Skip to comments.Parties’ ‘no-show’ problem (Salena Zito)
Posted on 12/04/2012 8:28:19 PM PST by neverdem
Our political parties have an alarming problem with white middle-class voters.
Both parties failed to connect with them in this presidential election from rural voters in the Midwest, Plains and Allegheny Mountains to Iowas Reagan Democrats (who did not show up for Republican Mitt Romney), as well as along the Appalachian Trail from New York to Mississippi (which rejected Democrat Barack Obama).
Many pundits point to high turnout by minorities and young people as the key component of Obamas victory. But Sean Trende, an analyst at RealClearPolitics, points to a problem that flew under the radar: White voters did not turn out, and they did not turn out in significant numbers.
Trende estimated (because not all final counts are in yet) that, on Election Day, about 91.6 million votes were cast by whites, 16.6 million by blacks, 12.7 million by Latinos and 6.3 million by other groups.
Compare this with 2008, when there were 98.6 million white voters, 16.3 million blacks, 11 million Latinos and 5.9 million from other groups.
Assuming 7 million white votes are outstanding, he estimated that the African-American vote only increased by about 300,000 votes, or 0.2 percent, from 2008 to 2012. The Latino vote increased by a healthier 1.7 million votes, while the other category increased by about 470,000 votes.
What stands out to Trende is the decline in the number of whites for both parties.
Lara Brown, an expert on the Electoral College, believes Democrats have a problem with middle-class whites showing up in weak numbers, while Republicans have a problem with whites just not showing up.
The real difference between those voters is what their jobs are, she explained. Democrats have a problem with blue-collar workers and Republicans are having a problem with more rural voters like farmers.
A University of Virginia Center for Politics analysis outlines the loss of the blue-collar segment of the Democrats coalition in the part of Appalachia stretching south from New York, including chunks of the Rust Belt that once were decent sources of votes for Democrat presidential candidates.
The analysis shows Southern Democrats Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton fared well in that area. Carter won more than two-thirds of those 428 Appalachian counties in 1976, and Clinton won close to half.
Obama won only 7 percent of those counties in his re-election and lost every county in West Virginia. Romneys white-vote problem was nowhere more glaring than in Ohio, according to Brown. She compared exit polls from 2012 and 2004, when Republicans won the state during George W. Bushs re-election.
The percentage of rural voters in the electorate declined by 6 percentage points, while the percentage of urban voters remained the same in both elections, she said, adding that the number of suburban voters increased by 6 percentage points.
What is interesting is that Romney did not have a problem with suburban voters, said Brown. Romney outperformed Obama in Ohio with suburban whites. Bush lost those voters to Kerry, 49-51, while Romney beat Obama, 51-47.
So, if Obama sees no increase in urban voters over Kerry in Ohio and loses suburban voters, the problem points to the rural voter just not showing up.
Brown points back to the heated Ohio GOP primary between Romney and Rick Santorum as evidence that the former Massachusetts governor had a difficult time connecting with voters who could have handed him the state in the general election.
Well, its hard to calculate whether or not Santorums primary voters did cast votes for Romney, she said. It is fascinating to look at the total number of votes Santorum earned in 41 rural counties, which was 127,795 and to then note Romney lost Ohio to Obama by about 107,000 votes.
No easy conclusion for either political party can be reached from any of this data, at least not yet.
But the substantial dive in white-voter participation for both presidential candidates is clearly a concern that each partys establishment needs to review.
Salena Zito covers politics for Trib Total Media (412-320-7879 or email@example.com).
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Hard-working white voters getting pushed out of their jobs, seeing the economy collapse around them, social security recipients figuring that both parties will try after the election to balance the budget on the backs of Social Security recipients by reconfiguring the COLA, not trusting the deal-makers of both parties not to hurt the little person, all this might have kept turnout lower than before.
Farmers are smarter than city folk, or they couldn’t be farmers in today’s economy. And don’t start yammering about farm subsidies. Those go to Black, Brown and Indian farmers after 80% of the USDA budget goes to feeding The Poor with food stamps, WIC and free school lunches. White farmers know they are losing their freedom every day. City dwellers haven’t caught on yet.
Is this surprising when both parties spend an undue amount time and money pandering to minorities. We are living in an era of the tyranny of minorities.
Now, before the flames go on, think about it.
The pro-life people only had Romney's change of heart, no guarantees. The anti-Obamacare people had no real guarantee from the man who ushered in the pilot project in Massachusetts. Pro-firearm people were looking at the one who signed the AWB in that same state, and after that, words are cheap in an election year. There was a guy running on his hopey/changey/blame his predecessors platform, and another guy standing on a platform of planks which had just been flipped over.
Yes, I voted--after all I have always seen doing so as my duty--as I see it as my duty to be informed.
Few, relativley speaking, are so dilligent.
With the MSM in control of most of what people heard, small wonder people who knew even a little were uninspired, and the growing perception that both parties are becoming the Coke/Pepsi of politics is almost enough to get a person to drink RC.
Now, the Republican Party is once again conspicuously throwing conservatives under the bus, stripping them of important committee assignments in the House.
With such efforts to ensure a significant bloc of voters are as disenfranchised as possible, is it any wonder people are staying home?
So by not showing up to vote, they guaranteed it would continue and accelerate.
Thank you for that post.
I couldn’t have said it better.
Vote for what? Either way, it was going to happen.
We coulda made it harder for it to happen...
Maybe even slowed it down if not completely stopped it.
The best and brightest are turned off by the current stagnated, divisive American political/media hit machine and the anal probe that goes along with it.
And the corollary to that is:
If God had intended us to vote he would have given us candidates.