Friday, November 16, 2007

WSJ: Affluent Voters Switch Brands

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent piece today on the shifting voting patterns of the wealthy. The Journal traveled to traditional- Republican- turned- swing state, Colorado, and spoke with people who have altered their allegiance in favor of Democrats.

Take James Kelly, an executive at the $7B firm Vistar, who supports Barack Obama. For all the Democrats' talk about rolling back the Bush tax cuts on top wage earners, Mr. Kelly still writes big checks to Democrats.

From the article:

"The Democratic Party stands more for creating equal opportunity," says Mr. Kelley. He says the party "speaks more to me on issues of the environment, and even more to me on national security," while he criticizes Republican stands on "so-called moral issues" such as gay marriage.

As for proposals by Democratic congressional leaders and presidential contenders to raise taxes on high earners, Mr. Kelley says: "The pocketbook, the taxes, that's issue 11. And the balance has swayed so far in [favor of] the 10 other things."
It's a pattern that has developed nationally over the last four years. In 2004, voters making at least six-figures favored President Bush 58% to 41% over Democrat John Kerry. During last year's Congressional races the margin was cut to 51% to 47%. According to a new Wall Street Journal- NBC News poll, "Americans earning more than $100,000 want Democrats to win the White House next year by 48% to 41%, and want Democrats to win control of Congress by 45% to 42%."

And don't think that shift hasn't already been felt in the '08 fund-raising race, where the top 5 Dems have raised $242M to their conservative counterparts' $167M.

In my opinion, the shift seems to be the product of the deep division the Republican party has dealt with post- Reagan, between social and fiscal conservatives. The uneasy truce between the two appears to have faded, and we now see the fallout. The social conservatives are having a hard time backing a candidate like Rudy Giuliani, and the fiscal conservatives are so turned off by the party's recent priorities that they've defected.

The old adage says that people will always vote their pocketbooks, but it seems that, like much of the traditional wisdom in this election cycle, has undergone a profound change.


EMAN said...

90% chance that James Kelly is in the closet

Anonymous said...


Chris Meehan said...

actually, if you read the article it talks about his wife as well

Goose said...

that never stopped people (read governor of NJ)