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Personal income and its effects at the ballot box

How much do the number of zeros at the end of your paycheck impact who you vote for come election time?

Well we are 40 days away from Election Day here in the U.S. And there's some new polling about just how much a voter's income determines his or her vote.

Frank Newport is editor-in-chief at Gallup. His polling shows that people below the poverty line are in fact more likely to be independent in their political persuasion.

"They're not monolithically Democrats," Newport says.

The poll comes in the wake of comments that Mitt Romney made about the 47 percent of the population who don't pay taxes; who he says expect the government to take care of them, and are thus likely voting for Barack Obama in November.

But Gallup research finds that 50 percent of people polled that, by government standards, live in poverty in the U.S., are in fact independent. Only 32 percent are Democrat, which is close to the national average. They are, however, less likely to be Republican.

And in comparison, people living in higher income brackets are far less likely to be independent. "Income is not a sole determinant of who you're going to vote for, or your politics," adds Newport.

About the author

Frank Newport, Ph.D., is the editor-in-chief at Gallup and appears regularly on Marketplace.

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