Obama Strongest Dem Among White Voters Since Carter

We have known for a long while that Barack Obama is on track to peform more strongly among white voters than either John Kerry or Al Gore. Now a new crunching of numbers indicates that Obama may run the strongest within this demographic of any Democrat since Jimmy Carter.

Barack Obama, the first black major party nominee, is positioned to win the largest share of white voters of any Democrat in more than three decades, according to an exclusive Politico analysis of recent Gallup and Pew Research Center polling.

The most recent two weeks of Gallup polling, which includes roughly 13,000 interviews, show 44 percent of non-Hispanic white voters presently support Obama -- the highest number for a Democrat since 47 percent of whites backed Jimmy Carter in 1976.


No Democrat has won a majority of white voters since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. John McCain has shuffled between 48 percent and 50 percent support in recent weeks -- which would be the lowest share for a Republican candidate in a two-man race since Barry Goldwater's run.


A Politico breakdown of the Pew polling shows dramatic improvement for Obama among whites since early September on the question of who would do a better job "improving the economy." White women, who last month were split, now believe Obama will do a better job "improving the economy" by a 49 to 35 percent margin. White men, who had favored McCain by 10 points, are now split with 41 percent preferring Obama and 43 percent McCain.

The growth in Obama's share of the white vote cannot be divorced from the growth in his share of the vote of the entire electorate, so the fact that, if the polling holds, Obama would be the first Democrat in 32 years to earn a majority of the popular vote makes it unsurprising that Obama would perform the best of any Democrat among white voters in that same time span. Nevertheless, there was an awful lot of squawking about whether or not Obama could earn the support of white voters -- squawking that at the time I argued was without base -- and these numbers ought to help put that to rest.

Tags: Barack Obama, White House 2008, white voters (all tags)



Counting Chickens Before They're Hatched

Someone has to lay out a more pessimistic scenario. What if it turns out that the numbers Obama is getting now represent his ceiling? (and most of the undecideds just can't bring themselves to vote for him).  And suppose youth turnout is on par with what happened in 2004 (because Kerry didn't do badly in this area, it might be the case that many young people just can't drag themselves to the polls).

Obama could still win in this situation but it would be a knuckle biter.  He could lose Virginia, Florida, and Ohio by narrow margins.  Even New Hampshire.  Forget North Carolina.  Georgia would be a pipe dream.  He'd still probably win Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado, though (which would give him a tie).

Just saying we haven't won yet. I'm going to spend the next ten days in Nevada helping to get out the vote.  If the worst happens think this is the state which could push him over (and fortunately I live in So Cal).  Hoping for a blowout, of course, but this worst-case scenario doesn't strike me as beyond the realm of possibility.

by IncognitoErgoSum 2008-10-25 12:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Counting Chickens Before They're Hatched

  What if the old people don't show up?  We win by more?  If you register young voters, there is an 80% chance they will show up to the polls.  Thank you Mike Connery for that statistic.  

by cilerder86 2008-10-25 01:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Counting Chickens Before They're Hatched

I hope you're right, but an Obama victory still depends upon his turning states blue which haven't gone Dem for some time (esp. if one acknowledges the role which Perot played in putting some states into the Clinton column in '92 and '96).

Not being a defeatist.  Think Obama is running an incredible campaign.  But let's not go crazy.  We won't know how this will play out until election day (we might have much less slack than now seems to be the case--or much more--but to play it safe we should assume it's less).

by IncognitoErgoSum 2008-10-25 01:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Counting Chickens Before They're Hatched

Relax. PPP had a very insightful post on the youth turnout and how Kerry didn't do all that well with the group compared to Obama.  

Even if my peers do not turn out in record numbers, those that will can make a significant difference because we are going for Obama by almost 3:1.

by sweet potato pie 2008-10-25 01:12PM | 0 recs

This will not go down well at Alegrescorner.  No, not at all...

by mikeinsf 2008-10-25 01:04PM | 0 recs
re: Obama Strongest Dem Among White Voters

You're right, it can't be divorced from his overall share of the electorate, nor the absence of a major third party candidate like Clinton faced in '92 and '96, nor divorced from the reality that he's running in an incredibly favorable environment with a booster charge of the late cycle economic collapse. In track and field terms, this is wind-aided well beyond the limit.

Great race by Obama, an exceptional candidate, but I'm never going to ignore or downplay situational influence.

by Gary Kilbride 2008-10-25 02:27PM | 0 recs
David Frum says it is over

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con tent/article/2008/10/23/AR2008102302081. html
Interesting article throwing McCain under the bus and demanding that the GOP abandon him to save Senators.

While I think it is true, I am not sure it is going to happen.  It may also be a little too late.  With early voting a lot of those votes are already cast.   Here in Georgia, we are almost 20% of registered voters already having voted (Friday's number will not be available until Monday).  With a 60% turnout, that means 1/3 of votes are already in the bank.

by gavoter 2008-10-25 02:59PM | 0 recs


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