Can Obama hold together his top-and-bottom coalition?

In my Introduction to The Almanac of American Politics 2010, I noted that Barack Obama was elected by a top-and-bottom coalition: he carried voters with incomes below $50,000 and above $200,000 and lost among those in between.

Tom Edsall, longtime political reporter for the Washington Post, has a fine piece in the New Republic blog on this phenomenon. He notes that low-income voters tend to like Democrats’ health insurance proposals but dislike their cap-and-trade proposals, while upper-income voters tend to take the opposite stand on each. It stands to reason that it’s harder to hold together a top-and-bottom coalition than it is one that is topheavy in the middle of the income spectrum, as John McCain’s was in 2008. But of course Obama’s coalition was larger.

This is not something new. Over their long history, the Republicans have tended to assemble more homogeneous and the Democrats have tended to have more heterogeneous coalition. As a result, Democratic coalition are often larger, but harder to hold together than Republican coalitions.

 

 

Beltway ConfidentialUS

Just Posted

Dominion Voting Systems, a Denver-based vendor, is under contract to supply voting machines for elections in San Francisco. (Kevin N. Hume/Examiner file)
Is San Francisco’s elections director impeding voting machine progress?

Open source technology could break up existing monopoly

The 49ers take on the Packers in Week 3 of the NFL season, before heading into a tough stretch of divisional opponents. (Courtesy San Francisco 49ers)
‘Good for Ball’ or ‘Bad for Ball’ — A Niners analysis

By Mychael Urban Special to The Examiner What’s the first thing that… Continue reading

Health experts praised Salesforce for keeping its Dreamforce conference at Moscone Center outdoors and on a small scale. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Happy birthday, Marc Benioff. Your company did the right thing

Salesforce kept Dreamforce small, which made all kinds of sense

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, pictured with Rose Pak in 2014, says the late Chinatown activist was “helping to guide the community away from the divisions, politically.”
Willie and Rose: How an alliance for the ages shaped SF

How the Mayor and Chinatown activist shaped San Francisco, then and now

The Grove in Golden Gate Park is maintained largely by those who remember San Francisco’s 20,000 AIDS victims.<ins> (Open Eye Pictures/New York Times)</ins>
Looking at COVID through the SF prism of AIDS

AIDS took 40 years to claim 700,000 lives. COVID surpassed that number in 21 months

Most Read