Which of the following groups of Americans have the lowest support for President Barack Obama?
B) White men without college degrees
C) Tech CEOS
And the answer is…
B: White men without college degrees.
According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, Obama’s support among this group fell to 29%, which is the lowest of any Democrat in recent history.
The question is… why?
White men without college degrees–like any group of adults without college degrees–tend toward the lower end of the income scale. And relative to the policies of, say, Mitt Romney, Obama’s policies tend to offer more of a helping hand to lower-income people. So you might think that most people without a college degree might be more favourably disposed toward Obama.
So, what’s the answer?
According to Ronald Brownstein at The National Journal, the answer is this:
Many [working-class whites] are culturally-conservative; more are deeply sceptical of government (including [Obama’s] health care plan); and most are struggling in the sustained economic downturn. Polls also consistently show many working-class whites are deeply uneasy about the propulsive racial and ethnic changes that Obama uniquely embodies.
Given the importance of working-class votes in the key swing states for the November election, you might think that this record-low support would doom Obama’s chances. Surprisingly, however, Obama’s doing better among this voter group in the swing states than he is nationally.
Here’s Brownstein again:
Such a poor performance among working-class whites would enormously complicate Obama’s hopes in older Rust Belt states where they predominate, including Ohio, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin (and to a slightly lesser extent Pennsylvania). But in several of those states, recent polls (like Quinnipiac’s most recent Ohio and Pennsylvania surveys) show Obama running slightly better with non-college whites than he’s run nationally, which has allowed him to maintain a lead.
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