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April 20, 2011

Marist Poll: Obama's Got Re-Election Problems

At Hot Air. A bad poll for Obama, even with a big Democratic skew.

Even among Democrats, Obama isn’t a slam-dunk. He gets 70% of that 35% to commit to his re-election bid, but 12% “definitely” plan to vote against him. Obama-cons are in short supply as well, as only 3% of Republicans in the survey will vote for the incumbent. Nearly a majority of independents have made up their mind to oppose Obama, 47%, with only 32% planning on casting a vote for him and 21% undecided.

The problem is that white as a whole are moving away from him. And, specifically, working class whites, who were never really a strongly pro-Obama group, are even less supportive of him now than they were in 2008.

Even back in 2008, in the primary between Hillary and Obama, working class whites were a tough get for Obama.

Recent voting patterns underscore Obama's continued poor performance with these voters, who are often pivotal in general election swing states like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

I won't quote the now-irrelevant specific numbers from an old poll, but it was basically a 60+/35 split among the white working class for Clinton and Obama, respectively.

Check out this bias from this article:

The AP-Yahoo poll shows less educated whites present a problem to Obama in part because of who they are. Besides being poorer, they tend to be older than white college graduates — and Clinton has done strongly with older white voters.

Yet political professionals and analysts say more is at play. They blame Obama's problems with blue-collar whites on their greater reluctance to embrace his bid to become the first black president, and his failure to address their concerns about job losses and the battered economy specifically enough.

Notice how casually this imputation of racism is made. The white working class were not terribly impressed by the abstract, almost-entirely-irrelevant agenda item of getting a half-black man into the Oval Office, but instead sought concrete, wallet-level proposals from Obama on how to actually fix the economy.

I would suggest it was the Always Bet on Black contingent that was more racist, the white working class that wanted some concrete policy details that wasn't racist. But, whatever.

Now, in the actual 2008 election, Barack Obama did fairly well with with whites (and white working class voters, too). Not enough to take these groups outright -- few Democrats manage that. But the trick for a Democrat is not to win whites, but to lose them by a narrow enough margin that the huge Democratic margins among minorities and college-educated single women can put him over the top.

He did that in 2008 -- he lost whites by a small enough percentage that single women and minorities gave him a comfortable majority. But he's losing them now. Or, past perfect again: Has lost them.

[P]olls consistently suggest he may struggle to match the modest 43 percent support among whites that he drew in 2008, according to the Edison Research exit poll. In the 2010 mid-term election, according to the Edison exit poll, just 37 percent of whites backed Democrats in House races, while 60 percent supported Republicans-the highest share of the white vote Republicans have won in a House election in the history of modern polling. Obama's approval rating among all whites in the Pew survey stands at a similar 38 percent.

But remember the 2010 electorate was probably much whiter than the 2012 electorate will be.


Obama's best group in the white electorate remains well-educated women, who tend toward more liberal positions on social issues as well as greater receptivity to government activism. In the new poll, 56 percent of college-educated white women said they approved of Obama's performance. That's a slight improvement from the 52 percent of such women who voted for him in 2008, according to the Edison Research exit poll. It's also a big improvement from the 43 percent of college-plus white women who backed Democratic House candidates in 2010. (Well-educated white women provided substantially more support for Democrats in some key 2010 Senate races, including contests in Colorado, California and Wisconsin.)

Good Lord. Well-educated white women. If you're wondering how Obama's job approval stands at 45% or better, this is the group that's screwing everything up.

(Present company excepted, of course!)

The rest of the white electorate remains deeply cool to Obama, the Pew survey found....

Obama's approval rating in the Pew survey stood at just 34 percent among white women without a college education-the so-called waitress moms. Democrats have often had high hopes for capturing those economically-strained, culturally-conservative women, but the new result only underscores their consistent Republican tilt: Obama won just 41 percent of them in 2008, and House Democrats just 34 percent of them in 2010.

The toughest group for Obama remains white men without a college-education-the blue-collar workers who constituted the foundation of the Democratic electoral coalition from 1932 to 1968. Just 35 percent of them said they approve of his performance in the Pew poll. That's below even the 39 percent of them Obama carried in 2008, though slightly above the Democrats' microscopic 32 percent showing with them in 2010, according to the exit poll. All of these results suggest that the gap between Obama's support among college-educated white women and non-college white men-which stood at a formidable 13 percentage points in 2008-might easily widen even further in 2012.

All told: If you're in a liberal-leaning group and are comfortable enough economically to only care about more abstract things like social issues (abortion forever), racial solidarity (gotta give our brother a second chance), racial condescension (wouldn't be fair to boot out a black guy just because he's unqualified and a failure), and also don't care about taxes, you're pro-Obama. Plus, anyone getting handouts from the government, or whose jobs depend directly on a large government.

Everyone else is moving away. Way too slowly for me to feel comfortable about it, but it does look like there's movement away.

Obama needs to do better with one group that has turned strongly against him: older whites. Older whites were never big fans of his, but since ObamaCare and everything else they have turned strongly against him.

And that, of course, is the reason the GOP is going to talk up Ryan's proposal but only in abstract, let's-have-a-conversation terms, and that's why the Democrats are going to run on that like there's no tomorrow. This is the big swing group in this election -- if older whites can be persuaded that no one's worth voting for in 2012, or, even better, that Obama, for all his failures, will keep Medicare intact (right until the moment it implodes and the checks stop entirely), he can actually win this thing.

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posted by Ace at 01:42 PM

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