According to exit polls, Romney improved on John McCain’s national performance among households making under $30,000 a year and over $50,000 a year (though he still decisively lost those making under $30,000 a year). However, for those households making between $30,000 and $49,999, he underperformed: McCain lost those voters by twelve points, while Romney lost them by 15. Moreover, because of the economic travails of the past four years, members of those working-class/lower-middle-class households rose from 19 percent of the electorate in 2008 to 21 percent in 2012. Meanwhile, members of households making under $30,000 a year rose from 18 percent of voters to 20 percent of voters. So the income segments of the electorate in which Republicans perform worse have been growing, and, among those on the economic edge, Republican electoral performance is declining.
This trend was exaggerated in many swing states. In New Hampshire, Obama went from winning the $30,000–$49,999 demographic by three points in 2008 to winning it by 21 in 2012. In Ohio, the president went from an 8-point margin of victory to a 12-point one in that demographic. In Virginia, his margin went from ten points to 22; in Colorado, from three points to 23. In Nevada, McCain lost that economic category by 18, but Romney lost it by 36, and, in Pennsylvania, the gap between Obama and his Republican opponent grew from 17 to 23 points. And not all these changes can be traced to changes in the ethnic composition of the electorate. In Virginia, for example, the Hispanic portion of the vote remained the same, as did the president’s victory margin among Hispanics, but Romney still lost considerable ground among working-class voters.Read the rest here.
Ramesh Ponnuru has some further reflections along these lines.