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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Obama Campaign Not Abandoning Blue Collar Voters

Carrie Budoff Brown’s Politico post “Obama and blue-collar voters: Take 2” corroborates one of Ed Kilgore’s points in his “A Vote is a Vote” post that no serious political campaign is going to “abandon” any major political demographic. Indeed, far from “abandoning” blue collar workers, the Obama team is redoubling their efforts to reach them. As Brown notes:

Obama isn’t going to win the blue-collar crowd — he lost them in Pennsylvania by a wider margin, 15 percentage points, than John Kerry did in 2004. He lost the same vote nationwide by 18 points against Republican John McCain.
But he can’t risk bleeding much more of their support, even as his coalition of minorities, young people, educated whites and single women grows in population while the Republican base of older, whiter, more rural voters declines, said Ruy Teixera, the co-author of a new report from the liberal Center for American Progress on the demographics of the 2012 electorate.
“He knows he’s not starting out on the right foot with these voters,” Teixera said in an interview. “He is well aware that, given the structure of the electorate in the state, he doesn’t want that 15-point deficit to yawn into a widening gap.”
That means Obama will need to spend more time in Pennsylvania than recent presidential voting patterns, registration numbers and demographics would suggest. Every Democratic nominee since Bill Clinton in 1992 has won the state. Democrats enjoy a more than 1 million voter-registration edge. And Democratic operatives here and in the Obama campaign argue that weaknesses in the Republican field and the president’s latest push on jobs better position him to woo working-class voters.

Of course the Republicans are doing all they can to amp up the meme that the Obama Administration is somehow “abandoning” the white blue collar workers vote. But the notion is absurd, given the size of this constituency, and that even the most discouraging polls show him getting an ample bite of it. Moreover, the Republicans have very little to offer the white working class and there are some indications that the economy is beginning to improve.
The Obama campaign may end up investing more of its resources in turning out other constituencies, if their best research indicates that’s a more cost-effective way to go. But they well know that ‘abandonment” of any large demographic group would be political suicide.

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