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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Support for Obama Down Among White Working Class

Nate Cohn reports at The New Republic that “Obama’s Problem With White, Non-College Educated Voters is Getting Worse“:

…over the last four years, Obama’s already tepid support among white voters without a college degree has collapsed….Since February, 25 state and national polls from Quinnipiac and Pew Research disaggregated Obama’s standing against Romney by educational attainment. The dataset has weaknesses, as the Quinnipiac state polls sample six somewhat unrepresentative East Coast states. Even so, the degree of consistency across the six states and the six national polls is striking: Of the 25 polls, 22 show a larger drop-off among non-college educated white voters.
On average, Obama has lost nearly 6 percentage points among white voters without a college degree. Given that Obama had already lost millions of traditionally Democratic white working class voters in 2008, this degree of further deterioration is striking. In the three national polls conducted since April, Obama held just 34 percent of white voters without a college degree, compared to 40 percent in 2008. Thirty-four percent places Obama in the company of Walter Mondale, George McGovern, and the 2010 House Democrats. These are landslide numbers.

Cohn reports that the same polls show Obama holding his own with educated white voters. He adds, “If Obama’s enduring strength among educated and non-white voters keeps Obama competitive in traditionally Republican states like Virginia and North Carolina, but Romney doesn’t get his end of the bargain in Democratic-but-white-working-class states like Wisconsin, the electoral map starts to look a lot better for Obama.
Moreover, notes Cohn, Romney is having trouble sealing the deal with less educated white voters. “In all but one of the 25 polls, less educated whites were more likely to be undecided than college educated whites. In the six national polls, 5 percent of college educated whites were undecided compared to 9 percent of whites without a college degree.”
As for messaging, Cohn sees Romney’s image as a potent Obama asset. “Depicting Romney as a plutocratic corporate raider seems likely to resonate with working class voters, especially since many traditionally have voted for Democratic presidential candidates.”

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