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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Income and Education Do Not Divide Obama’s Friends and Enemies

Want to know why some of us political junkies get so obsessed with getting hold of “crosstabs” for polls that break down responses by various demographic categories? Look no further than the latest ABC/Washington Post poll, which showed a fairly polarized electorate (if leaning pretty heavily in the President’s direction) in terms of approval or disapproval of the President’s job performance.
But with the crosstabs, which were released yesterday, we can identify some dogs that really don’t bark in explaining support or lack of support for Obama.
Most notable are the close similarities of approval/disapproval ratios for voters in households earning more than $50,000 (62/32) and those earning less (67-30), and for voters with (64/33) and without (65/30) college educations. In case you think race or ethnicity distorts those numbers, the ratio for whites earning more than $50,000 is 60/35, and for whites earning less than $50,000 is 61/37. Whites with college education split 63/35, while whites without college–normally a bad demographic category for Democrats–favor Obama 59/37.
Other findings that might surprise you: white voters positively assess Obama’s job performance by 60/36; men by 61/35; southerners by 59/35; and white southerners by 49/46.
Meanwhile, one of the largest gaps other than party ID and ideology is between white evangelical Protestants (38/56) and white non-evangelical Protestants (61/33). White Catholics (58/38) are a lot closer to their mainline brethren than to the evangelicals with whom elements of the Catholic hierarchy have aligned themselves on cultural issues, illustrating my argument that intra-communal political disagreements have now trumped the old Catholic-Protestant divisions on politics.
So next time you hear the talking heads on television yammering about some top-line poll finding–and they do it nearly every day–toss a beer can at the screen and say: “What about the crosstabs?”

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