Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A NOVEL BLEND OF MINORITIES AND WEALTH ELECTED OBAMA

Mark J. Penn, Politico - The exit poll demographics show that the fastest growing group of voters in America has been those making over $100,000 a year in income. In 1996, only 9 percent of the electorate said their family income was that high. Last week it had grown to 26 percent - more than one in four voters. And those making over $75,000 are up to 15 percent from 9 percent. Put another way, more than 40 percent of those voting earned over $75,000, making this the highest-income electorate in history.

The poorest segment of the electorate, those making under $15,000, has shrunk from 11 percent to 6 percent over the past dozen years. And those making $15,000 to $30,000 annually - the working poor - also shrunk from 23 percent to 12 percent of the electorate.

At the same time, the voters have become more racially diverse (with white voters dropping 9 points from 1996 to 74 percent of the electorate and minorities) and better educated - voters who had attended some college are surging.

While Obama received record votes from the expanded minority communities, that alone would not have led to victory had he not also secured so much support among the growing professional class - and in doing so went beyond the successful 1996 coalition that also climbed the income ladder to include newly targeted soccer moms. Back then, President Clinton got 38 percent of the vote among those making over $100,000. This year Obama earned 49 percent of that vote. He also got 52 percent of a new polling category - those making over $200,000 a year who were no longer among the top 1 percent of earners, as they had been in past elections, but were now the top 6 per cent.

And for all the talk about the surging youth vote, those under 29 went from 17 percent in 1996 and 17 percent in 2004 to a mere 18 percent of the electorate today . . .

So the fusion of expanded minority voting and the expanded upper class, combined with shifting demographics, were key to Obama's victory. . .

69 percent of all Americans in polls I conducted in recent years now also call themselves "professionals," a new class transcending the old class labels or working or middle class or the wealthy. . .

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