As Republicans move closer to 2010 there are some things that they must keep in mind as the GOP appeals for support from both Republican voters and the general public:
Republican voters are not monolithic, and can be quite contrarian. While the right tends to make a lot of noise, support for President Obama dropped the most among Republican moderates and liberals (-22%) between June and July 2009. Support among conservatives dropped -12%. (4)
Without any majority appeal to voter groups other than white Americans over the age of 40, a troubling indicator for the GOP is “income”. White Americans with income above $75,000 actually increased their support for President Obama between June and July 2009 (+2%), whereas support dropped 10% among those earning less than $75,000. (4)
With exception to AK, GA, ID, LA, MS, OK, UT, and WY, young voters since 2004 have strongly or overwhelmingly (70%+) voted Democratic. There is a virtual tie among young voter loyalties in AR and WV. (3) Historically, young voters tend to stay with the same party if they vote two or more times in a row for that party. Without a major shift in demographics towards the GOP, even should the Republicans pull an upset win within the next 4-6 years it may be a short-lived victory once younger voters enter their 30s and 40s — at which time voters become more likely to vote.
Within Republican-controlled red states, but not Democratic blue states (1):
- Income tends to be a predictor of how important issues are. The higher a voter’s income the more important specific issues are to the voter.
- Lower income voters are less likely to lean heavily one way or the other on issues other than economic.
- Issues become more important the more often a person attends church.
Media concentration within these four major markets — New York, Maryland, Virginia, and California — results in issue discussion saturation which tends to negate the relationship between income and issues; translation: appeals to voters must be broad-based across the income spectrum. It is impossible for someone living in these regions not to be constantly exposed to an issue’s pros and cons. (1) Due to their size, these four states contain a major portion of electoral votes and are must win battlegrounds.
Black middle-class urban voters focus heavily on social issues regardless of income or age, whereas white voters tend to vote on economic issues. GOP focus on primarily economic issues does not have traction with the black urban middle class. (2)
1 – How Republican and Democratic Voters Differ, Apr 2009, http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/04/20/how_republican_and_democratic_voters_differ/
2 – Day, S. D. , 2004-04-15 “Urban Black Voters v. Black Middle Class Voters: Is a Second Realignment Possible to the Republican Party”, http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/0/8/2/4/6/p82462_index.html
3 – U.S. Election Atlas, http://www.uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=100143.0
4 – Pew Research Center, 2009, http://people-press.org/report/?pageid=1559