American Values Survey Print

Survey | 2012 Post-Election American Values Survey & 2012 Ohio Values Survey

[11.15.2012]

 

Read the full memo here.
Read the first news release here.
Read the second news release here.
Read the topline questionnaire for the 2012 Post-Election American Values Survey, including the survey methodology, here.
Read the topline questionnaire for the 2012 Ohio Values Survey, including the survey methodology, here.

Looking Back at the Election

 

The Economic Context: The Auto Bailout

 

Roughly 6-in-10 voters, nationally (59%), in Ohio (59%), and in battleground states (61%), agree that the government should have acted to help the American auto industry.

  • Voters who supported Barack Obama are nearly unanimous (92%) in their support for the government’s action. However, nearly three-quarters (73%) of voters who supported Mitt Romney disagree, saying the government should not have acted to help the American auto industry.
  • Voters who made their voting decision in the last week of the election are nearly twice as likely to support (59%), rather than oppose (33%), government action to help the auto industry.
  • Nationally, white working-class voters are divided about the government’s decision to help the auto industry: 48% favor the government’s action, while 50% are opposed. However, 60% of white working-class voters in Ohio and 61% of voters in battleground states support the decision.
    • Among white working-class voters who support the government’s action to help the auto industry, 62% supported Obama, while 35% supported Romney.

The Presidential Race

 

Vote Preference Overall

 

Overall, half (50%) of voters report that they voted for Obama, while 48% say they voted for Romney. In Ohio, 46% of voters say they voted for Obama, while 45% say they voted for Romney.

  • Overall, few voters switched their voting preference between late September and the election. Two percent switched from Romney to Obama, while 5% switched from Obama to Romney.
  • Between late September and the election, however, significantly more white working-class voters switched their voting preferences. Thirteen percent of white working-class voters switched from Obama to Romney, while 2% switched from Romney to Obama.


The End of a White Christian Strategy

 

Romney Obama Coalitions vs Age Groups 01 1024x927 Survey | 2012 Post Election American Values Survey & 2012 Ohio Values SurveyWhen viewed through the lens of religion and race, the voting coalitions of Romney and Obama appear starkly different.

  • Nearly 8-in-10 (79%) voters in Romney’s coalition are white Christians. By contrast, just over one-third (35%) of voters in Obama’s coalition are white Christians.
  • The foundation of Romney’s base consists primarily of white evangelical Protestants, who constitute 40% of his coalition. Obama’s coalition rests on two very different groups: minority Christians—a group that includes black, Asian, Hispanic, and mixed-race Christians—(31%) and the religiously unaffiliated (25%).
  • Notably, Obama’s religious coalition resembles the religious composition of younger voters, while Romney’s religious coalition resembles the religious composition of senior voters. For example, 26% of Millennial voters are white Christians, compared to 72% of senior voters.

In Ohio, the Obama campaign holds a significant advantage in voter contact rates among voters who are not white Christian, even though both campaigns contacted white Christian voters at comparable rates. Among Ohio voters who are not white, Obama’s contact rate was 15 points higher than Romney’s (39% vs. 24%). By contrast, nearly half (49%) of white Christian Ohio voters say they were contacted by the Romney campaign or both campaigns, while 43% say they were contacted by the Obama campaign or both campaigns.

The Complexity of White Working-Class Voters

 

Nationally, nearly two-thirds (65%) of white working-class voters say they voted for Romney, while one-third (33%) say they voted for Obama. By contrast, a majority (53%) of white college-educated voters say they voted for Obama, while 46% say they voted for Romney.

However, these divisions among white working-class voters vary significantly by region. White working-class voters in Ohio are nearly evenly divided between Romney (46%) and Obama (44%). By contrast, white working-class voters in the South report that they strongly supported Romney over Obama (72% vs. 25%).

Reducing the Deficit: Agreement on General Approach, Disagreement on Specifics

 

Preference for Balanced Approach That Includes Cutting Programs and Increasing Taxes

Despite political polarization on a range of issues, voters voice a strong preference for a balanced approach to reducing the federal budget deficit. One-in-five (20%) voters say we should focus mostly on cutting major programs, while less than 1-in-10 (6%) say we should focus mostly on increasing taxes. More than 7-in-10 (71%) voters say we should employ a combination of the two approaches.

  • Approximately 8-in-10 Democratic (83%) and independent (78%) voters believe the best way to reduce the federal budget deficit is with a balanced approach that both cuts programs and increases taxes. A slim majority (52%) of Republican voters also agree with this approach, although more than 4-in-10 (41%) believe that the government should focus only cutting major programs.


Little Consensus on Specific Approaches to Deficit Reduction

While voters, for the most part, agree on a general combined approach of cutting programs and increasing taxes, there is more disagreement on specific spending cuts.

When asked about specific cuts to federal programs to reduce the deficit, roughly two-thirds (66%) of voters overall oppose cutting federal funding for social programs that help the poor, and nearly 7-in-10 (69%) oppose cutting funding for the military.

  • This agreement among all voters, however, masks significant political divides, particularly regarding social programs that help the poor. More than 8-in-10 (86%) Democratic voters and nearly 7-in-10 (68%) independent voters oppose cutting federal funding for social programs to help the poor, while only 41% of Republican voters oppose these cuts. A slim majority (53%) of Republican voters favor cutting funding for social programs that help the poor in order to reduce the federal deficit.
  • At least 6-in-10 black (84%), Hispanic (75%), and white (62%) voters (62%) oppose cutting federal funding for social programs.
  • There are no significant differences between white working-class voters (35%) and white college-educated voters (32%) on support for cutting programs to help the poor. However, nearly 8-in-10 (79%) white working-class voters oppose cutting funding for the military, compared to a slimmer majority (57%) of white college-educated voters.
  • White evangelical Protestant voters are the only religious group that is divided over cutting federal funding for social programs that help the poor (49% favor vs. 46% oppose). Strong majorities of every other major religious group oppose these cuts. White evangelical Protestant voters are also the strongest opponents of cutting military spending, with 83% opposing these cuts.
  • There is also a significant gender gap. Female voters (73%) are more likely than male voters (59%) to oppose cutting federal funding for social programs that help the poor.

Chart 11 Taxing Wealthy 1024x785 Survey | 2012 Post Election American Values Survey & 2012 Ohio Values SurveyPolitical polarization is also evident on proposals to increase taxes and eliminate tax breaks for large corporations in order to reduce the deficit. More than 6-in-10 (63%) voters favor increasing taxes on Americans making at least $250,000 per year, and a majority (55%) favor eliminating tax breaks for large corporations. There are, however, substantial divisions by party affiliation, particularly on increasing taxes for wealthy Americans.

  • While nearly two-thirds (65%) of Republican voters oppose increasing taxes on Americans making at least $250,000 a year, nearly 9-in-10 (87%) Democratic voters and nearly two-thirds (66%) of independent voters favor this proposal.
  • At least 6-in-10 black (68%), Hispanic (65%), and white (62%) voters favor increasing taxes on those making at least $250,000 a year.
  • With the exception of white evangelical Protestant voters, at least 6-in-10 voters in every major religious group supports increasing taxes on Americans making more than $250,000 per year. White evangelical Protestant voters are divided, with half (50%) in favor and 47% opposed.

Read the rest of the memo here.
Read the first news release here.
Read the second news release here.
Read the topline questionnaire for the 2012 Post-Election American Values Survey, including the survey methodology, here.
Read the topline questionnaire for the 2012 Ohio Values Survey, including the survey methodology, here.