Bring It On!

Study Says ‘06 Democratic Sweep of Congress Fueled By Converted Republican Voters

May 16th, 2007 | by Ken Grandlund |

A study called “Looking Red, Voting Blue” released by the centrist Democrat think tank Third Way says that the Democratic take-over of Congress in the 2006 mid-term elections was driven in large part by defecting Republican voters who largely disapproved with President Bush’s scandal plagued administration, President Bush himself, and the Iraq War.

Using raw exit poll data, and a standard known as ‘normalizing’ the electorate (to account for differences between overall turnout between presidential and mid-term elections), the study found that Democrats garnered nearly 5 million new votes in 2006, mostly from higher income, white males.

“The conventional wisdom that economically dissatisfied, working class people – those we used to call ‘Reagan Democrats’ – returned to the fold is wrong,” said Jim Kessler, VP for Policy at Third Way, who co-authored the report with Middle Class Director Anne Kim. “Two-thirds of new Democratic voters in 2006 earned more than $100,000.This should make Republicans tremble.”

What’s more, the study found that turnout among traditional Democratic voters (lower income, minorities, and unmarried voters) actually declined in 2006.

Some other stats:

-The average voter was 13.4% wealthier than in 2004 – from $54,300 to $61,700 in household income.

-Every new Democratic voter rated the economy excellent or good.

-Every new Democratic voter disapproved of the War in Iraq.

-Every new Democratic voter disapproved of the performance of President Bush.

-Five of six new Democratic voters were White.

-Three of five new Democratic voters were regular church attendees.

-Democrats captured more votes from rural America than from those who live in cities with more than 500,000 people.

It’s great to see that so many people have shed the blinders about this administration, but there’s still a lot of work for the Democrats if they want to see this trend continue. Voter defection from one party to the other in one election does not guarantee that they will stay. If Democrats really want to keep the converted, they’ll have to do better to reform Congress and clean up the ethical messes that plague the political class. They’ll have to continue to confront the president on Iraq and push for a firm end to that conflict while pursuing a rational approach to fighting international terrorism. And they’ll have to figure out how to address the social and religious issues that have fueled the Republican base for the last two decades.

Still, this is heartening news. It’s not just Democrats and ‘loony liberals’ that are sick of the twisted politics of the Bush Administration. Increasingly, and especially in the 2006 elections, Red Voters are just saying no to the politics of greed, corruption, incompetence, and death.

I really couldn’t ask for a nicer birthday present. Looks like I’ll have another reason to cheer today.

(cross posted at Common Sense)

[tag]Third+Way, Looking+Red+Voting+Blue, 2006+election, politics[/tag]

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  1. 3 Responses to “Study Says ‘06 Democratic Sweep of Congress Fueled By Converted Republican Voters”

  2. By Craig R. Harmon on May 16, 2007 | Reply

    Have we learned nothing about relying on exit poll data?

    I guess not.

  3. By ken grandlund on May 16, 2007 | Reply

    Well Craig, exit polling does offer some glimpses into the minds of voters, but it certainly isn’t a complete picture.

    That said, I think the explanation offered (that Republican defectors helped boost Democrats into power) isn’t much of a stretch, given that so many have soured on Bush. If one looks at current approval ratings for Congress, it certainly isn’t because they think Democrats are necessarily better. Disgust helped drive the ‘06 election reversal of power- disgust on the part of Republicans certainly played a part.

  4. By Dominick on May 17, 2007 | Reply

    According to your blog, it seems you have an interest in centrist politics.

    If this is true, perhaps you’d like to write for! It’s an online political magazine written for “the common man.” The magazine’s aim is to write “down the middle” – with no political right or left.

    Go to, join as a member, and click “submit news link.” Your news will be approved and posted, and you can check on it regularly to view reader comments.

    If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact


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