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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The Political Landscape on the Eve of the Convention (Continued)

Yesterday, our tour of the political landscape on the eve the convention included results from national polls and from polls of Hispanics. Today, I’ll take a look at a recently-released poll of black voters and another one of college students.
The Hispanic polls discussed yesterday indicate that the Kerry-Edwards ticket is running strong among Hispanic voters and appears poised to do better than the Gore-Lieberman ticket did in 2000. The other big component of the minority vote, of course, is black voters and a new poll by BET/CBS News suggests that Democrats will replicate their traditional strong performance among these voters in this election.
The trial heat question in this poll gives Bush only 10 percent support among black voters, compared to 79 percent for Kerry. That 10 percent support is the average GOP presidential support in the last three elections and is unlikely to grow much, if at all, before election day since, based on historical patterns, pretty much all the undecided voters in this group should be allocated to the Democratic candidate.
And you can see why given the incredibly negative views of black voters on Bush and his administration. They give Bush an 11 percent approval rating, with 85 percent disapproval (!) Only 6 percent of blacks think the country is going in the right direction, compared to 92 percent who feel things are off on the wrong track. Just 9 percent think Bush has the same priorities for the country as they do, while 84 percent think he doesn’t. And, by 90 percent to 8 percent, black voters don’t think the result of the war with Iraq was worth the associated loss of life and other costs.
That 10 percent sounds more and more like a ceiling on Bush’s support among black voters.
The new Harvard University/Institute of Politics poll of college students shows Bush in deep trouble among this group as well. Since March, Kerry’s already-wide lead over Bush among students has increased by 8 points, from 53-40 to 58-37. Bush’s approval rating among this group has sunk to 40 percent, while support for the US having gone to war in Iraq has fallen to 42 percent, with 56 percent opposition. And, at this point, by 50-31, college students feel the Kerry campaign is talking about issues that young people care about, while, by 61-26, they feel the Bush campaign is not.
Sounds like a tough sell for the GOP among the nation’s students!
Tomorrow: the white working class and the 2004 election

11 comments on “The Political Landscape on the Eve of the Convention (Continued)

  1. burritoboy on

    As Ruy (and many others) have pointed out, professionals have drastically shifted from being strongly Republican to Democratic. This shift has already had profound effects – for example, making urban districts very difficult for Republicans to win (the minorities and younger professionals tend to live in urban areas in higher percentages, while managers tend to reside in the suburbs). Managers (as distinct from professionals) remain strongly Republican. This distinction is also important in deciphering the North/South divide, as the larger Nothern urban areas tend to be more skewed towards professional services (law firms, financial institutions, advertising, media, healthcare) while most Southern cities’ economies are focused on managerially dominated firms (retail chains, travel, food industries and so on). Of course, there are many large exceptions to that.

  2. Ron Thompson on

    According to the 2000 national exit poll, Gore carried African-Americans 90-9 with 1 percent for Nader. Gore also carried Asian Americans 55-41, with 3% for Nader and 1% for Buchanan. I don’t have a breakdown for students, but Gore carried voters aged 18-29 by a margin of 48-46, with 5% for Nader, and 1% for Buchanan.
    I agree with Publius that most voters establish a partisan preference in their first few elections, and are very apt to remain with that party. It would be very encouraging, and strong evidence for the emergence of a clear Democratic national majority, if Kerry and Edwards can keep anything like the 58-37 margin among students they enjoy in the Harvard poll, and extend it over the next two presidential elections to the non-students in the 18-29 age group.
    I don’t have data, but it seems to me that Reagan ran well among younger voters, and that they were Perot’s best group as well as Nader’s.

  3. goethean on

    I read that Kerry was writing his own speech for the convention, which would then be gone over by speechwriters.
    Can you imagine if Bush wrote his own speech? {giggle}

  4. AS on

    Ruy: Single most important poll result I’ve seen so far this campaign (and apologies if you already noted it in your very long post which I haven’t quite made it through):
    LA Times question: Among those voters (about 60%) who know enough about Kerry to evaluate him, he leads by 10 points. Among those voters who do not know enough, he trails by 12.
    Bingo. That’s what’s weird about all the recent polling. To me, this is fabulous news, unless Kerry totally blows the convention (not very likely, based on the speech he gave at the send-off rally in Denver today, which I attended). He leads strongly among those who are clued in, and many of those currently choosing Bush don’t know enough about Kerry AND ADMIT IT.
    The race is still on — to define John Kerry. And the man himself has the first best shot at it this week.

  5. Mimiru on

    HEY! I’ve been paying taxes since I was 17! Bush being gone would be my wildest dream. All I can say is that in my upper-midwest college on the Minnesota/North Dakota border it runs about 55% Kerry, 40% Bush.
    Ruy, why ignore Asians?
    I believe they’re going to be the largest demo in 50 years or so (overtopping hispanics) and they are mostly republican aren’t they?

  6. publius on

    It’s a myth that people get more conservative with age. Just look at people over 65- that’s the best Democratic demographic! What in fact happens is that predispositions just get stronger with time. Basicially if you vote for the same party your 3 first presidential elections, you’re pretty much hooked for life. So the political environment during someone’s late teens through mid-twenties are decisive for future political loyalties.

  7. Gareth on

    Aren’t the young usually a good demographic for Democrats? And isn’t it usually a life-cycle, not cohort phenomenon? (In other words, don’t young college students become conservative professionals when they start paying income tax?)


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