Income level way down the list of presidential predictors

Supporters cheer US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a campaign rally in Miami on September 19, 2012. 

It's only Thursday, but if you had to pick a soundtrack for this week a thousand voices screaming "47 percent" would be a pretty good one.

Of the many questions raised by Governor Romney's inelegant remarks one of the most immediate is, will they matter come November? Frank Newport, editor-in-chief at Gallup and a veteran pollster of six elections says, "gaffes come and gaffes go."

"I don't think these kinds of things generally stick," he concludes. "I think the convention for Obama had an inpact ... but these gaffes, these news events that kind of erupt quickly and fade away, it's unclear if they have any effect on who people vote for."

So what does have an effect? Newport says that race and ethnicity is far and away the dominant factor, followed by religion, spousal choice and, way down the list--

"Income level," he says. "We split it out using some detailed examples. But among that lower income group, 34 percent are voting for Romney ... So income is there, but it's not a huge predictor."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.


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