Ambinder: McCain Has a White Male Problem

Remember how Barack Obama was supposed to have been uniquely weak among White voters -- despite the fact that he runs ahead of both John Kerry and Al Gore among the demographic? Well, it turns out that it isn't Obama who is having the real problem with White voters, it's John McCain. Here's Marc Ambinder:

The Gap -- And There Really Is Only One Gap

It's white males. McCain wins them by double digits, he wins the election (probably). Obama keeps the margin to ten points or less, then he wins the election (probably). Time's latest polling gives McCain a seven point lead in that group with leanrers factored in. Even with a 3% percentage point racial premium fudge factor, it helps explain why Obama still leads. McCain is underperforming right now among white males.

Time magazine might spin a 5-point Obama lead as ominous for the Democrats' chances at the White House, and others might think that his 6-point lead in the latest CBS News also bodes poorly for him. In fact, despite the fact that Obama has led in virtually every national poll in the last two and a half months or so -- you can count on one hand the number of surveys in which McCain has led, and not all of them are particularly reputable -- and that Obama holds a a significant lead in the electoral college count almost regardless of whom you ask, it must be that it's Obama, and not McCain, who has got to figure out how to connect with voters. Unless, of course, it's not the numbers lying but folks in the establishment media misreading them, and it is McCain who is underperforming among key GOP demographics (including White men), who is struggling in the polls, and who is having difficulty cobbling together 270 electoral votes.

Tags: John McCain, White House 2008, white males, white voters (all tags)



Re: Ambinder: McCain Has a White Male Problem

Wow. Let's think about this: 232 years since the Declaration of Independance, 143 years after the Civil War, 80 years after Women's sufferage, and 40 years after the Civil Rights movement, and Ambinder is writing "The Gap -- And There Really Is Only One Gap... It's white males."

Really? Now that's a shocker.

Now sure, white males have so rarely had a voice in Presidential Politics. I mean, it's entirely possible that one of our own may not be president this time next year! I feel so discriminated against. Thank god we'll still have an important say in this upcoming election, regardless of who wins. I just hope I get some ads directed at me, maybe some good old fashioned white male pandering. I hope McCain shows up at a White Male advocacy conference. I hear there is one later this August in Minneapolis.

I'm so glad that in a time of recession that Mark Ambinder continues to draw a salary. Maybe next week he'll write about how the candidate who's supporters are alive will have the best chance of securing their vote.

by Lettuce 2008-08-07 05:46AM | 0 recs
Ambs misread the Time article.

McCain is winning white voters overall by 7 points, not white men.

Presumably, I'm guessing he's up by about 12 amongst white men and 1-3 points amongst white women.

by Geekesque 2008-08-07 05:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Ambinder: McCain Has a White Male Problem

Actually, McCain doesn't have a male problem.  Steve Lombardo writing over at says

Given his struggles to woo older voters away from Hillary Clinton, it is somewhat surprising that Obama is in a statistical dead heat with McCain among voters 65 and older (he actually leads among those ages 55 and older). With Obama continuing to carry all voters under 35 by the wide margin that propelled him to his primary victory, it's natural to wonder where McCain's support comes from.

The answer is middle-aged and older men. The only age/gender categories where McCain leads? Men aged 35-54 (McCain + 10), 55-64 (McCain +7) and 65 and older (McCain +17). Of course in the past these cohorts have been the most likely to make it to the polls on Election Day.

by KimPossible 2008-08-07 05:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Ambinder: McCain Has a White Male Problem

Ah, the Bradley effect. It sure cost Obama the nomination, didn't it. Wait, come to think of it, there wasn't one, not really. After New Hampshire, there was much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments over the supposed Bradley Effect, but overall, the results seemed to show that bad polling is more to fault than hidden racism.

by Lettuce 2008-08-07 06:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Ambinder: McCain Has a White Male Problem

As I recall, it also cost Deval Patrick the Governorship of Massachusetts...

by Jonathan Singer 2008-08-07 06:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Ambinder: McCain Has a White Male Problem

In 2006 Harold Ford and a couple of other blacks running in races where the majority of the voters were white only preformed 1 or 2 point below where the last polls before the election had generally had them. In contrast, Bradley finished close to ten points below where his final polls indicated. The Bradley effect isn't what it used to be for a four point Obama lead in the final polls should now lead to a two or three point win instead of about a five point loss.

by herbal tee 2008-08-07 08:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Ambinder: McCain Has a White Male Problem

Nate over at fivethirtyeight has analyzed this and found that there hasn't been any Bradley effect so far in this election, or if there has, it's been a reverse-Bradley effect (helping Obama, rather than hurting him).

Times have changed since the 80s...

by barath 2008-08-07 11:57AM | 0 recs


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