Swingin’ Grandmas

If there was one theme during Campaign ‘04, it was the race by the political press to figure out who the next “swing voters” would be. We heard about NASCAR Dads, Security Moms, “Sex in the City” Voters, Hook and Bullet Voters, the Amish, Strip Club Dads, and the mother of all swing demographics, Punk Republicans.

So, the election is over. Who were the real swing voters that tilted the results?

We only have the top lines of the national exit poll here at Campaign Desk, but the category in which Bush showed the most significant gains over the year 2000 was urban voters (who made up 30 percent of all voters), among whom Bush polled 9 percentage points better than in 2000. Bush did even better among voters in the largest cities, picking up 12 points on his 2000 performance.

Bush also made significant gains among Latinos (eight percent of all voters; Bush did nine points better than in 2000); voters aged 60 and older (25 percent of voters, among whom Bush did five percent better), and Catholic voters (27 percent of voters; Bush picked up five points). For what it’s worth, Bush also did 10 points better this time among voters who told exit pollsters that government should intervene more, not less, to solve problems.

So, doing the math: the real swing voters are little old Hispanic ladies who live in a big cities and go to Catholic churches — which is possibly the one group the campaign press left out of its calculations.

We’ll leave the choice of a nickname for these voters to the political press — after all, that seems to be one of the things it does best.

Bryan Keefer

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Bryan Keefer was CJR Daily’s deputy managing editor.