Tag Archives: white working class

Must Read: Sean Trende Estimates ~7 Million Few Whites Voted in 2012

The numbers are all still fuzzy and incomplete right now which is why I’m holding off analysis and two smart people (Jay Cost and Sean Trende) can be looking at 2 very different numbers. Trende over at Real Clear Politics takes a stab at the remaining votes to be counted and looks at the Demographic changes (or lack thereof) in what drove the 2012 election results.  Read the whole thing at Real Clear Politics:

For Republicans, that despair now comes from an electorate that seems to have undergone a sea change. In the 2008 final exit polls (unavailable online), the electorate was 75 percent white, 12.2 percent African-American, 8.4 percent Latino, with 4.5 percent distributed to other ethnicities. We’ll have to wait for this year’s absolute final exit polls to come in to know the exact estimate of the composition this time, but right now it appears to be pegged at about 72 percent white, 13 percent black, 10 percent Latino and 5 percent “other.”

But that is just percentages.  The actual turnout tells a much different story:

[T]he 2012 elections actually weren’t about a demographic explosion with non-white voters. Instead, they were about a large group of white voters not showing up. As of this writing, Barack Obama has received a bit more than 60 million votes. Mitt Romney has received 57 million votes. Although the gap between Republicans and Democrats has closed considerably since 2008, Romney is still running about 2.5 million votes behind John McCain; the gap has closed simply because Obama is running about 9 million votes behind his 2008 totals. Of course, there are an unknown number of ballots outstanding. If we guesstimate the total at 7 million (3 million in California, 1.5 million or so in Oregon and Washington, and another 2.5 million or so spread throughout the country), that would bring the total number of votes cast in 2012 to about 125 million: 5 million votes shy of the number cast four years ago.

2012 actual vote estimates based on exit polls

With this base line, and armed with the exit-poll data, we can get a pretty good estimate of how many whites, blacks, and Latinos cast ballots in both 2008 and 2012. Assuming the 72/13/10/5 percentage split described above for 2012, that would equate to about 91.6 million votes cast by white, 16.6 million by blacks, 12.7 million by Latinos, with the balance of 6.3 million votes spread among other groups. Compare this with 2008, when the numbers were 98.6 million whites, 16.3 million blacks, 11 million Latinos, and 5.9 million from other groups.

Changes in non-white turnout:

In other words, if our underlying assumption — that there are 7 million votes outstanding — is correct, then the African-American vote only increased by about 300,000 votes, or 0.2 percent, from 2008 to 2012. The Latino vote increased by a healthier 1.7 million votes, while the “other” category increased by about 470,000 votes.

Change in white turnout:

This is nothing to sneeze at, but in terms of the effect on the electorate, it is dwarfed by the decline in the number of whites. Again, if our assumption about the total number of votes cast is correct, almost 7 million fewer whites voted in 2012 than in 2008. This isn’t readily explainable by demographic shifts either; although whites are declining as a share of the voting-age population, their raw numbers are not. Moreover, we should have expected these populations to increase on their own, as a result of overall population growth. If we build in an estimate for the growth of the various voting-age populations over the past four years and assume 55 percent voter turnout, we find ourselves with about 8 million fewer white voters than we would expect given turnout in the 2008 elections and population growth.

Demographics were not destiny in 2012

Had the same number of white voters cast ballots in 2012 as did in 2008, the 2012 electorate would have been about 74 percent white, 12 percent black, and 9 percent Latino (the same result occurs if you build in expectations for population growth among all these groups). In other words, the reason this electorate looked so different from the 2008 electorate is almost entirely attributable to white voters staying home. The other groups increased their vote, but by less than we would have expected simply from population growth. Put another way: The increased share of the minority vote as a percent of the total vote is not the result of a large increase in minorities in the numerator, it is a function of many fewer whites in the denominator.

Where did they go? It doesn’t appear to be the evangelicals

My first instinct was that they might be conservative evangelicals turned off by Romney’s Mormonism or moderate past. But the decline didn’t seem to be concentrated in Southern states with high evangelical populations.

Obama negative ads worked?

Where things drop off are in the rural portions of Ohio, especially in the southeast. These represent areas still hard-hit by the recession. Unemployment is high there, and the area has seen almost no growth in recent years. My sense is these voters were unhappy with Obama. But his negative ad campaign relentlessly emphasizing Romney’s wealth and tenure at Bain Capital may have turned them off to the Republican nominee as well. The Romney campaign exacerbated this through the challenger’s failure to articulate a clear, positive agenda to address these voters’ fears, and self-inflicted wounds like the “47 percent” gaffe. Given a choice between two unpalatable options, these voters simply stayed home.

Implications for 2016

But in terms of interpreting elections, and analyzing the future, the substantial drop-off in the white vote is a significant data point. Had Latino and African-American voters turned out in massive numbers, we might really be talking about a realignment of sorts, although we would have to see if the Democrats could sustain it with someone other than Obama atop the ticket (they could not do so in 2010). As it stands, the bigger puzzle for figuring out the path of American politics is who these non-voters are, why they stayed home, and whether they might be reactivated in 2016 (by either party).

 

Battleground Counties: Hamilton County, Ohio

Note: This is based on an article published April 30, 2012

With Battleground counties gaining such prominence, I decided to go back and see what The Wall Street Journal published in their Swing Nation coverage.  Below is their look at Hamilton County, Ohio shortly after Romney locked up the GOP nomination:

As the 2012 race intensifies between President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, the political backdrop in this pivotal swing state is being shaped by events that roiled Ohio a year ago. The fight over the bargaining rights of public-employee unions energized partisans on both sides, and amounted to a trial run for the general election that each party is now trying to use to its advantage. Neither party has a decisive edge, and Ohio figures to be a pivotal as well as closely fought state in the presidential race. Both parties have targeted Ohio as a battleground state, and the two candidates plan to spend a lot of time there. Mr. Obama will be in Ohio this week during his official campaign kickoff. Mr. Romney paid a visit Friday.  And while the union fight and its aftermath will affect the November campaign, including Ohio’s congressional elections, it will hardly be the only issue. A recent survey by the Quinnipiac University Poll showed nine in 10 Ohioans rated the economy as “extremely important” or “very important.”

Public employee unions and collective bargaining rights

Last year’s fight over public-employee unions was waged when Ohio’s unemployment rate was around 9%. Since then, though, it has dropped to 7.5%. One political debate will be whether the Republican Gov. John Kasich—the man at the center of the union fight—or the Democratic president, Mr. Obama, gets credit if the state’s jobless rate continues to fall. Democrats think the fracas reopened the door for supporters who have slipped away in recent years: white, working-class, Republican-leaning voters who disliked the GOP move to shrink the power of public-sector unions, to which many remain loyal. During the fight last year, Mr. Obama lashed out against Ohio’s collective-bargaining law and a similar law in Wisconsin. Republicans, however, are optimistic the core debate over the size of government—including pay and pensions of public employees—will energize their base and pull financially pressed swing voters in their direction. Mr. Romney had backed the law, writing on his Facebook page last year that he fully supported Ohio Republicans’ efforts “to limit the power of union bosses and keep taxes low.” Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, a potential GOP running mate, tried to stay on the sidelines during the fight, but he has supported collective-bargaining rights for police in the past.

Battleground county

Hamilton County is an important swing county in what may be the most important swing state. It is closely watched because its evenly divided electorate has so accurately reflected Ohio’s in the past. Vote tallies here almost precisely mirrored the state’s overall results when Ohio went for Mr. Obama in 2008, 52% to 47%, and then for Mr. Kasich in 2010, 49% to 47%. Ohio gives an ideal vantage point to see how the two parties are battling. Democratic campaign workers are poring over the 1.3 million voter signatures collected to repeal the collective-bargaining law, in hopes of pinpointing swing voters: Democrats say 10% of the signatures came from registered Republicans, 24% were Democrats and independents accounted for 65%. Hamilton generated more signatures per resident than any other county against three GOP-backed laws last year, including the collective-bargaining law. Its rich trove of votes has prompted the Obama campaign to open two of its 18 Ohio offices here. Volunteers began knocking on doors across the state two weeks ago.

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Battleground State Nuggets From Around the Romney Bus Tour

The Associated Press’ macro look at the Romney bus tour is chock full of goodies like the depleted Democrat strength in Detroit, the split focus between Pennsylvania and Ohio, the widening Romney electoral map  and much more :

Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney is pushing to win a band of Midwestern states that voted for President Barack Obama four years ago and that generally have a long history of backing Democrats in White House elections. Romney faces hurdles and advantages in each state but his approach will leave Obama no choice but to spend time and money defending states he carried in 2008. That Romney is even making a play for the arc of states from Pennsylvania to Iowa also suggests his path to the 270 electoral votes he will need to win the White House may be widening.

Wisconsin momentum and “easy bake” ground game:

Before arriving in Iowa on Monday, Romney stopped in Janesville, Wis., an economically struggling, one-time manufacturing hub in the southern part of the state. Unemployment there is 9 percent, well above the state average of 6.8 percent for May. The national average is 8.2 percent. He toured Monterey Mills, a unionized company that makes fabric for paint rollers and the stuffing for toys like Winnie the Pooh. Wisconsin, which has not backed a Republican for president since Ronald Reagan in 1984, presents a new opportunity for Romney, almost exclusively due to Gov. Scott Walker’s triumph two weeks ago in a contentious recall election. Walker’s win, after an 18-month fight over public employee union rights, gives Republicans hope. It also gives Romney a corps of well-trained organizers and reams of voter data to put to use. But he still has his work cut out for him. Voters said in exit polls after the June 5 election that they trust Obama more to address the nation’s economic struggles — the chief argument for Romney, a former businessman — and the interests of the middle class. Obama also continues to have the advantage in urban areas, especially among minority voters, which each state except Iowa has. Although Romney aides say there is no Midwestern lynchpin, they argue that a competitive streak in Wisconsin is good for them in the entire region.

Iowa in focus:

Iowa, however, has trended Republican since Obama won it in 2008. Like nearly every state in the arc, Iowans turned down Democratic candidates for governor in favor of pro-business Republicans. Iowa voters dumped three state Supreme Court justices to protest their decision allowing gay marriage. Romney’s campaign also spent the year before the state’s leadoff nominating caucuses laying the foundation in this true swing state for a general election campaign. Iowa has voted Republican in every other presidential election since 1988. Obama, meanwhile, enjoys a special Iowa connection, having won the 2008 Democratic caucuses in Cinderella fashion. He’s already built a robust ground operation. He has spent nearly $5 million on advertising in Iowa, and has spent no money in Wisconsin since early in the year.

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Reagan Landslide Overlayed Today’s Electorate

The American population has changed dramatically over the last generation.  When we talk in political terms the demographics are most starkly demonstrated by the “white working class” vote and the Reagan landslide of 1984.  As we outlined in an earlier post:

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.

Each one of those elections resulted in epic Republican landslides. The National Journal takes a look at just how dramatically the demographics have changed over the generation since that Reagan drubbing of Mondale:

When Reagan routed Democratic nominee Walter Mondale in 1984, the white working class dominated the electorate. White voters without a four-year college degree cast 61 percent of all ballots that year, and they gave Reagan 66 percent of their votes, the NJ analysis found. White voters with at least a four-year college degree cast an additional 27 percent of the vote, and 62 percent of them went for Reagan. Eighty-one percent of minorities backed Mondale, but they represented just 12 percent of all voters then. By 2008, minorities had more than doubled their vote share to 26 percent. College-educated whites had increased their share to 35 percent. The big losers were whites without a college degree, who dropped from 61 percent of all voters to 39 percent—a decline of more than one-third from their level in 1984. That is social change at breakneck speed.

From Republican dominance to Democrat ascendency:

This evolution in America’s social structure goes a long way toward explaining why Democrats have won the popular vote in four of the five presidential contests since 1992 after losing (usually emphatically) five of the six races from 1968 to 1988. Most polls this spring show Obama running near the 52 percent he won among those upscale white women in 2008, and also remaining very close to his 80 percent showing among all minorities. If Obama can hold that level of support from those two groups, Romney could amass a national majority only by winning nearly two-thirds of all other whites—the men with college degrees, and the men and women without them. To put that challenge in perspective, Reagan, while winning his historic landslide, carried a combined 66.5 percent of those three groups. To defeat Obama, in other words, Romney may need to equal Reagan.

Everyone is Talking About White People Today

In one of two important articles on the 2012 white vote (the other is John Ellis’ piece in Real Clear Politics), Nate Cohn in The New Republic does a lot of heavy lifting (with a great graphic below the fold) identifying the looming weakness in Obama’s focus on growing minority votes — he’s losing the white working class vote at historic low levels:

One demographic has plagued Obama since his primary duel with Hillary Clinton: white voters without a college degree. Over the last four years, Obama’s already tepid support among white voters without a college degree has collapsed. At the same time, the “newer” elements of the Democratic coalition—college educated and non-white voters—have continued to offer elevated levels of support to the president. The latest polls show this trend continuing, indicating an unprecedented education gap among white voters—a gap that could put Obama’s electoral chances in jeopardy.

Losing the white working class vote:

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. [NOTE: This is the place where Democrats demography arguments both support their contentions and have significant importance. It’s not 1984 anymore and Republicans need to come to terms with that.]

In 2008, Obama lost white college graduates by four points and whites without a college degree by 19 points. If the national polls are correct, and Obama currently holds approximately 35 percent of the white non-college vote, then Romney has an opportunity to win white non-college voters by 30 points. If Romney does so, the education gap would increase from 15 points in 2008 to 26 points in 2012. For comparison, the vaunted gender gap was 14 points in 2008 and 13 points in the most recent Pew poll.

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Who Thinks Democrats Will Have A Record Turnout? Franklin & Marshall Apparently (EDIT: Or Maybe not)

August 16, 2012 Update:  I hotly complained about the voter registration breakdown in this Franklin & Marshall poll which was D: 50, R: 37, I: 12. While I knew the difference between “party registration” and “party ID” I found it unthinkable that a 13% voter registration advantage for the Democrats.  I was wrong. My complaints were due to the Democrat party ID in 2008 was Dem: 44, Rep: 37, Ind: 18 of D +7 — a record year for Democrats, and up from D: 41, R: 39, I: 20 or D +2 in 2004.  My criticism of the party registration in the Franklin & Marshall poll was unfounded.  Democrats in Pennsylvania continue enjoy a party registration advantage exactly as Franklin & Marshall survey.  Maybe more Democrats will cross over in 2012 and maybe reduced Democrat enthusiasm for Obama will keep them home, but as it stands Franklin & Marshall’s methodology is correct.

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In a “Quick Hits” post Wednesday I linked to the Franklin & Marshall poll showing Obama with a commanding +12 point lead in Pennsylvania. Great news for Obama, right? Not so much it turns out. The internals in this poll tell a very different story such that despite the double digit lead, the poll should be of grave concern for the Obama campaign. Really.

A lot of things looked odd in the demographic breakdowns in the poll:

  • Despite the gender gap with men for Obama — he lost men by 1-point to McCain–in this poll he was beating Romney by +7
  • While most polls have Romney outpacing Obama on fixing the economy (or no worse than even), this poll has Obama up  +6
  • Among the all-important Independent voter, Obama leads by an incredible +22%

If those polling margins are accurate, not only will Obama win Pennsylvania, but he will probably win 400 electoral college votes.

Luckily for the Romney campaign, the oversampling of Democrats is so ludicrous it renders the Obama lead of +12 irrelevant as this poll fails in every way to reflect the likely turnout in November.

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Batlleground Quick Hits: Virginia, Michigan, Nevada, $$$$$ and more

Pennsylvania ‘Definitely In Play’ — Former Pennsylvania Governor Democrat Ed Rendell

When you hear about a campaign surrogate “going off-message” know that simply means the surrogate committed the political crime of telling the truth. This applies whether it was Cory Booker and the truth about private equity, Bill Clinton on Mitt Romney’s stellar business credentials or now former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell advocating extending the tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year. But thankfully for us, a guy who knows the Keystone State probably better than anyone in the country, was asked whether Barack Obama would win Pennsylvania:

The election will be determined by basically the four Philadelphia suburban counties … I tell people Governor Romney’s biggest liability in the primaries was that people really didn’t believe he was a conservative. His biggest asset in the general election is people really don’t believe he is a conservative. So will those moderate Republicans, conservative Democrats, independents in the Philadelphia suburbs vote for him because he is really a moderate who is going to govern in a moderate fashion? I don’t know. But I will tell you what I think in the end will determine how those people vote: one convention speech and maybe the first two debates. All the rest of it is noise.

The reporter, Sam Stein, asked again: “So bottom line, is Pennsylvania is in play?”

“Oh, it is definitely in play,” Rendell replied. He went on about how bizarre it was to read reports that Republicans weren’t making investments in the state. “Can’t be right. I mean why would you do that?” … “I think it is definitely in play,” he said again. “I said from the beginning, Mitt Romney is the only candidate who had a chance to do well enough in the Philadelphia suburbs to carry the state.

The suburban counties Rendell is referring to are: Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County and Montgomery County

After the above sequence, Stein (an avowed Democrat who often has trouble hiding his disdain for Republicans) writes:

If Pennsylvania does indeed come down to the debates, the Obama campaign is in more political trouble than anyone envisions.

As we saw in the early posts regarding the divide between working class voters in Pennsylvania and Obama’s job killing policies on Keystone Pipeline and his war on coal, the state is ripe for a flip to the GOP so long as the Romney campaign turns it into a Battleground.

The Battle for Pennsylvania

Despite our enthusiasm for the prospects in the Keystone state, not everyone shares our excitement including, it would appear, the Romney campaign. However, considering the demographic changes in the state, Obama’s well documented difficulties with Pennsylvania-like voters in his “uncontested” primaries and controversies over anti-business decisions like scuttling the Keystone Pipeline or killing coal plants, Pennsylvania remains a hot topic for political watchers. The Washington Post takes and in-depth look at voter sentiment in the coal country foothills of Western Pennsylvania:

This is coal country, even if there’s hardly any coal anymore. Hidden in the brush are the ruins of the beehive ovens that turned coal into coke and blackened the skies along the western slope of the Alleghenies.

The big play now is natural gas. Fayette County, which borders West Virginia about an hour’s drive south of Pittsburgh, is in the heart of the Marcellus Shale. Civic leaders hope that fracking — the hydraulic fracturing of the shale rock to liberate the gas in its pores — can reverse the fortunes of this depressed region. This part of Pennsylvania is a political and economic battleground. It’s on the front line of America’s economic doldrums, and it is not incidentally a swing county in presidential elections.

John Kerry carried Fayette County in 2004, but four years later John McCain squeaked by Barack Obama. McCain’s margin, 25,669 to 25,509, represented barely enough voters to fill half a basketball court. No one would call Fayette a bellwether, but it represents one very vivid brick in the foundation of American political and economic life: the rural industrial region in a post-industrial age.

Party Affiliation Does Not Equal Party Voter:

This is an overwhemingly Democratic county by party affiliation, but it is politically conservative. It’s full of prototypical Reagan Democrats. That said, Obama has the lead in Pennsylvania polls and handily won the state four years ago. It’s not clear whether it’ll be as competitive as Ohio next door or some of the other swing states. But the president faces headwinds here. Fayette County’s unemployment rate is higher than the national average. And the memory of coal and the dream of gas will not help Obama as he mines votes in this part of Pennsylvania.

The administration has touted its support for natural gas drilling, but many people here see Obama as unfriendly to fossil fuels. They cite his blocking of the proposed Keystone pipeline in the Great Plains. They talk about the administration’s tougher regulations on pollutants from coal-fired power plants. They’re wary of environmentalists who view fracking as a threat to the water supply.

Antipathy Toward Obama is Strong:

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A Better Day — the Third Installment of Romney’s “Day One” Theme

Among other statements in this 30 second spot …. “Stands up to China on trade.” Hmmmm, I’m sensing a pattern.

Who Cares About the China Policy? Swing State Voters

Although this blog is about Battleground states, we’ve previously taken a look at Battleground counties. Today, the Financial Times (of London) takes a close look at the rhetoric and reality around the differences between the Obama Administration’s policy towards trade with China and the often blistering criticism from the Romney campaign.  The backdrop for such an analysis is the personal impact such a debate has on the swing-state manufacturing sector voter, especially in Lake County, OH — crucial to either campaign’s hopes for winning in November.

Lake County, OH was carried by George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 but swung to Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election could be pivotal again this year. Dale Fellows – whose Cleveland, Ohio company prints everything from business cards to billboards — thinks Mr Romney’s confrontational attitude on trade will be well received in the region. Fellows is chairman of the Lake County Republican party and believes: “It’s time to push the envelope. [The Obama administration] dropped the ball big time – they’ve done just the opposite of what they talked about in 2008 and now we are more subservient and dependent on China than ever before.”

The Romney campaign has been a harsh critic of China’s currency policy as well as the Obama Administration’s trade stance:

Romney maintained a tough stance on China throughout the Republican primary contest, vowing to brand it a “currency manipulator”. Last week, his campaign made clear that he intended to double down on this message during the general election, releasing an ad that promised Mr Romney would “make China play by the rules” from his first day in office. The Romney campaign has stepped up its criticism of US President Barack Obama for being too lenient with China on its economic policies, saying the US has “little to lose” in being more confrontational with the Asian nation and brushing off concerns that this could lead to a trade war, writes James Politi in Washington. “If you go with an outstretched hand to countries that are cheating, you get the short end of the stick and we have been seeing that for some time with China,” said Oren Cass, a domestic policy adviser to Mitt Romney’s campaign. “Taking a tougher stance will not endear us to the Chinese leadership, but we have little to lose if they are already pursuing the policies that harm us.”

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Democrat Perspective: Why Obama Will Win Pennsylvania

In the second installment of “Democrat Perspective” we’re going to take a look at the Keystone State. I will readily admit that this is one of the least likely GOP wins among the Battleground states (Michigan is probably the least likely) but the state is still close enough to be a consensus Battleground. Evan McMurray, the political editor at Ology, had a reasoned essay explaining “Why Mitt Romney Will Lose Pennsylvania“:

Pennsylvania is getting further and further out of reach for Mitt Romney, putting additional pressure on him to win one of the eight so-called super swing states in November. But more important, the Pennsylvania’s movement away from its flirtation as a swing state shows how changing demographics—and some well-placed, anti-Bain Capital ads—put the state back in the blue.

Although I was immediately concerned that the argument would be overly-weighted to the suspect demographic arguments Democrats keep trumpeting, Mr. McMurray weighed in heavily on more data driven arguments:

Public Policy Polling has Obama up a solid 50/42 despite the president’s disapproval rating actually being one point underwater

Reconciling this disparity McMurray identifies the Obama campaign strategy:

How do voters elect a candidate they don’t particularly like? By hating his opponent: Keystoners have a real problem with Mitt Romney, who has an approval deficit of 14 points, 37/51. Voters may not be thrilled with Obama, but they’re more than happy to vote for him over Romney.

Now demographics:

  • PA has seen “strong growth in college graduates and skilled service industries and increased diversity due to a burgeoning Hispanic population” — all Obama groups
  • Eastern half of the state has been trending away from its rust belt roots — a demo with shrinking support for Obama but importantly a shrinking demo
  • Still central to the state’s vote results, though, are white working class voters who did not disproportionately turn on Obama in 2008 despite his “bitter clingers” comment — he won enough in 08 to carry the state

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Ohio Demographic Watch — White Working Class

Each Battleground state presents its own unique constituency with fears and hopes often unique to that state.  To make sweeping generalizations across large swaths of the country is usually foolhardy and will often lead to poor strategic analysis of any state’s pressing issues.  Thankfully a few news outlets are drilling down within these battleground states and attempting to glean some insights into what are the most pressing issues of the day and what we can expect to ultimately sway these voters in November.

Reuters is taking yearlong polling that focuses on the diverse group of voters in play across the Battleground states and reporting their findings. Today they discuss white working class voters — men and women without college degrees who earn middle-income wages — who make up more than half of the electorate in Ohio. This is much the same demographic making noises in uncontested Democrat primaries by voting in large percentages for “protest” candidates or actually checking the box for “Nobody.” But while this demographic is not a natural voting bloc for Obama, they have plenty of reservations about Mitt Romney also:

As of this week, white working-class voters across the Rust Belt leaned toward Romney, with 44 percent of respondents in a Reuters/Ipsos poll saying they would vote for the Republican if the election were held today, versus 30 percent for Obama. (For purposes of the poll, the Rust Belt includes Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and parts of New York and Pennsylvania.)

In Ohio specifically,

Obama carried the state by five percentage points in 2008 [but] the wobbly economy offers Romney a powerful opening. [Romney however] has struggled to relate to blue-collar voters.

Within this context important themes emerge:

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Latinos Swung Colorado for Obama in 08? Apparently Not

The always invaluable Jay Cost picks up on The Hill piece I blogged about earlier and brings to light an important mis-characterization in the discussion of the Colorado voting landscape:

[C]ontrary to conventional wisdom, Latinos did not swing the state from red to blue in 2008. According to exit polls, John McCain managed 38 percent of the Latino vote. In 2004, George W. Bush pulled in 30 percent. The real action was with white voters, who gave McCain just 48 percent of the vote compared to 57 percent for Bush.

Cost goes on to identify a reason why Colorado could be a rebound state for the GOP after flipping Democrat in 2008 (by reason of a healthier performance in 2010 by a state party that has often sabotaged itself).  But with all of the hullabaloo around the Democrats capitalizing on the admittedly changing demographics in states like North Carolina and purportedly Colorado in such a manner to achieve a “permanent majority” it is more than curious to see Jay Cost easily debunk that notion in the Rocky Mountain state.