Heritage study: Democrats are the new party of the rich?

The rich favoring a party that supports an endless supply of cheap illegal labor for big business? That can’t be right.

Behold at last the answer to the question of what’s the matter what Kansas: not enough rich people.

In a state-by-state, district-by-district comparison of wealth concentrations based on Internal Revenue Service income data, Michael Franc, vice president of government relations at the Heritage Foundation, found that the majority of the nation’s wealthiest congressional jurisdictions were represented by Democrats.

He also found that more than half of the wealthiest households were concentrated in the 18 states where Democrats hold both Senate seats.

“If you take the wealthiest one-third of the 435 congressional districts, we found that the Democrats represent about 58 percent of those jurisdictions,” Mr. Franc said…

But in a broader measurement, the study also showed that of the 167 House districts where the median annual income was higher than the national median of $48,201, a slight majority, 84 districts, were represented by Democrats. Median means that half of all income earners make more than that level and half make less.

Mr. Franc’s study also showed that contrary to the Democrats’ tendency to define Republicans as the party of the rich, “the vast majority of unabashed conservative House members hail from profoundly middle-income districts.”

“A fair number of these districts are represented by freshmen,” Franc notes, suggesting that the stereotype of the rich voting their economic interests while the rubes in Wichita vote for values doesn’t wash. The wealthy are capable of Big Issue voting too, as likely happened last year vis-a-vis Iraq. In fact, the Journal asked one GOP analyst last week why he thought more rich voters were trending blue. His response:

Scott Reed, who managed Republican Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign, sees three overlapping problems for Republicans among business leaders and high-income voters. One is desire to go with the winning side at a time when Democrats have captured Congress; a second is loss of confidence in the Bush administration’s competence; and a third is “a sense that the leadership of the Republican Party is too beholden to a small group of self-appointed social conservative leaders.”

Exit question: On balance, is the Dems’ new bourgeois constituency good news or bad news? No one wants to lose supporters, especially ones with thick checkbooks, but this will make Her Majesty and the Democratic Congress think twice about the tax hikes needed to pay for those million good ideas we’ll be treated to shortly.