March 15, 2005


Investors for Bush: How Social Security reform can bring about a Republican realignment. (JOHN ZOGBY, March 15, 2005, Opinion Journal)

It has been no secret that Mr. Bush and Karl Rove have their sights set on a political realignment not experienced since FDR built a coalition of urban ethnics, liberal ideologues and Southern conservatives under the Democrats' big tent. Like the New Deal, the president's "ownership society" is a compelling new vision and veritable redefinition of a society less dependent on government largess, of a middle class more independent and more capable of securing financial security on its own.

This stunning realignment is possible by virtue of a new class of American voters--the self-identified "investor class"--which is itself a coalition across a broad spectrum of demographic groups. [...]

Zogby International's post-election polling reveals fascinating differences between those voters who call themselves members of the "investor class" and those who do not see themselves this way. We see the table below how this response to a single question--"Do you consider yourself to be a member of the investor class?"--is a far greater determinant of how they will vote and how they see their world than income, religion, race, marital status, or size of individual portfolio.

On the surface this hardly seems worthy of attention. Of course, well-heeled investors will tend to be more conservative than underachieving non-investors. But a closer look at the profile of this new "investor class" suggests some tectonic shifts in how Americans see themselves and how they behave politically. These are remarkable voting differences. The numbers are no less dramatic when we see their views of the president and the major issues in the campaign.

Self-identified investors comprised 46% of the total vote in 2004, a significantly higher figure than pre-election polls suggested. The group is neither dominated by the wealthy nor do members necessarily aspire to become wealthy. According to a series of polls we did on behalf of PBS's "Wall Street Week with Fortune," this group tells us they simply are saving for a retirement that maintains their current lifestyle and for college for their children. Importantly, their worldview remains middle class, modest, and basically conservative. They are a group I have followed closely since 2000 and will, for obvious reasons, continue to watch.

To the president and Republicans: You may lose the battle over Social Security personal accounts, but ultimately you may very well win the war over party realignment. To the Democrats: Just saying no is not a policy and demographics are not destiny. Ignore the "ownership society" at your own peril.

Look at his chart and you'll see why three of the President's main initiatives are Marriage, Faith-Based services, and the Ownership Society. People with something to lose vote conservative. Those with no stake in anything but themselves vote liberal.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 15, 2005 6:39 PM

hopefully over time, the large number of people in this country, that don't feel they have a stake in its continued existence, can be drawn back in. maybe once the democrats are done as a national party things can get better in this regard.

Posted by: cjm at March 15, 2005 7:33 PM

Paul O'Neill's accounts would certainly vest them.

Posted by: oj at March 15, 2005 7:37 PM

The president's initiatives having nothing to do with charts and polls. He is as idealistic a politician as I have ever seen.

Posted by: Randall Voth at March 16, 2005 7:40 AM

Crap! Zogby says Rove is right, must mean Rove is wrong.

Posted by: Bob at March 16, 2005 9:25 AM