How fascinating. The Pew Research Center just published a look at those Americans who are not expected to vote next Tuesday, based on a recent survey. The summary is here, but a few figures stood out for me that reinforce what I was saying in our discussion on TH.
- PARTY/IDEOLOGY: About 40% of all adults are Republicans or lean GOP, but 50% of likely voters do. People who disapprove of Obama’s performance are 45% of adults but 55% of likely voters. Similarly, self-identified conservatives comprise 39% of all adults but 46% of likely voters. Expected non-voters are more liberal on an issue-by-issue basis than likely voters.
- EDU: About 30% of adults have a college degree, but 40% of likely voters will have one.
- AGE: People under age 30 are 22% of all adults, but only 11% of likely voters.
- INCOME: People making over $75,000 are 33% of the voters, but only 22% of the adult population. Those making less than $30,000 are 30% of adults but only 19% of likely voters.
Tuesday’s results are mainly about 3 big things, rather than campaign messaging and the details of politics that the pundits claim:
- Who votes and who does not in low-turnout midterm elections.
- Unemployment is near 10%. the party in power always loses when the economy is bad. In 1982 Reagan lost many seats in Congress due to a recession.
- The Democratic majorities gained in 2006 and 2008 are so large (60 Senagtors and +87 House seats [Correction: +78, meaning that aGOP pickup of 39 will turn the House]) that they now hold many seats that normally go Republican. Many of the seats that will be lost on Tuesday were an anomoly, anyway, as we revert to a norm.
- Arguably, a fourth factor is the estimated $400 million in secret money being poured into campaigns, almost entirely by a small number of corporations. About 90% of this money (est 7:1 ratio) is being spent to elect Republicans. the amounts are unprecedented in U.S. history.
Of course, big picture fundamentals apply in elections Democrats win, too. In 2008, Obama got elected mainly because of the bad economy and the higher turnout expected in a presidential election year. Still, I like to think that the unbroken record of Republican failure over 8 years — especially in Iraq — had something to do with it, too.
UPDATE: This guy cites a study that found that, given the fundamentals #1-#3 I mentioned above, you would expect the Democrats to lose 45 House seats. Most analysts are predicting a 50-60 seat loss. So, it’s not really a Democratic “failure,” unless you mean a failure to do more to fix the economy. But, Republicans blocked every effort to try to do so. So, you tell me.