THE BUSH DEMOGRAPHICS….Rick Perlstein turns to an expert to figure out what demographic group really helped Bush win the election:
Pundits blow hot air. Political scientists crunch numbers. On his blog Polysigh, my favorite political scientist, Phil Klinkner, ran a simple exercise. Multiplying the turnout among a certain group by the percent who went for Bush yields a number electoral statisticians call “performance.” Among heavy churchgoers, Bush’s performance last time was 25 percent (turnout, 42 percent; percentage of vote, 59 percent). This time out it was also 25 percent?no change. Slightly lower turnout (41 percent), slightly higher rate of vote (61 percent).
Where did the lion’s share of the extra votes come from that gave George Bush his mighty, mighty mandate of 51 percent? “Two of those points,” Klinkner said when reached by phone, “came solely from people making over a 100 grand.” The people who won the election for him?his only significant improvement over his performance four years ago?were rich people, voting for more right-wing class warfare.
It’s true that people with incomes over $100,000 provided Bush with a lot more support than they did in 2000. However, they aren’t the only ones. Using the same formula, here’s a complete list of the groups in which Bush scored a performance improvement of more than 2% compared to 2000:
5.1% among conservatives.
3.5% among women.
3.4% among urban residents.
2.7% among those who think abortion should always be illegal.
2.6% among those over 60.
2.3% among those with incomes over $100,000.
However, a caveat: all of these figures have a sizeable margin of error attached to them, and it’s also not clear how reliable the exit poll data is in the first place. In particular, PolySigh contributor Richard Skinner is dubious about Bush’s supposed improvement among urban dwellers.
One other note: if the abortion number is correct, it’s the only evidence I’ve seen so far that the “moral values” vote really did help Bush more this year than in 2000.