April 7, 2005


Survey Paints Portrait of Dean Supporters (Dan Balz, April 7, 2005, Washington Post)

Dean attracted an activist corps that is whiter, wealthier, better educated and far more liberal and secular than Democrats generally or the population at large, according to the Pew Research Center. But the study found that Dean's followers were not, as some reports had suggested, dominated by young people and that he had strong appeal among voters ages 40 to 59. [...]

More than four in five (82 percent) of Dean activists in the study identified themselves as liberals, compared with 27 percent of all Democrats nationally. Asked what drew them to Dean, 66 percent cited the war in Iraq, and 99 percent of the Dean followers said Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq was wrong. On the issue of gay rights, 91 percent of Dean activists said they favor same-sex marriages, compared with 38 percent of Democrats nationally.

In a party that includes substantial numbers of blacks and Hispanics, the Dean Democrats are overwhelmingly white -- 92 percent, according to the survey -- and constitute what could be described as part of the American elite. More than half (54 percent) hold post-graduate degrees and a quarter have graduated from college. Almost one in three (29 percent) have household incomes of more than $100,000 annually.

One in three of the Dean activists said they never attend church, and 27 percent said they seldom do so. Those rates of religious participation are far lower than that of Democrats generally. More than half of all Democrats say they attend church at least once a month.

Dean's followers, according to the poll, want the party to challenge Bush more vigorously and embrace "progressive" policies, not the centrist positions that were critical to former president Bill Clinton's two victories. Just 18 percent of those who responded to the surveys said the party had effectively advocated liberal or progressive positions, and two-thirds said they want to see the party reflect those liberal positions in the future.

The Dean activists remain anti-Bush (96 percent strongly disapprove of his performance) and critical of Democratic leaders, with 86 percent saying those leaders have not done enough to challenge the president.

Why would you trust a party, nevermind a nation, to folks who came of age in the 60s and 70s?

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 7, 2005 12:00 AM

Why would you trust a party, nevermind a nation, to folks who came of age in the 60s and 70s?

Because, sooner or later, you'll have to.

The important thing, though, is to trust the country to people who have learned things since the '60s and '70s.

Posted by: PapayaSF at April 7, 2005 1:51 AM

it is nothing but good news as far as I am concerned. Youth movement was another boomer fantasy. hah

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at April 7, 2005 2:13 AM

"Because, sooner or later, you'll have to"

Not really. Just keep electing old guys like Dole and Bush the Elder until the generation of the 80s is old enough. Notice how the generation that was born in the mid to late 30s through WW II never elected a president, the closest they came was Dukakis.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at April 7, 2005 2:53 AM

Like our current President? Secretary of State Rice? The 60s and 70s noisemakers, no trust. The 60s and 70s majority, certainly trust.

Posted by: Steve at April 7, 2005 4:00 AM

The Democratic party has been hijacked and is on the way to irrelevance.

Posted by: jd watson at April 7, 2005 4:40 AM

They didn't just "come of age", they became the age. There's a big difference. If it weren't for the rest of us who sobered up and dropped back in there would be a drunken idiot and a Communist sympathizer attending the Pope's funeral this week.

Posted by: NC3 at April 7, 2005 6:30 AM

It's obvious that even a rudimentary understanding of the marketplace is not a job requirement for journalists at the WaPo. Dean appeals to a very narrow segment of the electorate. They are over-educated, perhaps blinkered people, who live in narrow bubble environments surrounded almost entirely by people like themselves except for the serving class who are beneath notice. But the reality is that they are a very small percentage of the marketplace that is the American electorate, even in the Democratic Party.

Politics isn't like selling automobiles. A carmaker does not need to sell a car to 50%+1 of the population to be successful, in a two-party winner-take-all system like our own, a politician must get the votes of 50%+1 of the voting public. In business terms, Dean is a niche market not unlike BMWs.

Since television is ad dependent, it needs sponsors to pay for the programming. Sponsors are concerned not with just the question of viewership, but the 'right' viewership, people too dumb or too easily encouraged through snob appeal, cheesy bimbos in bikinis and what not to buy whatever the sponsors wish to sell. For example, pro bowling always had more viewers than the snoozefest that is the PGA Tour, but the viewers of the PGA Tour were 'the right viewers' so off goes bowling and on comes a bunch of fat guys with sticks waddling around a big field with some other poor schlub carrying the clubs, and some bozo with an English accent telling us how 'dangerous' some shot is.

When the votes are counted, the rich guy and the poor guy have the same vote.(The rich guy can pay the slimebuckets we elect to do his bidding but that is another essay) A policy of appealing to a narrow segment of the market while ignoring most of the marketplace works if you're selling IPods but not if you're trying to be elected. The simple fact is that what the Dean voters want simply repels the vast majority of the electorate(Tuesday's vote in Kansas is a good example) and that to appeal to those voters is to offend the rest of the country. If you're selling kosher preserves(like Polaner) you can make fun of people with Southern accents, but not if you're trying to win a national election. If you want to appear hip, you can make fun of polka music(like Michelob),but not if you're hoping to make a decent showing in Germano-America from the Delaware to the Missouri. Making fun of people with blow-dried hair may work in Hollywood, but not in an Oklahoma Senate race(as James Jones found out).

Posted by: at April 7, 2005 6:49 AM

Truly the "Democratic Wing" of the Democratic Party.

Posted by: David Rothman at April 7, 2005 6:51 AM

Raoul, that was the smallest generation in recent history and generally gets screwed regularly as the target of demographic decisions relating to how can we tick off the fewest number of people in a target population.

Regarding Dean's followers; "death taxes" haven't been progressive enough to minimize those who don't have to work; have the time and money to assuage their collective conscience about same; then become the vanguard and treasury of the Socialistic/Marxist/anticapitalist/bourgeois hating left wing. "The brightest and the best" ... the trust pubescents and their groupies following Peter dean in search of "Never Never Land".

Posted by: Genecis at April 7, 2005 10:10 AM

I'd like to meet the 1% of Dean suporters who don't think the war in Iraq was a mistake.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 7, 2005 10:46 AM

Jim --

They're probably backing him just in the hope that he'll provide an ongoing source of unintentional entertainment.

Posted by: John at April 7, 2005 11:52 AM

HEY! I resemble that remark. Me be Jonesin', we tail-enders were invited to the party only to clean up.

Come of age, I could never figure that out, is it 18 or 21?

Oh, help us all since 50 is the new 30.

Posted by: Sandy P at April 7, 2005 12:05 PM

But if you accept a broad definition of that generation, 1930-1945 (which isn't as broad as definitions of "Baby Boomers"), that's where all the 60's leadership came from-- the rock stars and the SDS types. They had their chance early, and blew it.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at April 7, 2005 12:06 PM

Really, it's the group born between about 1940 and 1952 or so that caused all the societal tantrums during the 1960s and early 1970s. But you can't toss that entire group out or you'd eliminate much of the current Executive Branch of government. It's just annoying that any of those jerks -- including late 30s babies like Abbie Hoffman -- have been portrayed in the media as the shining lights of the Baby Boom generation, of which the last decade or so of kids had no say whatsoever in what their annointed representatives were doing.

Posted by: John at April 7, 2005 3:23 PM

What's wrong with cheesy bimbos in bikinis? Sounds like my kind of program.

Posted by: g eugene at April 7, 2005 3:32 PM

Dean shmean! Bush bull!...
Party politics is a joke. Neither Dem or GOP are the parties they used to be.
Vote the person!

Posted by: Oldkayaker at April 7, 2005 4:38 PM

Don't get me wrong. I like cheesy bimbos in bikinis as much as any 40 year old unmarried, professional math nerd who has bookmarked the FHM website. But I don't allow them to tell me which car to buy, any more than how to balance the portfolio, or that I would marry one.

Posted by: bart at April 7, 2005 5:12 PM

"...more liberal and secular than Democrats generally..." Whoa! Is that even possible?

Posted by: Tom at April 7, 2005 10:36 PM

FHM has a website?

Posted by: joe shropshire at April 8, 2005 2:37 AM



I would bet the one percent are affluent, Jewish gays.

Posted by: bart at April 8, 2005 9:10 AM