Barack Obama promised he would lower taxes for 95 percent of Americans and presumably raise them for the 5 percent who benefited most under President Bush’s tax policies. But, remarkably, the most affluent 5 percent supported Obama and that was perhaps the key to his victory last week.
This group — and the rise of a new elite class of voters — is at the heart of the fast-paced changes in demographics affecting the political, sociological and economic landscape of the country. While there has been some inflation over the past 12 years, the exit poll demographics show that the fastest growing group of voters in America has been those making over $100,000 a year in income. . . . Put another way, more than 40 percent of those voting earned over $75,000, making this the highest-income electorate in history.. . .But 69 percent of all Americans in polls I conducted in recent years now also call themselves “professionals,” a new class transcending the old class labels or working or middle class or the wealthy. They have white-collar jobs requiring higher education and are earning more than ever before. Because of layoffs and business scandals of recent years, they have become increasingly embittered toward the corporate cultures that would have otherwise been their natural home base.
Unlike the small-businessman who is typically anti-government, these professionals come out of the era of the growth of global corporations believing more than ever before in government intervention, teamwork and collective action. They are the voters who favored the bailout, while the left and the right saw it as a betrayal of their fundamental principles.
These higher educated voters generally believe more in science than religion, in the interconnectedness of the world, and in pragmatism over ideology. They see us all living in a new world and are watching their kids enter it taking new economy kinds of jobs in places increasingly far away from home.
This group is at the core of voters receiving more of their information online and through cable TV in their offices all day long. As they leave many of the problems of working class life behind, this new class is easily captivated by the Sunday shows. What appears on the front pages has more impact on shaping their views than what they experience in their everyday life.
In the end when it comes to a congressional vote, will they support higher taxes if they have to pay them? That is a big question that remains to be seen – they could quickly fragment over the issue if it gets raised early in the Obama administration. . . .
Good luck to those newly affluent and "higher educated" voters; I think they are going to need it. Now if I could only remember that saying . . . .