Newsweek poll: Hillary's deficit with white voters
by MBNYC, Sat Apr 26, 2008 at 09:08:41 PM EDT
Oh, look: guess what, Hillary Clinton loses the white vote to John McCain in the latest Newsweek poll. By ten points.
I know, shocking, after all the play-pretend effort with guns, shot glasses, bowling balls and other implements utterly foreign to a Georgetown aristocrat with a nine-figure bank balance.
Well, actually, it's not shocking: Democrats tend not to win a majority of the white vote. Neither Kerry, Gore, Clinton or Dukakis got it.
A little bit more on the subject below the fold, before we proceed to fruitful demagoguery in the comments section. >>>
The Newsweek poll has a margin of error, just to get that out of the way as well, of 3.5%, 5% for the Democratic sub-sample; N is 1,203 registered voters, N for the Democratic and Democratic-leaning subsample is 592 registered voters.
So let's look at the numbers. Newsweek finds that McCain performs exactly the same against both Democrats, gaining 52% of the white vote overall.
(As an aside, both Democrats beat him, Barack 47% to 44%, Hillary 48% to 45%. Yay Democrats!)
Obama wins 38% of the white vote, Clinton 42%; he has 10% undecideds, she has 6%. Statistically, and remarkably enough after weeks of racial commentary, that's roughly the same result within the margin of error. What we can detect between Barack Obama and white voters is some apprehension on the part of the latter largely determined by class; noticeably, though, that does not benefit McCain, nor does Clinton benefit from her marginally better performance overall. That's because Obama carries 75% of non-white* voters against McCain, and Clinton only 69%; which is notably outside the margin of error.
These results for both are also in line with expectations. In 2004, Kerry carried 37% of white men, and 44% of white women.
Further into the bowels is a striking set of numbers; when voters are asked if they are likely to vote for a given candidate - "If ... is on the ballot as the Democratic Party's candidate for president in November, is there a good chance, some chance, or no chance you would vote for (her/him)?" - Hillary faces a set of ceilings that Obama does not.
Overall, 40% of voters say there is a "good chance" they'd vote for him, and "some chance" at 17%; 40% say they won't vote for him. Her corresponding numbers are 38%, 18% and 43%, showing marginally softer support coupled with slightly higher opposition. Crucially, and happily for us Democrats, both have an available and persuadable voter pool in excess of fifty percent of registered voters.
Among white voters, Barack attracts a total of 52% of possible voters, with a good/some chance split of 35/17, and
40% 45% [Update: oops, it's 45%, not 40%, which is a less dramatic difference than originally noted. My apologies for the error] refusing to vote for him; Hillary attracts only 51%, a good/some split of 35/16, with a refusal rate of 47%.
Yes, you know what that means. 47%.
By that measure, Barack Obama performs better among white voters than Hillary Clinton.
So, how do Obama or Clinton make up the gap against McCain? Remember, he still carries 52% of the white vote. The answer is simple: our margin of victory comes from the non-white vote, and here, it's a blowout - for Obama.
(Another aside: Clinton backers like to claim that blacks are voting for Obama only because of ethnic affinity; the Newsweek poll shows that, while 16% of non-white respondents are indeed more likely to vote for him because of his race, 18% of female respondents are more likely to vote for Hillary because of her gender. Overall, 88% of respondents do not take race into account, with 81% taking the same position on gender, giving her a slight but distinct advantage. On the other hand, by 74 to 19, respondents think the country is ready for a black President; the corresponding figures for a woman President are only 70 to 25. When Hillaryites mention misogyny, don't kid yourself: it's there, and it's a slightly bigger hurdle than racism. That she can overcome that hurdle, even to a critic is a testament to her abilities.)
Along the good/some/no voting chance continuum among non-white voters, Obama enjoys remarkably stronger support than Clinton, at 60/17/21; her numbers are 47/27/25. Obama carries 75% of non-white voters against McCain; Clinton carries 69%. That's perilous, considering that Kerry's strongest demographic was African-Americans at 88% of vote share for him.
So it's probably a really good thing that Democrats in the poll choose Obama for the nomination at 48% to 41% (non-whites break for him 62% to 30%). He's the stronger candidate, no matter how you slice it. Throw in a 59% to 29% split among young voters (18-39) for Barack, and we really can't afford to nominate anyone else.
*Note: the Newsweek poll tosses around the terms 'white' and 'non-white' with relative abandon. For the purposes of this survey, non-white includes blacks, Hispanics, Asians, mixed race, and other, while white is defined as non-Hispanic whites.