“In U.S. Politics, Economic Class Speaks Loudest.” By Carey L. Biron. Interpress Service (ipsmews.net). New research drawn from the past half-century offers one of the clearest pictures yet of the correlation between political involvement and socioeconomics in the United States, while underscoring the significant implications of recent legal and legislative changes for marginalised groups. “From decades of data, we can say that socioeconomic status has an overwhelming impact on how politically active people are in the U.S.,” Sidney Verba, a research professor at Harvard University, said while introducing new research here in Washington on Wednesday. “Every place we looked for what was driving inequality, we found the very central role of socioeconomic status. Even if you look at different groups that differ in their average political activity – minority groups, etc – you find that, within each group, it’s stratified by socioeconomic status.” While those with higher socioeconomic status have more time to engage in political campaigns and related activities, for instance, Henry E. Brady, a political-science professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of Verba’s co-researchers, points to the “stunning, nearly exponential rise in political donations” by those with the highest incomes. Even in 1990, Brady says, the top 20 percent of the population made 70 percent of all political contributions, figures that have almost certainly shot up significantly in the past few years in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United case, which allowed for unlimited private donations to political campaigns. “If the folks at the bottom of the socioeconomic spectrum have different political priorities from those at the top, and if money in politics really has a big impact on politics, then politics is defined by those at the top and their concerns and viewpoints,” Brady says.