Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Education, Income Weighted Vote Poor Voter Turnout in Lower Incomes Helped Gop Dominate Election

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Education, Income Weighted Vote Poor Voter Turnout in Lower Incomes Helped Gop Dominate Election

Article excerpt

FORGET THE NOTION that the 1994 GOP sweep was just due to "angry white males" voting in unprecedented numbers, says the Census Bureau.

A post-election survey of 60,000 households - much more detailed than the typical national poll of 1,500 persons - found little change in the electorate's racial and gender composition from past years when it gave Democrats control of Congress.

But there were significant swings that indicate the tide was swelled by middle- and upper-middle class voters angry at Democrats, while poorer, less educated voters stayed home in greater numbers.

Voters whose formal educations ended in high school and those with incomes of less than $25,000 didn't vote in numbers proportional to their share of the population.

Those who went to college and had incomes above $25,000 did. The higher the income and educational level, the greater the overrepresentation in voting last fall.

Traditionally there's been a strong correlation between education, income and partisan voting. The higher a voter is on the socioeconomic scale, the more likely he or she is to support Republicans.

But the huge disparity in turnout based on those factors is unusual.

Even though current polls show that overall Americans are skeptical of government, some Democrats have argued that in order to energize traditional party voters, President Bill Clinton must emphasize what government can do for people.

Despite post-election hype about the GOP's landslide being due to "angry white males" turning out in large numbers, the actual data show otherwise, the Census Bureau said.

"It wasn't just angry white men who turned out," said Census Bureau demographer Lynne Casper.

In fact, the share of those voting who were men varied little from the 1986 and 1990 off-year elections, which the Democrats swept. In 1986 and 1990, 47.1 percent of the voters were male; in 1994, 47. …

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