Saturday, January 8, 2011

Racial Polarization

This January 7, 2011 article from National Journal examines polling data and finds that the Democrats have driven off large numbers of white voters, especially blue collar white voters:
Fully 60 percent of whites nationwide backed Republican candidates for the House of Representatives; only 37 percent supported Democrats, according to the National Election Poll exit poll conducted by Edison Research. Not even in Republicans’ 1994 congressional landslide did they win that high a percentage of the white vote.

Moreover, those results may understate the extent of the white flight from the Democratic Party, according to a National Journal analysis of previously unpublished exit-poll data provided by Edison Research.
While minority support for Democrats also declined substantially, they largely remain on the Democratic Party plantation.  I was hoping that Obama's election would finally get us to a post-racial America, but it appears not.  Racial polarization means that the Democrats are now the party of racial minorities and rich whites.  This can't end well.

It turns out that blue collar whites responded negatively to what happened because they perceived Democrats as bailing out the rich--and that is coming from a Democratic pollster:
“This is a fundamental transformation [of attitudes] going back to where it was before 2006 and 2008,” Democratic pollster Mark Mellman says. “Part of it was occasioned by the economy [since 2008]; part of it was occasioned by the response to the economy. People felt government did a lot of big things that were inappropriate. They felt government took care of the big guys—and not me.”
 Well, what a shock!  I would like to think that Republicans are going to behave better, but that's mostly just a hope at this point.  What is interesting is that college educated whites, who presumably have good jobs and higher pay, remain more loyal to the Democrats:
Democrats have been losing support among blue-collar white voters since the 1960s, but in this election, they hit one of their lowest points ever. In House campaigns, the exit poll found, noncollege whites preferred Republicans by nearly 2-to-1 with virtually no gender gap: White working-class women—the so-called waitress moms—gave Republicans almost exactly as many of their votes as blue-collar men did.
There is a long discussion of how college educated whites, especially on the two coasts, remain solidly in support of the Democrats.  I presume this is because they know that the Democrats are the party of income redistribution--upward, from the middle class to the rich. 

If you wonder why Democrats are so intent on increasing the number of illegal immigrants who become citizens, it is pretty simple: you can't win elections in this country with the current levels of black and Hispanic votes combined with money from rich whites.  Before Roe v. Wade (1973), one of the great fears of progressive sorts was that blacks would eventually outreproduce whites.  After that decision, black reproduction rates fell in line with the white population.  The only hope that the Democrats have to continue winning elections is to increase the Hispanic population of the United States, and hope that they don't start voting Republican (as Cuban-Americans have traditionally done).

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