to $100,000 bracket favored Democrats slightly more thatn the $50,000 to $75,000 bracket. The difference was small -- 52% vs. 50%). Support for Republicans also correlated positively with education, but the correlation was weaker and more complex. High school dropout favored Democrats 64% to 35% and support edged over to Republicans as education increased up to college graduates, who were evenly divided, 49% to 49%. Among post-graduates, support swung back to Democrats, 58% to 41%.

Nor is it clear, as some conventional wisdom claims, that Republicans are the wave of the future because the devout have more children than the secular. The age group voting most strongly Democratic were people under 30, who favored Democrats 60% to 38%. However, this young group made up only 12% of all voters.

The poll makes clear why Republicans place such emphasis on the support of white evangelical Christians -- they were by far the strongest Republicans of any demographic, supporting the GOP by a margin of 70% to 28%. They are also a substantial voting bloc, making up 24% of the population. Democrats have no base of comparable size and loyalty. The most important Democratic voting blocs were racial minorities (blacks made up 10% of voters and voted 89% Democrat; Hispanics were 8% of the voting public and voted 69% Democrat and Asians were 2% of voters and voted 62% Democrat) and people with incomes under $50,000 a year; 40% of the population voting 60% Democrat. These groups are either smaller than white Evangelicals or less consistently loyal.

All these findings should be accepted with an important caveat. The Democrats were much more successful in this election than they have been since the Reagan era. These percentages are therefor more favorable to Democrats (probably across the board) than they would be in a typical year. However, there is no reason to believe the general trends of which group supports which party are atypical.

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