Polls show economic divide in Tuesday's votes

To some extent, the difference between results in Kentucky and Oregon can be explained by socioeconomic status and differences in how the economy is affecting people in each state.

By Alex Koppelman
May 21, 2008 3:49AM (UTC)
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If the exit poll numbers for candidate preference that I've seen so far are any indication, the results that come out of Kentucky and Oregon will differ widely from each other. One of the simplest explanations for that difference might come down to the economy.

Voters in Kentucky are saying they're feeling the hit from ongoing economic troubles to a greater extent than voters in Oregon. 44 percent of exit poll respondents in Kentucky said they had been affected by the recession "a great deal." By contrast, only 28 percent of respondents in Oregon gave that answer. (86 percent of respondents in Kentucky said they'd been affected in some way -- I don't have the corresponding number for Oregon yet.)


Voters in the two states also gave different amounts of priority to the economy -- in Kentucky, 65 percent of respondents called it the most important issue. Only 45 percent of voters in Oregon said the same thing.

There's also a big socioeconomic difference at play. According to Gary Langer, the polling director at ABC News, "In preliminary exit poll results about two-thirds of white voters [in Kentucky] lack a college degree, far more than the number across all primaries to date, 49 percent.

"In Oregon, the voter poll indicates that less-educated whites make up about half of the electorate... Preliminary poll results show that in Kentucky only about one in six whites have incomes over $100,000, compared with 29 percent in all primaries overall and about a quarter in Oregon."

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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