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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Brownstein: Dems’ Must Turn Out Educated Single White Women

All indications are that Democrats are doing a good job in mobilizing African American voters, or rather the African American communities are doing it for themselves. It would be good to see some encouraging indicators that the same is true for the mobilization of Latino voters. All of that taken into consideration, Ronald Brownstein, editorial director of The National Journal, has a compelling article up underscoring the pivotal importance of single, educated white women for Democrats in the midterms: As Brownstein sees it:

…In surveys of both individual Senate races and national preferences on the generic congressional ballot, Democrats are showing stubborn strength with college-educated and single white women.
That performance–combined with preponderant leads among minority voters in almost all surveys–represents the Democrats’ best chance of overcoming gaping deficits with the remainder of the white electorate in the key contests. Yet in a measure of the party’s vulnerability, even that advantage rests on an unsteady foundation: National Pew Research Center and ABC/Washington Post polls conducted in October found that college-educated white women, though strongly preferring Democrats on issues relating to women’s health, actually trust Republicans more on both managing the economy and safeguarding the nation’s security.

Getting down to particular races, Brownstein adds:

On Sunday, the NBC/Marist Poll released results in five hotly competitive Senate races: Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, and Iowa. (NBC and the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion also surveyed South Dakota, but the poll found that Republicans have reestablished a wide lead there.)
In all five of those races, the Democratic (or in the case of Kansas, independent) candidate ran better, usually much better, with college-educated white women than with any of the three other groups of whites.
In the NBC/Marist Polls, Iowa Democratic nominee Bruce Braley led among those well-educated white women by 5 points; Sen. Kay Hagan led by 6 points in North Carolina; Sen. Mark Pryor by 7 points in Arkansas; independent Greg Orman by 21 points in Kansas; and Sen. Mark Udall, who has emphasized social issues probably more than any other Democrat, by a resounding 27 points in Colorado.
The latest University of New Hampshire poll showed Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen holding a commanding 61-percent-to-28-percent advantage over Republican Scott Brown among college-educated white women. Quinnipiac University polls this month in Iowa and Colorado also recorded big advantages for Braley (25 percentage points) and Udall (16 points) with those women. “College-educated white women are Republicans’ biggest hurdle in terms of white voters,” says a top GOP strategist working on independent expenditure campaigns this year. “In those blue states, college white women are the equivalent of minority voters … they are how the Democrats start their base. That’s why you have seen such a focus, particularly in Colorado, with the war on women.”

Brownstein also cites an ABC News/Washington Post poll showing Democrats with a substantially better generic congressional ballot lead with educated white single women voters than was the case in 2010 and even 2012. Dems are going to need this edge to prevail next Tuesday, since they are lagging badly with almost all other groups of white voters. Dems are doing better than they did in those years with less educated white women, but they still lag behind Republicans with this demographic in key battleground statewide races.
If Democratic campaign workers needed an incentive to get extremely busy working the educated single white women demographic, Brownstein has it:

In 2016, a strong performance among the growing populations of minorities and college-educated or single white women might be all Democrats need to hold the White House: Their support allowed Obama to win a relatively comfortable reelection in 2012 despite struggling among most other whites. But maintaining Senate control behind such a narrow coalition is a much stiffer challeng–especially when the road to a majority runs through so many interior states dominated by the older and blue-collar whites hardening in their alienation from the Democratic Party.

As we enter the final week of the midterm campaign, the MSM is talking up a perceived edge for the Republicans in the battle for Senate control, based on some recent polls. But it’s the polls in the last two or three days before the election that have the most cred for predicting the result. For Democrats, however, our best midterm outcome has always been about GOTV in the battleground states — and early voting indications suggest that Dems are in pretty good shape.

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