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Victims of Foreclosure Crisis Line Up Demographically With Core Democratic Voting Blocs

If we were to build the perfect example of an individual borrower squeezed by the foreclosure crisis, they would line up somewhat favorably with the attributes of the average voter that the Obama campaign is hoping will turn out in large numbers to put him over the top in this election.

First of all, you have the clusters of high-foreclosure states that happen to be swing states, like Nevada, for example:

LAS VEGAS — Amy and James Watt know there are a lot of important issues in this year’s presidential election, but for them it hinges on just one: their home.

They never thought it would come to this when they bought their dream home, a three-bedroom with a large garage on a corner lot in suburban Henderson, Nev.

Three years later, here they are, six months behind on their mortgage — part of a housing crisis that has devastated Nevada […]

The retired couple is hardly unusual in Nevada. A catastrophic drop in prices has left nearly 70 percent of mortgage holders in this state owing more than their homes are worth, a loss they are unlikely to recover for decades.

This couple, Obama voters last time around, will vote for Romney this time. And it’s not unusual to have the housing-ravaged states and the swing states line up. The website Trulia did an analysis, and found that three of the highest “housing misery index” states were key swing states – Michigan, Florida and Nevada. One of the others, Arizona, is seen as an potential reach swing state.

Meanwhile, we know that the average victimized borrower is more likely to be a person of color than in the normal population. African-Americans and Hispanics were systematically ripped off in the origination of loans, and have done worse during the foreclosure crisis. Of course, people of color make up a key voting bloc for the President.

Finally, we have active-duty military and veterans affected by the foreclosure crisis at high numbers. While the conventional wisdom is that the military is solidly Republican, there are higher rates of minorities at the infantry level, where the crisis would have hit the hardest.

There’s also been an increase in seniors at risk of foreclosure. This was a big voting bloc for Republicans in 2010, and so would cut against the grain of this analysis somewhat. However, this class of Americans at risk in foreclosure typically have low savings, and lower-income Americans are in general terms more of a Democratic voting bloc.

In some ways this is axiomatic. But the millions of people most vulnerable to foreclosures also happen to exhibit the characteristics of likely Obama voters in key swing states. Maybe the President should have thought of that before he had Tim Geithner design a program of foreclosure mitigation that merely foamed the runway for the banks.

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David Dayen

David Dayen