You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Fri, Sep 28, 2012 : 6:20 a.m.

Working-Class: How will they vote Nov. 4?

By Wayne Baker

0928 Florida butterfly ballot.jpg

The infamous Florida “butterfly ballot” caused a nationwide crisis in the 2000 election. This voting station now is a museum exhibit in Tallahassee

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Editor's note: This post is part of a series by Dr. Baker on Our Values about core American values. This week Dr. Baker is busting myths about white working-class America.

How will the white working-class—over a third of the American population—vote in November? Will they give Romney his first term—or Obama his second?

This week we’ve explored some of distinctive beliefs and attitudes of this group of Americans, consulting the results from a new study by the Public Religion Research Institute. We’ve busted big myths about the white-working class, highlighted some common assumptions about them that turn out to be true, their arms-length relationship to the government, and their explanations of our bad economy. Today, we cap our discussion by considering how they will likely vote in the upcoming election.

If the election had taken place at the same time the survey was fielded, Romney would get the lion’s share of the white working-class vote. The GOP candidate held a double-digit advantage over the president. His lead would be even greater among white working-class Americans living in the south. Protestant members of the white working-class also give a big lead to Romney. White working-class men especially like Romney.

As of today, Obama appears to have the lead among all voters. Preferences for Romney among the white working-class may have softened, but given the commanding lead he had when the survey was taken, it’s safe to say that he’ll garner more of the white working-class vote than Obama will.

What's been your biggest surprise, this week, about the white working-class?

Do you think Romney will keep his lead among the white working-class?

Wayne Baker is a sociologist on the faculty of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Baker blogs daily at Our Values and can be reached at or on Facebook.