Monday, August 24, 2009

Class, Education, and the Republican Field

There are remarkable differences in how Republican voters view Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin based on their class and education level.

Among Republicans who make less than 25k a year 73% view Palin favorably but only 38% say they like Romney. Expand that to less than 50k a year and the gap closes but is still pretty wide- 75% with a positive opinion of Palin to 46% for Romney.

At the top of the pay scale it's a different story. Among GOP voters who make 75k on up the two are equally popular, with each seen positively by 66%. And when you restrict it those who make over 100k, Romney becomes the more popular one at 74% to Palin's 61%.

The divide is even wider on education level, at least at the low end. Among Republicans who have no schooling beyond high school 78% view Palin favorably while only 29% have a positive opinion of Romney. Expand that group to people who have some college education short of a four year degree and the gap narrows a little bit but remains wide at 72% favorable for Palin and 45% for Romney.

If Romney's going to win the nomination in 2012 he probably has to convince downscale GOP voters that he understands and shares their values and isn't just some rich guy who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. And Palin's going to need to be able to convince wealthier Republicans that she's not just a social conservative, but also someone who can bring good leadership to the table that helps businesses and the economy.


Anonymous said...


I think you are overstating the issue. Palin is still popular with wealthy GOP voters (66% with 75-100K and 61% with over 100K) while Romney is not popular with lower-income GOP voters and GOP voters who have not finished college or just attended high school.

In other words, she's close to him among the wealthy GOP voters but he's miles away from her among non-wealthy GOP voters.

Jeremy said...

Tom, kudos to you for following that methodologically embarrassing 'birther' poll with something that can give some hard data to say what you wanted to say all along - the ignorant support Palin.

To give a bit of a different spin, though, your useful numbers show that Palin actually has great favorables across the board, and the cheese powder on the 'birther' cheese puff you tried to serve up has been soundly buried by your subsequent work - Palin as the exclusive provenance of the ignorant doesn't stand up to these numbers at all. She has enviable support all the way up and down the educational and income ladders.

And for elections purposes, those unwashed masses out there get just as many votes as you or I, and our government is actually designed to let them trump the elites whenever they want to.

Jeremy said...

Hi Tom,

Can you tell us where we can get the complete numbers on this? You haven't told us anything here about Palin's support among people with Bachelors degree and higher (Why is that?)

This poll says some fascinating things about what's happening in this field and digging deep will yield good strategic information.

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