Wealthy voters deliver for Mitt Romney

at 06:30 AM ET, 03/07/2012

A funny thing happened on the way to Mitt Romney’s victories in Michigan last week and Ohio on Tuesday:

Rich people showed up to vote. A lot.
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, greet supporters at his Super Tuesday primary night rally in Boston, Tuesday, March 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Exit polls in both Michigan and Ohio show voters making more than $100,000 per year turning out in much higher numbers this year than they did in 2008. And in both cases, they might well have provided the difference for Romney.

In 2008, 22 percent of GOP primary voters in Michigan made at least $100,000, and that group made up 21 percent of the electorate in Ohio, according to exit polls.

This year, 33 percent of voters in Michigan made that much money, while 30 percent of Ohio voters did.

In both cases, the number of wealthy voters grew by about 50 percent — a pretty stunning increase in that demographic over just a four-year span.

And an argument could be made that the increase put Romney over the top.

In both states, Romney won this demographic by 14 points but didn’t win among any other income demographic. And given he won by such small margins overall — 1 point in Ohio and 3 points in Michigan — it’s not unreasonable to think he would have lost those states without the uptick in wealthy voters.

We’ve written before on this blog about how Romney struggles with less well-off voters — a problem that has undoubtedly been exacerbated by some not-so-helpful gaffes showing the candidate to be out-of-touch with average Americans.

The data from Ohio and Michigan, which are generally more blue-collar electorates, suggest that hasn’t really changed for Romney. Along with very conservative voters and born-again Christians, working class voters continue to balk at Romney’s candidacy.

The good news for him is that just enough wealthy people are showing up to overcome that — at least for now.

The return of anti-incumbent sentiment?: Get ready for some more chatter about the anti-incumbent American public.

In the nation’s first congressional primaries on Tuesday night in Ohio, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) lost her primary and former congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Ohio) lost in her bid to return to Congress in a new Democratic-leaning Columbus area district.

(Rep. Dennis Kucinich also lost a primary, but that was against another member of Congress, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, in a merged district.)

More than anything, though, this shows that redistricting can have some unexpected consequences. Schmidt isn’t exactly a beloved figure within the GOP and has often faced primary opposition; the changes made to her district were apparently just enough to push her out of Congress. She lost badly the Hamilton County areas that were added to her district.

Kilroy, meanwhile, was running in a much different district than she represented for one term before her loss in 2010.

Another storyline: A new anti-incumbent group, the Campaign for Primary Accountability, targeted Schmidt and is targeting Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) next week.

N.Y. judge releases proposed map: We’ve got out first hint at what New York’s new congressional map might look like.

A state judge on Tuesday released a proposed map that would eliminate districts held by Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D) and Bob Turner (R). Hinchey is retiring, and Turner won a special election in a heavily Democratic New York City seat last year.

The map also makes things tougher on Reps. Kathy Hochul (D), Chris Gibson (R) and Pete King (R).

The map was drawn in case that state legislature can’t come to an agreement in time for the state’s June primaries. The filing deadline is fast approaching.

For more on the map, stay tuned to The Fix today.

Fixbits:

Gingrich calls himself the “tortoise” of the GOP presidential race.

In other Ohio news, Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher won his primary to face Kaptur, but it’s a steep uphill race.

Must-reads:

GOP race takes toll on front-runner Romney” — Dan Balz, Washington Post

Super Tuesday voters frustrated with Republican campaign, candidates” — Krissah Thompson and Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post

 
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