Tag Archives: democracy

The myth of the myth of Trump’s working-class support

Data journalism! Good lord. Trump voters have a higher median income than the population as a whole:

As compared with most Americans, Trump’s voters are better off. The median household income of a Trump voter so far in the primaries is about $72,000, based on estimates derived from exit polls and Census Bureau data. That’s lower than the $91,000 median for Kasich voters. But it’s well above the national median household income of about $56,000. It’s also higher than the median income for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters, which is around $61,000 for both. …

Ted Cruz voters have a similar median income to Trump supporters — about $73,000. Kasich’s supporters have a very high median income, $91,000, and it has exceeded $100,000 in several states. Rubio’s voters, not displayed in the table above, followed a similar pattern to Kasich voters, with a median income of $88,000.

In other words, every candidate’s supporters have a median household income higher than the national average. Why should we be surprised that Trump’s do? Trump’s supporters have a lower median income than any other major Republican candidate’s, and that’s taking into account that Trump is most popular on the East Coast, where the cost of living is higher.

But it gets worse. The median isn’t even relevant here. To judge whether Trump has working-class support, we should look directly at the working class. Let’s say the working class is anyone who never went to college, and look at some state-level exit polls. (This won’t be a thorough statistical analysis, and it could be that the states I don’t look at show the opposite pattern, but I’ll take all of the first states and a few of the last.)

In Iowa, Trump won 32% of voters with an education level of high school or less, and Cruz won 28%. (Trump also won 34% of moderates in Iowa. 28% went to Rubio, and no other candidate won more than 10% of them.)

In New Hampshire, Trump won every single demographic the exit poll measured, except people who think the most important quality in a candidate is sharing their values (21% Cruz, 20% Kasich, 13% Rubio, 13% Trump), people who are only somewhat worried about the US economy (27% Kasich, 25% Trump), people who oppose a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US (26% Kasich, 17% Bush, 16% Trump), people who think the next president should be experienced in politics  (27% Kasich, 21% Bush, 17% Rubio, 14% Cruz, 11% Christie, 6% Trump), people who won’t be satisfied if Trump wins the nomination (29% Kasich, 20% Bush, 17% Rubio, 14% Cruz, 10% Christie, 5% Fiorina, 3% Carson, 2% Trump), people who think Kasich would best handle the economy (who make up 18% of their sample, as opposed to 41% for Trump; no other candidate scored high enough for CNN to provide a breakdown), and people who had only decided who to vote for in the last few days (24% Kasich, 22% Trump). This looks like a lot in text, but it’s only seven of a few dozen categories; and, remember, Trump won all of the rest.

In South Carolina, Trump won 45% of voters who have never gone to college. He also won every other education demographic, except people with a postgraduate education, where he came second behind Rubio. (Among college attendees as a whole — that is, ‘some college’, ‘graduated college’, and ‘postgraduate’, combined into one category — Rubio won 27% and Trump won 25%.) This exit poll has income data; Trump won every income demographic, but tied in $100k-$200k.

In Nevada, Trump won every education demographic.

In Alabama, he tied with Rubio among people with postgraduate education and won every other demographic. The Alabama exit poll has income data, and Trump won every income demographic.

In Arkansas, Trump came third among postgraduates, behind Rubio and Cruz, but won every other income demographic. The Arkansas exit poll has income data, and Trump came second behind Cruz in $50k-$100k and won every other one.

That’s enough of the early states; now let’s look at the late ones. Maybe some other candidates were splitting the vote…

Or maybe not. In Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, Trump won every education demographic and every income demographic.

These are all East Coast states, so maybe the low end is getting cut off. How about Missouri?

In Missouri, Trump won in the high school or less and some college demographics, and came second behind Cruz among college graduates and postgraduates. Cruz won $30k-$50k and $100k-$200k voters, and Trump won $50k-$100k voters; where Trump won, Cruz came second, and vice versa.

In Illinois, Cruz and Kasich tied among postgraduates, and Trump won every other education demographic. Only $50k-$100k and $100k-$200k reached significance for CNN here, but Trump won both.

In Wisconsin, moderates went for Trump and everyone else went for Cruz. (These Inland North people — they’re too nice. Too nice. How do they plan to make it through this century? This century won’t be nice to anyone, believe me.)

The people’s choice

From 1994 to 1997, the artists worked on the series People’s Choice, whereby they created the “most wanted” and “least wanted” paintings of various countries based on the results of surveys conducted by professional polling companies. The book, Painting by Numbers: Komar & Melamid’s Scientific Guide to Art, published in 1997, explains the statistical underpinnings of the polling process and provides the results of each country’s preferences. Komar & Melamid used the same process in 1996–1997 in a collaboration with composer Dave Soldier to create The People’s Choice Music, consisting of “The Most Wanted Song” (a love song with low male and female vocals, of moderate duration, pitch, and tempo) and “The Most Unwanted Song” (in part: an operatic soprano raps over cowboy music featuring least-wanted instruments bagpipes and tuba while children sing about holidays and advertise for Wal-Mart).

The Most Unwanted Song has a Wikipedia page. The Most Wanted Song does not.

The Most Unwanted Song was uploaded to YouTube in September 2012. It has over 238,000 views. It was also uploaded in parts in October 2009. The first part has over 73,000 views. The Most Wanted Song was uploaded in December 2011. It currently has 34,512 views. Here’s the video description:

The Most Unwanted song is easy to find everywhere, but the Most Wanted isn’t – so here it is.

And here’s the first comment:

The funniest thing about this is that I listened to the Most Unwanted song longer. I found it more interesting. Does that make me a hipster?

And here are the replies:

nope, this is a rubbish song. makes sense.

No, I think that’s the point. This song was made based off of what was popular on the radio/what people ‘liked’; the result being that it sounds really samey and not special. The unwanted song was built off of weird things that you don’t hear often, so it’s more interesting. I don’t know what their aim was with this project, but I assume it has something to do with showing how popular music can be quite boring.

See also: Eurovision.