these people, though economic conservatives, are seemingly not afraid that the country is being taken over by Negroes or other minority groups and are not alienated from the body politic. Insofar as they are politically motivated, they are active in the Republican party. In California they united in 1966 behind Ronald Reagan, who embodies the conservative virtues. On a local and congressional level they could find many candidates with kindred opinions in the GOP in 1968. Richard Nixon, who supported Goldwater in 1964 and in turn was strongly supported by him both before and after the Republican convention in 1968, though not as conservative as some of them would have liked, still was sufficiently close to such views to retain the support of most affluent economic conservatives for the Republican party.
Clearly, the more than one-fifth of American adults who indicated a preference for George Wallace in late September and early October included highly varied segments of the population, who supported him for apparently different reasons. The Wallace ideology, as we have noted, contained elements which could appeal to extreme racists, populists, antielitists, and rigid economic conservatives. The backing given to groups like the Birch Society seemingly went to Wallace. Hence, like the two major parties, Wallace had the support of many who believed in trade-unions and the welfare state and of others who thought the country was going down the road of socialism or Communism because of welfare legislation.
We would guess that much of Wallace's middle-class support, particularly outside of the South, came from adherents of extremist groups which perceived the country as the victim of a radical takeover. This group saw in Wallace, not the populist, but the critic of big government and the welfare state. Wallace provided these various population groups with a common conduit for expressing their preservatist and backlash concerns.