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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Class and 2012

In an election year in which the economy ranks as Americans’ top concern, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney holds significant advantages over President Obama among white voters who are struggling financially and buffeted by job loss, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Asked which candidate would do more to advance their families’ economic interests, middle-class white voters who say they are struggling to maintain their financial positions chose Romney over Obama by a large margin — 58 percent to 32 percent.
Gallup reports:
Barack Obama has a significant lead over Mitt Romney among the 24% of American working voters who are classified as professionals, and among the 13% who are service workers. The two are tied among clerical and office workers. Romney leads among all other job categories, including in particular the small segments of voters who work in farming and fishing, construction, and who own a business. He also has an edge among executives and managers.
At National Journal, Ron Brownstein writes of the four white quadrants:  men and women, with and without college degrees.
If Obama stays close to his 2008 level of support among minority voters and maintains or slightly increases their turnout, Romney has to capture about 60 percent of whites to reach a national majority. The good news for him is Republicans reached exactly that level among whites in the 2010 Congressional elections, according to the Edison Research exit poll. 
But in scaling that height, Republicans benefited from a movement in their direction from all whites. In 2010, the GOP not only drove down the Democratic vote to 35 percent or less among white men and women without a college degree and college-educated men, but reduced the Democratic numbers among college white women to just 43 percent, according to the exit poll. (Democrats did much better with those college women in some key Senate races, including California and Colorado.)
If Obama can maintain majority support among those well-educated women, while remaining close to his four-fifths support among minorities, the president can win a national majority while capturing only a little more than one-third of all other whites. Even that isn't impossible for Romney: In 2010, Republicans actually held Democrats to about that level of support with those other whites. But it's not a hill Romney should want to climb: no Republican presidential nominee since 1988 has dominated the other three quadrants of the white electorate to quite that overwhelming extent.