The Balkanization of America

January 9, 2011

As I’ve noted, we now have two voting blocs: An increasingly monolithic bloc of white, Republican, conservative voters; and an increasingly monolithic bloc of non-white, Democrat, liberal voters.

This isn’t true everywhere – California whites often vote Democrat; Texas Hispanics often vote Republican. But it’s an unfortunate trend that is evident and accelerating.

National Journal has now obtained previously-unreleased exit poll numbers that illustrate this phenomenon:

By any standard, white voters’ rejection of Democrats in November’s elections was daunting and even historic.

Fully 60 percent of whites nationwide backed Republican candidates for the House of Representatives; only 37 percent supported Democrats, according to the National Election Poll exit poll conducted by Edison Research. Not even in Republicans’ 1994 congressional landslide did they win that high a percentage of the white vote.

Moreover, those results may understate the extent of the white flight from the Democratic Party, according to a National Journal analysis of previously unpublished exit-poll data provided by Edison Research.

The new data show that white voters not only strongly preferred Republican House and Senate candidates but also registered deep disappointment with President Obama’s performance, hostility toward the cornerstones of the current Democratic agenda, and widespread skepticism about the expansive role for Washington embedded in the party’s priorities. On each of those questions, minority voters expressed almost exactly the opposite view from whites.

November’s gap between the voting preferences of whites and minorities was at the wider end of the range over the past two decades but it wasn’t the absolute widest. More striking was the disparity between the two groups’ views on other questions with implications for the 2012 election.

First among those was Obama’s performance. Exactly 75 percent of minority voters said they approved; only 22 percent said they disapproved. Among white voters, just 35 percent approved of the president’s performance, while 65 percent disapproved; a head-turning 49 percent of whites said they strongly disapproved. (Those whites voted Republican last fall by a ratio of 18-to-1.)

The racial gulf was similar when voters were asked whether they believed that Obama’s policies would help the nation in the long run. By 70 percent to 22 percent, minorities said yes; by 61 percent to 34 percent, whites said no.

Minorities were almost exactly twice as likely as whites to say that life would be better for the next generation than for their own; whites were considerably more likely to say that it would be more difficult. And on a question measuring bedrock beliefs about the role of government, the two racial groups again registered almost mirror-image preferences. Sixty percent of minorities said that government should be doing more to solve problems; 63 percent of whites said that government is doing too many things that would be better left to businesses and individuals.

The irony in these results is that minorities expressed more faith in both the future and the government than whites did, even though the recession has hit minority communities harder. Rodolfo de la Garza, a political scientist at Columbia University who studies Hispanics’ attitudes, says that part of the explanation is that whites found the downturn more psychologically wrenching because more of them (especially white-collar whites) had expected to make a steady ascent up the economic ladder. More minority workers hold marginal positions in the private economy, he says, so they were less likely to be shocked by the severity of the downturn—and more likely to turn to government, rather than the private sector, to help survive it. “They didn’t lose money on Wall Street; they had shitty jobs, if they had jobs, so where would they look to if not the [government]?” de la Garza asked.

Measured both geographically and demographically, these new exit-poll results show that Democrats maintained openings in only slivers of the white electorate. In House elections, the bottom fell out for Democrats in both the South (where they won just 24 percent of whites) and the Midwest (37 percent). The party remained relatively more competitive along the coasts, capturing 46 percent of white voters in the East and 43 percent in the West.

Democrats have been losing support among blue-collar white voters since the 1960s, but in this election, they hit one of their lowest points ever. In House campaigns, the exit poll found, noncollege whites preferred Republicans by nearly 2-to-1 with virtually no gender gap: White working-class women—the so-called waitress moms—gave Republicans almost exactly as many of their votes as blue-collar men did.

These blue-collar whites expressed profound resistance to Obama and his agenda. Just 30 percent of them said they approved of the president’s job performance (compared with 69 percent who disapproved). Two-thirds of them said that government is doing too many things. An approximately equal number said that Obama’s agenda will hurt the country over the long term. Only about one-fifth of these voters said that the stimulus had helped the economy, and 57 percent wanted to repeal the health care law—even though they are uninsured at much higher rates than whites with more advanced education.

Merle Black, a political scientist at Emory University, says that blue-collar disaffection from Democratic candidates reflects not only immediate economic distress but also a longer-term process of alienation from the party. “The noncollege whites … see themselves as a declining minority within the national Democratic Party, where they have very little control or influence on the policies,” he says. “The party is controlled by the coastal elites and nonwhites, and that is a very different kind of Democratic Party” than a generation ago.

These emphatic 2010 results represented another shovel of earth on the grave of the New Deal electoral coalition, centered on working-class whites, that long anchored Democratic politics. But the decline of that coalition began long before Obama or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. No Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976 has captured as much as 45 percent of white voters, according to exit polls. And not since 1992 have whites given half or more of their votes to Democratic congressional candidates. The erosion has been especially pronounced among the white working class: No Democratic presidential nominee since 2000 has won more than 40 percent of its votes.

Despite that decline, Democrats have survived, and at times thrived, by building a new coalition. They have won the overall popular vote in four of the past five presidential elections, and they recaptured Congress in 2006 with a coalition that now revolves primarily around young people, minorities, and college-educated whites, especially women. That so-called coalition of the ascendant offers Democrats long-term advantages because all of those groups are growing as a share of the population.

Minorities, most important, more than doubled their share of the vote from 12 percent in 1992 to 26 percent in 2008. In his victory that year, Obama won only 43 percent of the white vote (and merely 40 percent among noncollege whites). Yet he captured a larger share of the overall popular vote than any Democratic nominee since Lyndon Johnson in 1964 by winning 80 percent of that growing pool of nonwhite voters, along with majorities among whites under 30 and college-educated white women.

But if 2008 demonstrated the possibilities of that new alignment, the 2010 election demonstrated its limits. It has proven to be a boom-and-bust coalition because turnout in midterm elections usually declines modestly among minorities and sharply among young people; both groups fell off even more than usual in 2010, producing an older and whiter electorate that compounded the GOP’s advantage. “We have gotten to the point where we have two different electorates: presidential and nonpresidential,” says veteran Democratic consultant Bill Carrick of California.

Equally significant, although racial diversity is spreading and education levels are rising, these trends are not evenly distributed across the country. As a result, the Democrats’ coalition of the ascendant is much more potent in coastal states than in most interior states still dominated by white voters, many of them older and working-class. In 137 House districts, at least 80 percent of the population is white; after November, Republicans control a crushing three-fourths of those seats. And, as Feingold discovered, there are not enough minority and well-educated white voters to win Senate races in many interior states if Democrats cannot remain competitive among blue-collar whites.

Finally, Democrats also discovered last year that they cannot rely on cultural affinity alone to hold most well-educated whites who become dissatisfied with the party’s economic performance. Some of the most ominous midterm results for Obama came in Pennsylvania and Illinois, where white-collar white voters who had been crucial to his victories two years earlier flocked to the GOP’s Senate nominees.

99 Responses to The Balkanization of America

  1. MFG on January 9, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    I still favor my idea of Oklatex

    Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana as one sovereign nation

    Oil, gas, refining capacity, command of the Mississippi River, purty women and outstanding football

    What’s not to like…???

  2. ATTILA on January 9, 2011 at 6:42 pm


    I considered that, but as Texican, I just couldn’t put ok at the beginning of the word.

    texokla perhaps??

  3. ATTILA on January 9, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Republic of texarkola

  4. ATTILA on January 9, 2011 at 6:47 pm


  5. Led 0bama Zeppelin on January 9, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Good thoughts from Glenn Reynolds on the typical leftist hate rhetoric:

    “To be clear, if you’re using this event to criticize the “rhetoric” of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you’re either: (a) asserting a connection between the “rhetoric” and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you’re not, in which case you’re just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?

    I understand the desperation that Democrats must feel after taking a historic beating in the midterm elections and seeing the popularity of ObamaCare plummet while voters flee the party in droves. But those who purport to care about the health of our political community demonstrate precious little actual concern for America’s political well-being when they seize on any pretext, however flimsy, to call their political opponents accomplices to murder.

    Where is the decency in that?”

  6. setnaffa on January 10, 2011 at 5:28 am

    Secession is a Democrat solution. Run away. Don’t face the tough choices.

    We need to be better organized than the opposition–and actually, the Tea Party is. Because they believe what we believe.

    The trolls and the leftists want to make us cower in fear; but not me.

    Yeah, they can kill us; but individually they’re cowards. And we outnumber them at least 10:1…

  7. anonymous un-RINO on January 10, 2011 at 5:57 am

    January 9th, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    “We’re going to have to eventually secede

    Are you guys finally beginning to see this?”


    Who’s “we”? Do you mean, you and your RINO soulmates, who agreed with the Left on all the bailouts and payments to welfare state queens and government expansions, and shrieked with glee over them, and told us we had to vote for your RINO favs?

    I’m all for secession… as long as it’s also accompanied by ethnic cleansing… as in uprooting you wretched RINOs and sending you all off to live with your soulmates on the Left.

    We conservatives might then be able to establish a proper limited government.

  8. ATTILA on January 10, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Doesn’t take long for the turds to rise to the top of the punchbowl.

  9. edward on January 10, 2011 at 7:13 am


    Agreed, sunning away is NOT the answer, pulling your covers over your head will NOT make the monsters go away and putting your gun down first only makes you a victim.

    you might remember my older tag line

    “The American Left: cowering before terrorists; killing the innocent unborn.”

  10. edward on January 10, 2011 at 7:15 am

    “sunning away”????? oops perhaps “running away”

    Make a farm boy a professor and what do you get? Same stupid, just now on display…….

  11. edward on January 10, 2011 at 7:18 am

    you of course KNEW that was coming….. The death of a 9 year old to further her agenda….. where is the vomit bucket.

  12. ATTILA on January 10, 2011 at 7:51 am

    And her name is McCarthy, as in “McCarthyism”, how fitting.

  13. MikeN on January 10, 2011 at 11:26 am

    unrino, you are living in fantasyland if you think NY and Cal will need reinforcement for Obama to win there.
    FOr that matter, are you saying that Republicans will do better in Penn, Mich, NJ, than Minn, Iowa, Wisc?

    I just don’t see that happening. White voters going Republican gives them a chance to take those 3 states, which Bush almost did. Arguably it was vote fraud that cost him Wisconsin.

  14. gnqanq on January 10, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Secession is the only non-violent alternative. Both the Left and Right can not live with each other. The mushy middle is going to have to decide which way they are going to go with.

    Split the country like to India/Pakistan and give the people 2 years to resettle. After the 2 years is up, NO switching.

  15. ATTILA on January 10, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Give the slugs both coasts, normal humans keep the middle .

  16. setnaffa on January 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    “Secession is the only non-violent alternative.”

    Apparently, someone got an F in History.

    We won’t let the Dems secede. We will let them emigrate to a Worker’s Paradise like Venezuela, Zimbabwe, North Korea, or Cuba…

    This country is ours. All of it.

  17. edward on January 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Secession is a cowards way out. Defeat the bastards and let them weep into their herbal tea. I’d rather defeat them in the field of ideas, but……..

  18. Brucefdb on January 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Well setnaffa, I’m a Californian and I would be willing to give them San Francisco.

    By the way, Poli posters, who do you think the first elected brave R will be to come to the defense of Sarah Palin?

    Where are all the blue-boys? I’m disappointed.

  19. phineas gage on January 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Palin can take care of herself.

    I am disappointed in Jim DeMint.

  20. phineas gage on January 10, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    ‘Secession is a cowards way out.’

    Not necessarily. The situation is becoming similar to Quebec. We hardly speak the same language, let alone share the same cultural values.

  21. gnqanq on January 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Not the cowards way out considering the alternative – 100 to 200 million dead.

  22. setnaffa on January 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm


    I grew up in California and I’m angry about what they’ve done to the state.

    I say we don’t give ’em a single square foot.

  23. setnaffa on January 10, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Secession was a Democrat idea and a Republican President brought the country back together.

    I don’t think serious people discuss such things. I think we win elections and work on freeing our fellow Americans from the oppression they currently suffer under.

    Don’t give up. This is our country. Every square foot of it.

  24. MUST READ on January 10, 2011 at 2:24 pm


    for ALL Conservatives!!

    Good find Setnaffa! 😉

  25. MUST READ on January 10, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    and, as usual,
    …it’s loaded with liberal hypocrisy on full display!

  26. MFG on January 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Let’s call it the George Washington solution then instead of secession

  27. ATTILA on January 10, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    John Hancock et al

  28. anonymous un-RINO on January 10, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    As long as your George Washington solution includes ethnic cleansing you RINOs, it’s all good.

  29. ATTILA on January 10, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    The quisling turds float to the top.

  30. MFG on January 10, 2011 at 3:50 pm



    Cannot post without using the terms “RINO” or “shriek” or “welfare queen”


    What a dick

  31. MFG on January 10, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Where’s JokeLeaf?

    I want to embrace the recovery…

  32. anonymous un-RINO on January 10, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    You can embrace your welfare payments, queenie, along with the rest of the RINOs.

  33. Brucefdb on January 10, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Oh my God, I am witnessing violent discourse! I’m reporting it to DHS.

    Did you guys successfully drive off all the blueboys that used to hang here?

    setnaffa 1)you have my favorite gravatar of all
    2) San Fran can be kept but the hazardous waste of the left must be removed and I don’t know who is brave enough to do that. Perhaps we can send in a team of blueboys.

  34. MFG on January 10, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    anonymous un-RINO

    January 10th, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    “You can embrace your welfare payments, queenie, along with the rest of the RINOs.”

    Retard proves my point


  35. edward on January 10, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    and just what have you added to the discussion MFG?

    Anyways back on topic…..

    Does anyone really think that your average lefty brings anything to a brawl? They cower before terrorists and can only attack the unborn. The visual if you will; Code Pinkos with protest signs and me with a trusty Rem 700 chambered for ’06. Yeah I see a real NEED to give up land to them.

  36. anonymous un-RINO on January 10, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    The only point you have is on your RINO head, queenie.

  37. edward on January 10, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Interesting find artist

  38. edward on January 10, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    I want to amend an earlier comment that implied my shooting Code Pinkos with a Remington Model 700 chambered in the venerable 30-06 caliber. This is a disturbing image. Also, as has been pointed out to me, a complete waste of long range ammo. It has been further suggested that a pistol or carbine would be a far more appropriate choice.

    I stand corrected

  39. setnaffa on January 11, 2011 at 3:54 am

    There isn’t a Code Pink member worth a bullet or even a new rope.

    But they are probably eligible for inpatient help at their local asylum…

  40. Let's Not Mention That on January 11, 2011 at 5:45 am

    This very thread is Balkanized.

    As I’ve noted, we now have two voting blocs: An increasingly monolithic bloc of pure white, Republican, conservative voters; and an increasingly monolithic bloc of white-ish, queenie, bootlicking RINOs.

  41. setnaffa on January 11, 2011 at 6:57 am
  42. edward on January 11, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    BTW as the media now spins towards repealing the second amendment, here is a good link on the impact of conceal carry laws

    Oh and lower on the page it has an interview with Joe Zamudio one of the people who subdued the attacher

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  44. cynthia curran on August 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Actually, whites in California still vote slightly Republican. Whitman won 1 percent of the white vote but loss the Hispanic vote big to Brown. Perry only won 35 percent of the Hispanic vote but one over 70 percent of the white vote. White vote carries the Republicans in Texas. Take Orange COunty Ca whites in Mission Viejo and so forth gave MCCain his 4 point victory. MCcain lost El Paso to Obama. Obama won over 65 percent of the vote, and El Paso Texas is 80 percent hispanic.

  45. cynthia curran on August 30, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Well, Texans say the Democratics can have Brownsville, El Paso, Houston, Austin, and Dalls. The Democratics say that the Republicans can have Orange Ca, San Diego Ca, and the Inland Empire, fair trade.