Thursday, November 06, 2008

Obama and the white vote

Both The Economist and FiveThirtyEight report that Obama received only 43% of the (non-hispanic) white vote:
Great expectations | The Economist 
... Mr Obama lost the white vote, it is true, by 43-55%; but he won almost exactly same share of it as the last three (white) Democratic candidates; Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry....
On October 24th Obama was polling at 44% of the white vote, so the fear-and-smear of the Ayers-filled [1] two weeks before the vote didn't make a lot of difference (though 1% was huge in 2000).

From FiveThirtyEight we get more details on pale skin voting. Here are the Kerry and Obama numbers
Kerry: M (37%), F (44%), net (41%)
Obama: M (41%), F (45%), net (43%)
So The Economist isn't quite right. Obama did about the same as Kerry with white women, but much better than Kerry with white men. More women than men vote, so the big male boost only added 1%.

The last Democrat to win a majority of white voters was Lyndon Johnson -- before he became a champion of civil rights. So Obama did remarkably well by Democratic standards.

So whites prefer the GOP, but it's hard to tell whether this is tribalism or income related. Below $50K Obama support is very high, but you have to go over $200K to again get an Obama majority. Middle class Americans favor the GOP by 1-2%, which is enough to win an election. It's ironic, of course, that Obama's gets a support bump in the group that will be most affected by his tax increases.


[1] So now that it's all over, is he going to be able to sue anyone for libel?

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