Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Parties’ ‘no-show’ problem (Salena Zito)
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ^ | December 1, 2012 | 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 Iowa’s “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 Obama’s 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. Romney’s 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. Bush’s 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, it’s hard to calculate whether or not Santorum’s 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 party’s establishment needs to review.

Salena Zito covers politics for Trib Total Media (412-320-7879 or

Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: whitedevils; zito

1 posted on 12/04/2012 8:28:27 PM PST by neverdem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Salena Zito; upchuck
Thanks Salena. These no-shows sound about as bright as my fellow New Yawkers: Poll finds New Yorkers convinced of climate change
2 posted on 12/04/2012 8:37:38 PM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

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.

3 posted on 12/04/2012 8:47:47 PM PST by Ciexyz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
I still believe many conservatives that sat this one out did by giving up on the political system after Roberts stabbed us in the back. 60-75% (depending when polls were taken) of the population hated Obamacare.

All the steps that were promised (like defunding) and attempted (such as House passage of repeal) have all failed or been stymied by Reid and Zero. When Roberts sat through the first day of oral arguments and took up whether the penalty was a tax and whether the Anti-Injunction Act of 1867 would prohibit the case from being heard, most - including some of the libs - agreed the penalty was not a tax and therefore the case could proceed. Then Roberts announces the mandate is WAS a tax. Anyone following this surely must have felt like I did and realized that America had fallen down the rabbit hole. While I voted, I know some that just said what's the use !!! What good is the House in GOP hands if they will not use all the parliamentary procedures in their power and show us some spine. I have voted for the last national candidates ever.
4 posted on 12/04/2012 9:06:16 PM PST by Cheerio (Barry Hussein Soetoro-0bama=The Complete Destruction of American Capitalism)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

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.

5 posted on 12/05/2012 1:28:29 AM PST by txrefugee
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

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.

6 posted on 12/05/2012 2:41:39 AM PST by monocle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
You want turnout, you have to have a demonstrable difference between the candidates.

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.

How inspiring.


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?

7 posted on 12/05/2012 2:48:33 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ciexyz

So by not showing up to vote, they guaranteed it would continue and accelerate.

Great thinkin....

8 posted on 12/05/2012 3:22:59 AM PST by Adder (No, Mr. Franklin, we could NOT keep it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Smokin' Joe

Thank you for that post.

I couldn’t have said it better.

9 posted on 12/05/2012 4:23:10 AM PST by EricT. (The GOP's sole purpose is to serve as an ineffective alternative to the Democrat Party.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Adder
So by not showing up to vote, they guaranteed it would continue and accelerate.

Vote for what? Either way, it was going to happen.

10 posted on 12/05/2012 4:25:17 AM PST by EricT. (The GOP's sole purpose is to serve as an ineffective alternative to the Democrat Party.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: EricT.

We coulda made it harder for it to happen...

Maybe even slowed it down if not completely stopped it.

11 posted on 12/05/2012 5:06:13 AM PST by Adder (No, Mr. Franklin, we could NOT keep it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

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.

12 posted on 12/05/2012 1:25:10 PM PST by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson