On Nov. 7, The Olympian published a front page story reporting that white voters deserted Democrats in the recent election. While the story is mostly true it leads the reader to believe things that are not true.
The story gives the impression that Americans rejected Democrats in the last election. It is true that a majority of 2014 voters opted for Republicans but it is also true that only 37 percent of eligible voters voted. Republicans got a majority. That is not the same as getting a majority of eligible voters. It shows nothing about which party Americans prefer.
White voters did not desert Democrats. The Pew Center reports that 87 percent of Republicans are white while only 61 percent of Democrats are white. Historically Republicans have been better at getting their people to the polls in non-presidential elections. That happened again this time. It wasn’t that whites walked away from Democrats, but that white Democrats joined Democrats of color in not voting.
The story implies that Republicans vote regularly because they are better educated. Better educated people do, in fact, vote more regularly but that is not a major factor in who wins elections. The General Social Surveys done over the past decade show that the difference in education level is small. Republicans have slightly more BA degrees while Democrats have more advanced degrees. Republicans are more likely to vote because they are more engaged in the political process and to believe that their vote will make a difference.