Right now, somebody in the DNC’s HQ is likely sitting in a room somewhere getting morosely drunk, and it’s because of articles like Michael Barone‘s. You see, Michael sat down and looked at the various reactions to Barack Obama’s possibly ill-advised (and certainly ill-executed) Bain Capital-themed line of attack on Mitt Romney, and concluded: it’s likely to provoke a backlash among affluent voters (particularly those in suburbia). And the reason why people should care about that is because 2008 exit polling showed that voters from households making more than $100 grand a year made up a quarter of the electorate, and that they split their vote down the middle between Obama and McCain.
And how are they voting now? Michael sees some interesting trends:
The popular vote in House elections is a good proxy for presidential and party support, and voters with incomes over $100,000, evenly split in 2008, voted 58 to 40 percent for Republicans in 2010.
Northern Virginia, which Obama carried 59 to 40 percent and which provided 95 percent of his statewide popular vote margin, went 52 to 47 percent for House Republicans in 2010. Nine suburban Denver counties voted 53 to 46 percent for Obama but switched in 2010 to 54 to 42 percent Republican.
There’s more data – Michael Barone mentions similar shifts in Pennsylvanian and Michigan suburbs – but the concept that Virginia and Colorado are slipping out of the Democrats’ fingers would be sufficiently unnerving to operatives of that political party as it is. I truly believe that Team Obama expected to be fighting out 2012 in North Carolina and Florida, and possibly Iowa, with all the implications about the larger electoral picture that one might expect from that (i.e., a narrower but decent win for the Democrats). Fighting in Virginia, Colorado, and possibly Michigan instead implies something else. Something wonderful.
Unless you’re a Democratic operative. Hence, the entire ‘getting morosely drunk’ thing.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: This, of course, does not mean that Mitt Romney has a lock on the election. And the Republican party needs to keep the electoral pressure on until the moment that Barack Obama gets on television and congratulates Romney for his victory (no doubt through gritted teeth). But we do seem to have caught a break, for once; as Michael Barone notes. Romney did very well in precisely the suburban areas that Obama seems so determined to alienate. Provided that Republican activists can continue to keep fostering in the candidate a laudable wariness – not to mention healthy fear – of provoking us, we stand an excellent chance of shifting this election from a 50/50 squeaker to a full-throated repudiation of Obama’s Chicago Way…