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Goodbye, Reagan Democrats? November 11, 2008

Posted by neoavatara in Politics.
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Democratic Pollster Stanley Greenberg has an analysis of voting this year in Oakland and Macomb Counties in Michigan, just outside of Detroit.  Macomb County is often pointed to as a barometer for Reagan Democrats.

As a brief synopsis:  Macomb county, which is less educated and more middle class, voted barely for Obama; while the more affluent, more educated Oakland County voted for Obama by 15 points, or 96,000 votes.  He points to the more liberal mindedness of Oakland County, and argues that this shows why Reagan Democrats are now irrelevant.

First, let us realize something.  Most people voting now were not of voting age in 1980…so there are very few real Reagan Democrats around.  These are now blue collar, largely union voters we are talking about.

Second, Oakland County has trended Democrat for the past few elections…but this County has large Democrat populations.  There is a large union component, large Jewish population, and fair number of immigrants and other minorities; I know this well, since I grew up in Oakland County.

But the key thing Greenberg, as an outsider, doesn’t understand?  Oakland County is made up atleast 40% of INDEPENDENTS.  This group made up swing voters this year.  Remember, just 4 short years ago Bush won this county…and won it large in 2000.  This isn’t a demographic shift.  It simply is explained that Obama won Independents nationwide…and the same happened in Oakland County.

I respect Greenberg, he is an excellent pollster…but in this specific example, he is blowing the vote out of proportion from reality.

Again, people are trying to make this a transformational election.  What it was, in fact, was a very traditional election.  Bill Clinton won Oakland County twice.  George Bush won Oakland County twice.  The lesson here is, to win a Presidential election, win the middle and independents; which is exactly what Mr. Obama did.



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