Ron Brownstein on Obama and blue-collar voters
Highlighting the problem with drive-by conversations, Ron Brownstein has alerted me to a key fact in my last post about the importance of the blue-collar vote for President Obama: I misheard him. So that nothing gets lost in translation, here is what Brownstein explains that he said to me as I was leaving "Morning Joe."
I did not say to you this morning and have never said that blue-collar voters will warm to Obama by 2012… what I said was they wouldn’t be as important to the outcome in 2012 as in 2010 because non-white and younger voters will be a larger share of the electorate than they will be this November. All signs are that Obama will struggle to match even the meager 40 percent of non-college whites that he attracted in 2008, but he can survive that if he does well among the other groups in what I’ve called his “coalition of the ascendant”: young people, non-whites and college-educated whites. After all, he has already won the most decisive Democratic victory since LBJ while winning only 40 percent of blue-collar whites in the first place. The reason: they are now just two-in-five of all voters in a presidential year, down from an absolute majority as recently as Clinton’s first election in 1992. They are a greater threat for Dems in 2010 because so much of the House caucus still represents districts dominated by them (see my “A House Divided")
As Brownstein acknowledges, Obama can survive a repeat of his meager showing among non-college whites in 2008 "if he does well" in 2012 among the groups in that "coalition of the ascendant." A lot of those voters in that coalition went to the polls for the first time in 2008. Will they show up with the same enthusiasm and in the same numbers to reelect Obama? Luckily for the president, he's got two years to work on that.
| May 19, 2010; 12:31 PM ET
Categories: Capehart | Tags: Jonathan Capehart
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