News Release

Election Results: The Income Divide

THOMAS FERGUSON [email]
Ferguson is professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, senior fellow of the Roosevelt Institute, and contributing editor at AlterNet. He said today: “Now that it’s over, it’s time to take stock. All counts are incomplete, but something like 116 million votes were cast. The presidential election alone cost about $2.6 billion, or a bit more than $22 dollars per vote. But that money wasn’t spread evenly over America; in battleground states like Ohio, the sums per voter were much larger.

“Now look at the exit poll in today’s New York Times. Yes, indeed, Obama did very well among women, Latinos, and African-Americans. But in sharp contrast to 2008, the partisan split along income lines is huge. Obama’s vote percentage declines in straight line fashion as income rises. He got 63 percent of the votes of Americans making less than $30,000 and 57 percent of those making between $30,000 and $50,000. Above $50,000, the Other America kicks in. Romney won 53 percent of the votes of Americans making between $50 and a $100 thousand and 54 percent of the votes of Americans making above $100,000. The Democrats’ poor showing in the House elections — they way under-performed for a party that had lost so many seats two years before — probably reflects a substantial Republican advantage in money, including the famous Superpacs, some of which poured resources into Congressional races. It was surely also affected by the White House’s reluctance to spend time and resources trying to elect Democratic House candidates. As the President negotiates for a Grand Bargain in the face of the Fiscal Cliff, these are realities that are worth pondering.”