Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Obama & Working Class White Voters: 'Problem' or not?

Since we know the 'memo' from Camp Clinton will be about Obama's 'problem' with Working Class Whites, maybe it's time to look at some hard numbers, from the latest ABC/Washington Post Presidential Polling:

But primaries only tell us so much about general elections. In our latest ABC/Post poll, testing each of the Democrats against John McCain, there’s a shortfall among less-educated whites for both: McCain leads Obama by 12 points in this group, Clinton by 8.

Obama, with his upscale appeal, does better among better-educated whites: McCain’s just +3 vs. Obama, compared with McCain’s 12-point advantage against Clinton among college-educated whites. That accounts for Obama’s better showing against McCain overall, 51-44 percent in our poll, vs. 49-46 percent in a Clinton-McCain matchup.

Whites, no college
McCain ----52


Whites, college grads
Obama ------47%
McCain ---- 50


There are other potential impacts of race and socioeconomic status. As we noted in our poll analysis yesterday, 17 percent of less-educated whites say they’re at least somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of an African-American president; among better-educated whites that declines to 4 percent. As noted, there’s a similar effect on comfort with a woman president – and McCain’s age is a far bigger negative than either of these. Each of the candidates has room for some consciousness-raising on these concerns.

It’s also worth noting that the latte-vs.-lunch bucket effect has not been entirely consistent in all primaries this year. Obama won less-educated whites in the Vermont and Wisconsin primaries, was +2 in Utah and came within 4 points in his home state of Illinois (although in each he again did better with upscale whites).

It’s fair for the Obama camp to point out that he doesn’t do significantly worse against McCain among working-class whites than Clinton does, and that he does better with their upscale counterparts. And Obama’s numbers are nothing like John Kerry’s and Al Gore’s; they lost working-class whites to George W. Bush by 24 points and 17 points, respectively.

Rest of article at link above.

Is the situation dire? No.
Hopeless? No.
Does Obama have work to do with this group? Yes.

But, considering that Obama hasn't even truly begin the General Election campaign in earnest, stop letting folks lie and overstate his ' problem' with Working Class Whites.

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