About the Poll
poll surveyed 1,947 Americans who cast ballots in 2008, with special samples
drawn of black voters, low-income voters, and voters under the age of 30. This allowed Project Vote to make reliable comparisons
among these three groups, self-identified Tea Party sympathizers, and a
representative sample of the 2008 electorate.
poll was written and analyzed by Dr. Lorraine Minnite, Project Vote Researcher
Director and associate professor of Political Science at Barnard College, and
conducted by Discovery Research Group between July 7, 2010 and August 11, 2010.
Dr. Minnite holds a Ph.D. in political science and is a scholar of voting trends,
social change, and institutional reform.
About the 2008
High participation rates by historically
disadvantaged groups and youth made the 2008 election the most diverse in our
- Nonwhite groups increased their share of the 2008 electorate by
nearly 3 percentage points from 2004, 19% to 21%.
- African-American turnout nearly equaled white turnout, 65% to 66%,
with African-American women voting at the highest rate of all voter groups.
- There were 2.3 million more “youth” in 2008 compared to 2004.
- Very low-income voters surged, making up 34% of all new voters in
2008, compared to 18% in 2004.
Views of Black Voters, Low-Income Voters, and Youth Voters
Black voters, low-income voters, and young voters share a
common expectation that government should provide for the needs of all
Americans rather than limit its activities to national security and police
protection. This value translates into support for increased spending on
infrastructure and public education and maintaining or increasing spending on
income security programs such as Food Stamps.
- Black voters, low-income voters, and
young voters together make up 32% of the electorate. (Tea Party sympathizers
make up 29% of the electorate, and all other voters make 39% of the electorate.)
- Strong majorities of black voters (71%), young
voters (59%), and low-income voters (60.5%) agree that government should work
to provide for the needs of all citizens. Fifty percent of all voters agree
with that sentiment. Only 20% of Tea Party sympathizers
- Strong majorities of black voters (71%), young
voters (71%), and low-income voters (67%) support spending money on
infrastructure, as do 68% of all 2008 voters.
- Majorities of black voters (90%), young voters
(84%), and low-income voters (71%) support increased spending on education, as do
65% of all voters, but only 40% of Tea Party sympathizers
- Majorities of black voters (74%), young voters
(68%), and low-income voters (75%), as well as a majority of all voters (58%),
support spending the same or more on income support programs such as Food
Stamps for less well-off Americans. Nearly two-thirds of Tea Party sympathizers
(62%) support spending less.
- Majorities of black voters, young income voters,
and low-income voters, similar to a majority of all 2008 voters, support
increasing taxes on investment income, increasing social security taxes on
incomes greater than $107,000 and ending combat operations in Iraq and
How the Views of Black, Low-Income, and Youth Voters Compare with the National Sample
and policy preferences of these three voting constituencies are mostly aligned
with a representative sample of all voters, but in many cases are more strongly
held. For example:
About the Tea Party
- Whereas 65% of all voters support spending more on
public education, 90% of African-Americans, 84% of young Americans, and 71% of
low-income voters support increased spending on public education. Forty-one
percent of Tea Party sympathizers support more spending.
- Whereas a majority of all voters (58%) support
spending the same or more on income support programs such as Food Stamps for
less well-off Americans, stronger majorities of black voters (74%), young
voters (68%), and low-income voters (75%) support spending the same or more.
Only 33% of Tea party sympathizers share that view.
- Whereas 30% of all 2008 voters strongly favor ending
combat operations on Iraq and Afghanistan to reduce the deficit, 44% of Black
voters, 38% of young voters, and 39% of low-income voters strongly favor it.
Only 17% of Tea Party sympathizers strongly agree.
sympathizers are predominantly white, older, and affluent. Their views on the
role of government and government spending are not only starkly different from
black voters, young voters, and low-income voters, but from the majority view
of a representative sample of all 2008 voters.
- 76% of Tea
Party sympathizes reported their personal financial situation as fairly good or
very good; 76% are married; 78% went to college; 84% are working or retired;
and 92% are White.
- Less than
6% of Tea Party sympathizers reported having to worry about buying food for
their families in the past year compared to 39% of low-income voters, 37% of
black voters and 21% of young voters.
Please see the full report and topline results for more information.