Low-Wage Workers, Poll Timeliness
An interesting poll story this morning reports that Sen. Barack Obama holds a 2 to 1 edge over Republican Sen. John McCain among the nation's low-wage workers. Our Readers Who Comment on politics have jumped on this with their usual remarks for or against one of the candidates, but have also asked why the poll results are being reported almost a month after the end of data collection and whether those polled were likely to vote.
The story says that Obama's advantage is attributable to overwhelming support from African Americans and Hispanics, but that even among low-income white workers Obama leads McCain by 10 points. The polling was conducted between June 18 and July 7, a fact that caused reader sudderth to say, "What a bunch of deceptive bologna. This poll was done 4-6 weeks ago."
Jon Cohen, a co-author of the story and the Post's director of polling, said in an interview this morning that this poll was part of an effort to address broader themes than the horse race. It was conducted by the Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University, and the polling was done over a much longer period than a horse-race poll would be. The Post and ABC News regularly poll together on horse race questions and report those results quickly.
"I would only point to the broader themes," Cohen said. "Fundamentally this was about these people more than the candidates. [The low-wage worker] is a unique population. To the extent we focused on the top line is our fault."
Cohen said that "only registered voters" were included in the vote numbers and added that "Those numbers include all respondents who told us they were registered to vote. If we'd emphasized a "likely voter" model we would have excluded those who might not really be qualified; but again the focus was (intended to be) on the people and their underlying preferences."
Cohen and reporter Mike Fletcher and will be online today at 1 p.m. EDT to answer
questions about the poll.
Now to some other comments.
Franc33432 said, "Obama is not leading now. More media bias. As far as African Americans and the working poor - Obama is a terrible choice and McCain is only marginally better..."
richardwhetstone wrote, "If White voters are willing to vote against their interests by supporting McCain then they deserve the continuation of every negative economic effect that such support will bring..."
bdunn1 asked, "...How can any lower income person vote Republican, given that party's long history of keeping wage earners down. Trickle down doesn't work. That should be clear by now. And cutting taxes for the rich doesn't either; otherwise the economy would be booming right now."
profyle424 said, "Can pollsters and the media PLEASE stop with this "working whites" and "working blacks" stuff? Nearly EVERYONE works, and everyone has a vote that should be valued. Just because someone is poor doesn't mean their vote means more or less than someone who has a graduate degree..."
cycleguy2004 wrote, "I find it very disturbing the the Post has in essence made its self into a propaganda site for Obama and liberal issues. When was the last time the Post ran a real unbiased political story... Where is the responsible journalism of the Watergate era? Where is the creditability? Thanks for this forum."
To which angriestdogintheworld replied, "I want what ever this moron is smoking... parallel universe good weed."
Ali4 wrote, "...it's mentioned that nearly HALF of the Hispanic workers polled in this survey are "not U.S. citizens" but it doesn't mention if they're even legal permanent residents. In short, the implications in this story on the election are pretty shaky, given that half of Hispanic workers aren't eligible to vote." [Pollster Cohen said, "Excluding those who said they are not currently U.S. citizens changes the numbers by only a couple of points."]
jrw1 said, "I would have thought that by now Obama would have a solid lead over McCain just about everywhere thanks to Dubya and his moronic policies... Obama is struggling with key constituencies, particularly white moderates... It's time for the Obamaphiles to be worried, very worried."
tryreason wrote, "The reason so many Americans are pessimistic about politics is that they understand washington is a subsidiary of Wall Street and corporate America, the Republican party in particular."
branfo4 said, "...Apparently most voters are not too sure about racist candidate Obama but positively hate The Old Maverick, even though he is a hero & etc..."
We'll close with jmano, who wrote, "I notice that you quote a 64-year-old person saying that she is "scared about the younger generation running the country." After watching the current generation in charge nearly destroy the country, I, at age 66, look forward to a younger generation turning the country around for the better..."
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