John Quiggin: Crooked Timber:
Andrew Gelman has a big data set…. Andrew kindly sent me the data, which classifies voters by education (5 levels), income (5 categories) and race/ethnicity(4), for a total of 100 categories, and gives, for each group the proportion voting Republican….
To focus on the claim about the white working class, I’ve divided the 100 categories into four roughly equal-sized groups:
- working class whites (income less than 40K),
- middle/high income whites with [college degrees]…
- middle/high income whites without college degrees, and
- all non-whites.
Then I’ve looked at how many votes the Republicans got from each group in 2008.
As the pie chart… illustrates, the biggest group in the Republican voting base, and the group with which they do best (given as a percentage with the group name) is that of middle/high income whites without college degrees. There’s nothing surprising in this, since all three variables are correlated with Republican voting. It’s the practice of calling this group “working class” that causes the confusion…. [T]he extreme case is that of high-school educated whites with incomes over $150K, 81.7 per cent of whom supported the Republicans in 2008. They’re… 1 per cent of the sample…. The two remaining groups of white voters are split pretty evenly between Reps and Dems, while, as is well known, non-white voters strongly favor the Dems…