Financial Insecurity: Are financially insecure whites apathetic?

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Financial Insecurity
A Vote Republican sign in rural Texas

A GOP campaign sign in rural Texas. Provided for public use by Billy Hathorn via Wikimedia Commons.

Do white voters shun Democrats in favor of Republicans? After the 2014 elections, many analysts were saying yes—Democrats were not as appealing to white voters, especially the white working class. But reality is more complex, once we factor in different levels of financial security.

The most financially secure white voters did favor Republican candidates before the election, according to the Pew survey we’ve consulted all week. But it was a slim majority—just 51%. Just over a third favored Democratic candidates.

What are the preferences of the most financially insecure white voters? Their preference for Democratic candidates (37% in favor) is about the same as the most financially secure white voters (39% in favor). These two groups differ dramatically in their support of Republican candidates. Only 21% of the bottom group preferred Republican candidates. More than twice as many voters in the top group favor Republicans as well.

Voter apathy is the biggest—and most startling—difference between financially secure white voters and financially insecure white voters. Only 10% of the top group didn’t express a preference for Republican or Democratic candidates. Forty-one percent of the bottom group didn’t express a preference one way or the other.

Voter apathy isn’t a monopoly of financially insecure white voters. The same is true among the general public: those who have trouble paying their bills, depend on government assistance, and don’t have a checking, savings, or retirement account are simply disengaged from the political process.

Why are financially insecure whites apathetic?

How do we explain voter apathy in the general public?

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  1. Sandra Xenakis says

    I don’t believe financially insecure voters are apathetic. I do believe they are disgusted with our political “leaders” in general. They–like me–are disenchanted with the political system, see that it favors the financially secure and that their interests are not being represented by either party or by the process in general. It’s a systemic problem rather than a question of one party or another. Our two-party system is antiquated and increasingly irrelevant to most of us. I don’t this can be fixed. We have to scrap the whole thing and start over.