Dem de la Crème
BY KARL ZINSMEISTER
Monday, September 6, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT
Democrats: the party of the little guy. Republicans: the party of the wealthy. Those images of America’s two major political wings have been frozen for generations.
The stereotypes were always a little off, incomplete, exaggerated. (Can you say Adlai Stevenson?) But like most stereotypes, they reflected rough truths.
No more. Starting in the 1960s and ’70s, whole blocs of “little guys”–ethnics, rural residents, evangelicals, cops, construction workers, homemakers, military veterans–began moving into the Republican column. And big chunks of America’s rich elite–financiers, academics, heiresses, media barons, software millionaires, entertainers–drifted into the Democratic Party.
The extent to which the parties have flipped positions on the little-guy/rich-guy divide is illustrated by research from the Ipsos-Reid polling firm. Comparing counties that voted strongly for George W. Bush to those that voted strongly for Al Gore in the 2000 election, the study shows that in pro-Bush counties, only 7% of voters earned at least $100,000, while 38% had household incomes below $30,000. In the pro-Gore counties, fully 14% pulled in $100,000 or more, while 29% earned less than $30,000.
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