The ever widening gap between Red and Blue America exists mainly among the wealthy.
The New York Times reports that a study based on exit polls shows lower-income Americans, whether from Blue or Red states, tend to favour the Democratic Party. The divide seems to be the battleground of more well-to-do voters.
To picture this, imagine two alternative universes for the 2012
election. In the first, only individuals making less than $50,000 a year
can vote; in the second, only those making more than $100,000 a year
can. Based on exit polls from Election Day, we have a decent idea of how
these scenarios would play out.
In the first universe, Barack
Obama wins in a 1984-style landslide, with a near sweep of the Electoral
College and around 60 percent of the popular vote.
In the second
universe, Mitt Romney wins with a healthy 54 percent of the popular
vote. Though he still carries the red states, a landslide remains out of
his grasp — wealthy voters in blue states like New York and California
still support Obama by comfortable margins.
Remarkably, this same pattern has occurred in every presidential
contest over the past twenty years. Lower-income voters consistently
support the Democratic candidate in nearly every state. Upper-income
voters, on the other hand, are more mixed in their political views:
wealthy voters in Mississippi are strongly Republican while wealthy
voters in Massachusetts are strongly Democratic. Extensive analyses of
survey information from these elections show that this relationship
holds even when controlling for age, race, sex and education.
other words, contrary to what you have heard, there’s only a strong red
America-blue America split toward the top of the income distribution.
Toward the bottom, the electoral map is a sea of blue.
It still seems hard to grasp that when rich and poor are tabulated together, Obama edged out Romney by just a couple of points. That suggests an America today of enormous affluence in which lower-income voters make up a small minority.