Clinton's Blue Collar Boost
by alexmhogan, Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 08:16:23 AM EST
Super Tuesday's results were largely inconclusive on the Democratic side, but when the results are broken down, they reveal a hidden strength for Clinton and a potential weakness for Obama in the coming months.
In a majority of Tuesday's primaries, Clinton beat Obama decisively among working class voters...
Set aside the candidates' home states and the six caucuses, where Obama ran up huge margins, and Clinton drew more lower and middle class voters in eight of fourteen primaries. That even includes three states that Obama won.
New Mexico was settled by less than a point, for example, but voters diverged sharply by income. Those making under $50,000 went for Clinton, while Obama did better among higher income voters. He won Connecticut by four points, again buoyed by voters making over $50,000, while Clinton bested him among less affluent voters by nearly ten points. Obama won Delaware by a decisive 11 points, but Clinton still drew more voters there earning between $15,000 and $30,000.
Melber points out that Obama still shows some potential to reach out to working-class voters:
These gaps were not uniform, of course. Obama posted solid numbers across income groups in many states, even when trailing Clinton. They largely split the working class vote in Arizona and Missouri, a pivotal bellwether for the general election. He won all income groups in Georgia, Utah and Alabama. And while caucus states are hard to compare, given very different turnout dynamics, Obama's organization mobilized and won across income levels in several of the six caucus states as well.
But the results do show a weakness that Obama needs to pay attention to, not only in the up-coming contests - Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin in particular - but in the general election. White working class voters are still the ultimate swing group; no President has been elected in the last thirty-years without winning a majority of them, and Super Tuesday showed that Clinton has so far found a better way to reach them than Obama.