The Powerful Welfare Voting Bloc?

09.17.12 2:49 PM ET

Dylan Matthews swats away a time-honored rumor from right wing talk radio, that of the potent political power of voters on the dole.

Here’s the problem: poor people actually don’t vote that often. According to a CNN exit poll in 2008, those making less than $15,000 a year made up 13 percent of the population but just 6 percent of voters, while those making more than $200,000 a year made up just 3.8 percent of the population but fully 6 percent of voters:

If all income groups had voted evenly, Obama would have beaten McCain 55.2 percent to 42.7 percent, a net gain of 5.3 points relative to what actually happened. So no, poor government program beneficiaries don’t “all vote” or turn out in “massive numbers”.