Obama still needs the white working class

Jay Cost says that although Obama still needs a large minority of the white working class vote to win the election, say in the low 40s, his current support among the group has fallen well below that percentage.

- end of initial entry -

December 2

James P. writes:

Note what Cost says about Hispanics. Apparently it is an error for the Democrats to think the Hispanic vote is not “secure” because sometimes they only get 54 percent of the Hispanic vote instead of 66 percent! That 54 percent sounds pretty secure to me, especially because it is concentrated in a small number of important states. He calls Hispanics a “swing group”—because they swing between voting majority Democratic and voting overwhelmingly Democratic! In my world a swing group would swing between two parties not within a single party, but whatever. And what a great reason for Gingrich and Romney to pander to Hispanics with amnesty talk—they can aspire to 43 percent of the Hispanic vote like Bush in 2004, hooray!

2. Hispanics are not secure. I’ve pointed out before that “emerging Democratic majority” theorists (like Teixeira) make a category error when they talk about Democratic strength among “non-white” voters. There are important differences within this overly-broad category. African Americans are loyally Democratic, in that they back the party in roughly the same numbers through thick and thin. “Non-white” voters who are not African American—e.g. Asians and Hispanics—do not behave in this manner. They are, rather, swing groups that have a Democratic tilt. In other words, the Democratic share of this group goes up and down, depending on the party’s overall position in the country:

[See Cost’s chart for Presidential Support of Non-White, Non-Black Voters 1988-2008]

As we can see, in good GOP years (e.g. 1988) or neutral years (e.g. 2000 and 2004), Republicans can win up to two-fifths of this bloc, while in bad years (e.g. 1992 and 2008) it struggles even to get to a third.

Paul K. writes:

Obama needs white working class voters, but the Republican Party even more so. Unfortunately, I don’t see it making any effort to attract them. The most obvious issue with which it could appeal to them is a moratorium on legal immigration and a crackdown on the illegal immigration, both of which depress the value of American labor, diminish the opportunities for working-class whites through affirmative action, and negatively affect the quality of life in their neighborhoods and schools. However, the leading candidates for the Republican nomination are weak on illegal immigration and positively bullish on the legal variety. Another policy which would attract working class whites would be an end, or at least a scaling back, of affirmative action. This is not even under discussion. I’m afraid the only issue on which the Republican Party has drawn a line in the sand is its refusal to raise taxes on the wealthy. That may be sound economics but it has no appeal to the working class.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 01, 2011 10:31 AM | Send

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