Much has been made of the number of Democratic caucus-goers who made their decision in Iowa based upon which candidate “can bring about needed change” (52%), as opposed to “has the right experience” (20%) or “cares about people like me (19%). As has been reported here and elsewhere, Obama got the “change” vote, Clinton the “experience” vote and Edwards the “cares” vote. In fact, amongst the 19% who valued “cares about people like me,” Edwards led with 44%.
What was fascinating about this data was the distribution by income. Amongst Iowa caucus-goers with greater than $100,000 in annual household income, the percentage of voters seeing a candidate who “cares about people like me” was 15%, and a whopping 65% of those affluent, care-seeking voters went for Edwards (with 18% for Obama, and 10% for Clinton). Interestingly, though fighting for the Middle Class has been the dominant theme of Edwards’ populist campaign, it was Iowa’s wealthy who claimed they chose Edwards for caring for people like them!