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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Brownstein: Romney’s Primary Wins May Come with High Price

In his National Journal post “The Cost of Romney’s Success,” Ronald Brownstein reviews some new polls and arrives at conclusions the Obama campaign should find encouraging. As Brownstein writes:

The new NBC/Wall Street Journal national survey released Monday, like the NBC/Marist polls released yesterday in the key swing states of Ohio and Virginia, quantify the broad sense in both parties that Mitt Romney’s slog toward the GOP nomination has come at a palpable price for November.
In the NBC/WSJ survey, Obama held a 50 percent to 43 percent advantage over Romney nationally, up from a 47 percent to 44 percent lead in the average of the news organizations’ polls during the second half of 2011, just before the voting began in the Republican race. What’s especially striking about the new survey is that it shows Obama has made his biggest gains among the group that has consistently resisted him the most: white voters without a college education.
…Romney’s eroding advantage among working-class whites tracks recent ABC/Washington Post polling showing Romney with an anemic favorability rating no better than Obama’s among those voters. These numbers are bound to increase Democratic optimism that the focus on Romney’s business career at Bain Capital, and his repeated comments highlighting his personal wealth, may create greater openings than almost anyone expected for Obama with blue-collar whites. If Obama could actually hold as much white working-class support as the NBC/WSJ poll gives him today, he’d bank it in a heartbeat: No Democratic presidential nominee since 1988 has carried more than 44 percent of non-college white voters.

As for the NBC/Marist poll,

The NBC/Marist results from the Virginia and Ohio polls suggest greater upscale vulnerability for Romney. The Virginia survey, which gave Obama a crushing 17 percentage point lead over Romney, showed the president actually drawing only the same meager percentage of Virginia non-college whites as he did in 2008: just 32 percent, according to figures provided by Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. But the poll found Obama attracting 49 percent of college-educated whites, up from his 44 percent figure in 2008, and holding big leads among minorities.
…Like the Virginia survey, the NBC/Marist Ohio poll showed Obama leading Romney among college-educated whites, 48 percent to 43 percent; in 2008, he split Ohio college whites almost exactly evenly with John McCain. In the survey, Obama trailed Romney among Ohio non-college whites by just two percentage points, a much more manageable difference than his 10 point gap against McCain in 2008.

Perhaps most encouraging, Brownstein concludes, “in both Ohio and Virginia the surveys found Obama attracting almost exactly three-fifths of moderates -the same dominant share he won in capturing both states last time.”

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