The man of the rich

13 March 2012 | 8:02 - By Matthew Hall

America runs on statistics. It could even be said that Americans can’t function without them.


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney presses the flesh during a campaign stop in Alabama. (AP)

 This is most evident in media accounts of sporting contests – baseball and American football especially – where it’s possible to read an entire report and still have no idea what actually occurred.

There is no narrative, just impenetrable numbers.

But this is not always a bad thing. Statistics can often carve open an understanding of something where words just cloud an issue. Like, just who is voting for Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Funny you should ask…

From last week’s Super Tuesday results the “We Don’t Want Mitt Romney As Our Candidate” vote (that is the Santorum, Gingrich, and Paul chunk of votes) easily beats Romney.


This is significant as it could be convincingly argued that if Gingrich dropped out, Rick Santorum could beat Romney in a two-candidate preferred race to take on President Obama.

MSNBC talk show host Rachael Maddow has pointed to intriguing figures from Romney’s close Ohio victory last week. Republicans earning under $30,000 (yes, there are some) were split on their preference between Romney and Santorum. With voters earning under $100,000 per year, up to 11 per cent more favoured Santorum over Romney.

Where does Romney nudge over the line? The powerful 10 per cent of voters earning over $100,000 per year. The figures are mirrored in Michigan. Romney’s core votes come from the richest voters and his only winning group of votes compared to his rivals  come from the richest voters.

You can watch Maddow’s analysis here.

A key to this puzzle is, in certain states, the number of higher-income Republican voters has grown significantly. Romney – and this should be no surprise – is inspiring rich people to get out and vote for him. With his Wall Street connections, history with Bain Capital, and a wife he boasts has two Cadillacs, Romney is the rich guy’s guy. He has been accused of being out of touch with the electorate but the truth is that he is very much in touch with his supporters. Those supporters that are very well off.

Here’s Romney’s problem: He is considered the “most electable” Republican candidate by many pundits but the unraveling truth is that he may face President Obama having not convinced a majority of his own party that he is the best man for the job. Rival Rick Santorum just won’t go away and will not go away.

“You have Governor Romney now saying, ‘Oh, this race is over, that mathematically it can't work'," Santorum said recently.  “When we have our nominee going out there and trying to sell the American public to vote for him because of mathematics, we are in very, very, tough shape. This isn’t about math. This is about vision, it's about leadership.”
Which is one version of what these vote are about but to Santorum’s benefit, it’s also about statistics. To his detriment, and maybe Romney’s benefit, it’s also about rich people. In November, the question may be how many rich people are out there.


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Comments (4)

18 Mar 2012 21:40 AEST


From: canberra

doesn't matter

the next fellow in the white house has his finger on the largest destructive potential the world has ever seen. I am less concerned about his wealth but his sanity. Following their (re)public utterings so far I have grave concerns in this respect.

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15 Mar 2012 1:07 AEST


From: Long Island

Read the story

You didn't read the story correctly. All Presidents are rich. But Romney appeals only to the rich.

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14 Mar 2012 12:05 AEST


From: Perth

Does wealth matter?

My last comment wasn't published. Does it matter if Romney is rich. JF Kennedy's family was in the top 70 richest families in America. Franklin D Roosevelt was a wealthy man, George Washington owned huge tracts of land in Virginia. Al Gore is worth hundreds of millions. Judge Romney on policy & not wealth. I detect a bit of 'tall poppy syndrome'. Besides the 'Limousine Liberals' in Hollywood, big supporters of Obama & Demorcats are stinking rich anyway. Obama is raising a billion for re-election

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13 Mar 2012 16:54 AEST


From: Perth

Nothing wrong with being rich

I wish you could also point out that John F Kennedy was very rich. In the 60's the Kennedy's were in the top 70 richest families. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was also very wealthy and so was Geoorge Washington (he owned vast tracts of land in Virginia). My point, nothing wrong with being rich. Romney is successful, so what? Besides many of Obama's supporters in Hollywood .a.k.a Limousine Liberals are rich too. Al Gore is woth 100's of millions of dollars. Judge Romney on policy and not wealth

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About this Blog

Matthew Hall presents a first-hand look at world events from a different angle.

Matthew Hall New York-based writer Matthew Hall has chased fugitives across Texas, been shot in outback Australia and has lunched with Liza Minnelli.