Rachel Maddow pointed out on her show last night that Mitt Romney seems to owe his primary victories so far to one particular demographic group: rich (well, upper middle class) people. Romney is winning with large margins with people making over $100,000 per year, and that demographic is turning out in larger quantities than usual.
We had seen this before with our charts for South Carolina and Florida, so I decided to look at crosstabs data for Ohio, focusing on Income. Rachel was discussing information from NBC exit polls, but I am using CNN exit polls because they are, well, easy to find. Here are the actual crosstabs by Income for Ohio Tuesday night.
I’ve combined Gingrich and Paul into Other for simplicity. Also, it should be noted that the raw data for the CNN crosstabs seems to have Romney and Santorum almost tied at about 37% each.
As Rachel noted, people making over $100,000 made up a rather large portion of the GOP primary voters. I think she said it was 33% in the NBC crosstabs, and it is 30% in the CNN ones here. In 2008, if I remember correctly, she said it was 22%. Mitt Romney seems to be very inspiring to people making more than $100,000 per year.
So, if we adjust our crosstabs graph to make people earning over $100,000 to 20%, and increase the other two income demographics accordingly, it looks like this:
So if voting numbers by income were more similar to 2008, Santorum would have turned a 1% loss into about a 3% victory.
Then again, I should also note that if my aunt were a man, she’d be my uncle. Some disagree.
I’m really not sure if this is a story or not. It might be, I guess. Overall, about 10% of Americans make over $100,000 per year (depending on how you count double income households) so if Romney really is much weaker with voters making less than $100,000 then maybe this is significant. I would never expect lower income Republicans who voted for Not Romney in the primary to vote for Obama in the General, and so it is hard to extrapolate how this would play out with Independents or non-Primary voters.