It's a culture war: Discovering that income simply does not influence voting among immigrants (at least among non-whites) led me to wonder how much it influences native-born Americans. Put simply, it doesn't matter for them either. Looking at 2000 voting pattern, income had no predictive power once race was controlled. I hunted around for what is predictive--sex, education, marital status, number of children--and everything was weak except for race and a number of indicators of religious orientation: being Christian, religious, or fundamentalist. The simplest way for me to create polar opposites is to use black versus white along with fundamentalist versus no religion:
Percent who voted for Clinton in 1996
Fundamentalist whites 11.6
Blacks with no religion 96.6
Let me say it again: income predicts nothing. Pat Buchanan is right: it's a culture war. It ain't the rich against the poor. Immigrants pick up on this and regardless of income, if they're non-white or irreligious, they generally join up with the--what does O'Reilly call them--secular progressives. Those who loathe what white fundamentalists cherish: traditional Christianity, old-time values, and freedom.