Well, after enduring a campaign that is starting to rival actual terms of office, the American people have finally had their first say about who should be the next president. The Iowa election results are in. CNN has a breakdown of everything demographic you might want to know about which voters choose whom and it does make for some interesting generalizations, many of which might extrapolated to apply to a much larger electorate. Perhaps even as far a Lincoln, Peoria, or Sioux Falls.
On the Democratic side, Barack Obama just won by a hair, but he led in almost every demographic group. Both sexes found him preferable, as did all income groups, and union as well as non-union members. A couple of other things that stand out are that he had the lead with both folks who had decided who they were voting for a month or more ago, as well as people who had decided in less than the last week. He also showed one of the widest margins in the poling with the preference of first time caucus goers for him. But the big surprise was that he was the preference of women. Only married women as a subset chose Clinton.
Non surprising was that the older you are, the less likely you are to vote for him. It would be overly simplistic to suggest that this was motivated by race but it does follow trends that when race is important to people it is less important to younger people. Good news for the future.
Hillary Clinton was preferred by married folks by a slim margin and married women overall. And surprisingly to me, by rural voters rather than urban and suburban (who preferred Obama). Most people said that experience was the reason they voted for her, something which has always puzzled me. While it is indubitable that Clinton was important to her husband’s decision making, I don’t think that being married to the president is really the same as experience at being president. Although I have known many doctor’s wives that think their marital status confers medical knowledge to them.
John Edwards was preferred by return voters to the caucus, people from 46-65 years old (no doubt due to rampant hysterical Kennedy nostalgia among that age group), and folks calling themselves conservative democrats (nobody on the Republican side calls themselves liberal republicans in the poll). His top qualities were electability and caring.
The subject of electablility is an important one for the Dems, I think. More people choose that as their reason for voting for Clinton than Obama but that seems to be because she has been elected by the press as the front runner. In the real world of a general election Pat Robertson might have said it best when he opined that Satan might not mobilize the Evangelical vote more strongly.
On the Republican side, CNN’s polling didn’t disprove the fractionation of the party. Huckabee won in most categories, being cited as tops in all age groups, both genders, and in all geographic areas. After that the Cerberus heads of the Republican party seem to start choosing sides. If you are a rural or suburban, evangelical conservative, who doesn’t make a whole lot of money and thinks your president’s religious beliefs are very important as long as you agree with them, you probably voted for Huckabee. If you are a rich, non-evangelical who thinks that experience and electability are important, you probably voted for Romney. And if you are independent and pissed off at how things are going, you probably voted for Ron Paul. So there are the three groups of the modern Republican Party laid out for you. People who vote for religious reasons, people who are rich, and the libertarians and Goldwater conservatives who are wondering if the Grand Old Party is over.