Social Policy & Politics Program | Report

“Droppers” and “Switchers”: The Fraying Obama Coalition

by Anne Kim and Stefan Hankin

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In a new post-election survey, Third Way and Lincoln Park Strategies polled 1,000 Obama voters who abandoned Democrats in 2010, either by staying home (the “droppers”) or by voting Republican (the “switchers”). This report paints a portrait of these droppers and switchers—the voters that Democrats will need to win again in 2012. Our key findings:

  • Droppers are more than the base. One in 3 droppers is conservative, 40% are Independents, and they are split about whether Obama should have done more or did too much.
  • For switchers, it’s not just the economy. The economy matters but switchers also overwhelmingly think Democrats are more liberal that they are. Two in three say “too much government spending” was a major reason for their vote.
  • Republicans won a chance, not a mandate. Only 20% of switchers say that a major reason for their vote was that “Republicans had better ideas,” and nearly half say Republicans are more conservative than they are.