Lesson Objectives:- Educational level
- Economic Status
- Religious denomination and religious activity
- Race and ethnicity
- Geographic region
Historically, Republicans have been associated with having a college education, but that correlation is not as strong in recent years. Many people with postgraduate degrees work in professional fields as physicians, attorneys, and college professors, and this group has become mainly Democratic. In the past four elections, voters who were only high school-educated were much more likely to vote Republican compared to previous elections.
In the most general terms, the rich tend to be Republican while the poor tend to be Democrat. It seems logical since the poor would want government intervention in the economy while the rich would want the government to stay out of it.
But, a deeper look into the four-cornered ideological grid reveals that, while being economically conservative, the upper-class is often fairly liberal on cultural issues. Meanwhile, the lower-class trends towards cultural conservatism while being economic liberalists. Libertarians are in the upper right-hand corner as cultural liberals and economic conservatives.
Breaking down the religious community into Protestant and Catholic is ideal because they represent the largest religions in the country, with Protestants making up 46.5% and Catholics making up 20.8%, according to the World Factbook compiled by the CIA.
Historically, Protestants tended to vote Republican while Catholics tended toward Democrat. But, that has changed significantly in recent years as they have come closer together on their political stances. People of no religious affiliation tend to be cultural liberals, but mixed when it comes to economic issues.
In addition to a person's religion, their commitment to their religion seems to have an influence on political stance as well. If a person attends church regularly and adheres to religious beliefs, they tend to be cultural conservatives. However, religious African Americans--regardless of church activity--tend to be Democrats.
Upon gaining the right to vote, African Americans originally voted Republican because it was the party of Abraham Lincoln, and also since they tended towards cultural conservatism. That changed with Roosevelt's New Deal in the 1930s which revealed the economic liberal side of African Americans. They have largely voted Democrat ever since.
Muslims have an interesting voting history. At one time, they were largely Republican; for example, in 2000, 70% of Muslims supported George W. Bush. But since 2011, civil liberties and discrimination issues have largely flipped the Muslim community to vote Democrat.
In another twist, historically, Hispanics voted Republican, but they took a sharp turn during George W. Bush's presidency. President Bush attempted to push through legislation for immigration reform, but the Republicans in Congress refused to back him on this issue. Their harsh rhetoric may have made many Hispanics feel that the Republicans were not on their side.
Once women were granted the right to vote, they largely voted Republican, but as the years passed, a gender gap has developed.
The Gender Gap is the difference between the percentage of women who vote for a particular candidate and the percentage of men who vote for the candidate.
Women tend to differ from men on several issues like capital punishment and the use of military force. They seem to care more about the environment and tend to support welfare. Also, they seem to advocate more for gay rights.
There are states that are consistently Republican red and some that are Democrat blue. Meanwhile, there are states that can decide an election depending on which way they vote in any given election.
In the Obama and Romney race, the South predominantly voted Romney, but Obama found support in the North and going West. Also, Obama was strongly supported in large cities while Romney's support was more rural.