Elections aren’t about whose policies benefit the most people.  Elections are about which candidate voters feel like is “on their side.”  So with that in mind, here is a choice quote from one of Romney’s top campaign strategists about the election, in a op-ed that appeared yesterday on WashingtonPost.com:

On Nov. 6, Romney carried the majority of every economic group except those with less than $50,000 a year in household income. That means he carried the majority of middle-class voters.

Just to put this in context: the income of the median American household is $52,000.

So, according to Romney’s campaign manager “Middle Class” means “above average”–an attitude which reinforces the general popular belief that Romney was out of touch with the everyday needs of Americans.  To win, Romney needed to overcome that notion, and yet his gaffes repeatedly played into it.  Three weeks after the election, Romney’s staff still doesn’t get it.

For anyone trying to understand why Romney lost, you might want to start there.

  2 Responses to “Where All Voters Are Above Average”

  1. I agree with your general point but for the sake of being clean, I think he may have a bit more leeway than you give him credit for. Let’s call “middle class” 25th-75th percentile. The median of that group will be $52,000 (by definition – median of 25-75th percentile is the same as of the total distribution). That’s higher than $50,000. So, half of the middle class plus people making between 50-52k were majority Romney. Since the distribution of medians in this case is going to approximate the Guassian, that 50-52 is the largest population of folks within any $2000 band that’s under median. What that means is that as long as Romney “lost” the people making below $50,000 by a similar margin as he “won” over 50k, then he DID win a majority of the middle class….

  2. The numbers aren’t perfect, but here’s a breakdown of the income levels:

    “Obama’s vote percentage declines in straight line fashion as income rises. He got 63 percent of the votes of Americans making less than $30,000 and 57 percent of those making between $30,000 and $50,000. Above $50,000, the Other America kicks in. Romney won 53 percent of the votes of Americans making between $50 and a $100 thousand and 54 percent of the votes of Americans making above $100,000.”

    (From http://www.accuracy.org/release/election-results-the-income-divide/ )

    That would seem to imply that Obama won the group making just under $50k at a higher rate than Romney won the group making above $50k. (Also, Obama won the election and voting rates are higher among the rich than the poor–which means that Obama almost had to win those below $50k by a sizable margin to make up for his loss among those winning more than $50k.)

    Also, you’re missing the phrase “That means…” in the above quote. He says Romney won among above average incomes, and “That means” that he won the Middle Class–drawing a direct causal connection between the two statements.

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