Skip to comments.Michael Barone: Romney and the White Working-Class (Demographics can work both ways.)
Posted on 06/21/2012 4:49:00 PM PDT by neverdem
What’s up with the white-working-class vote? For years, the horny-handed blue-collar worker was the star of the New Deal Democratic coalition. It was for him, and his wife and family, that Democrats taxed the rich, invented Social Security, and supported militant labor unions.
Well, that was then, and this is now. White working-class voters — or white voters without college degrees, the exit-poll group most closely approximating them — are now a mainstay of the Republican coalition.
Ronald Brownstein, a clear-sighted and diligent analyst of demographic voting data, provided some useful perspective in his most recent National Journal column. His bottom line is that in order to win this year, Mitt Romney must capture two-thirds of white non-college voters — about the same percentage that voted for Ronald Reagan in his 1984 landslide reelection.
The reason Romney must do so well is that white non-college voters are a smaller part of the electorate now than they were then. In 1984, they constituted 61 percent of all voters. In 2008, they constituted 39 percent.
The good news for Romney is that Republicans have been running near these levels for some time. In 2008, the white non-college vote went 58 to 40 percent for John McCain. In 2010, the white non-college vote for the House of Representatives was 63 to 33 percent Republican. Current polling shows Obama at about 33 percent among this group.
Another way to look at it is that, in 1984, white non-college voters came in 7 percentage points more Republican than the national average. In 2008 and 2010, they came in 11 to 12 percentage points more Republican than average.
Such data tends to undercut the theory, first advanced by Ruy Teixeira and John Judis in their 2002 book The Emerging Democratic Majority, that as minorities and working women became a larger share of the electorate, Democrats could command majorities for years to come.
That was true in some years, such as 2006 and 2008, but not in others, such as 2009 and 2010. Then it was counterbalanced by heavy Republican margins among white non-college voters.
As a majority group — 86 percent of voters in 1940 and 61 percent in 1984 — white non-college voters could not be ignored by either party. Party platforms and candidate rhetoric were aimed at them. A party that failed to win over this group, such as the Democratic party in 1984, would suffer landslide defeat.
Also, voters who are conscious that they are part of a group that accounts for a large majority of the electorate will be open to appeals from both parties. They can be confident that both parties, over time, will be looking for their votes.
Things operate differently with groups that are self-conscious minorities. One party may antagonize them in search of votes from other groups. Democrats’ efforts to woo blacks and liberal, college-educated whites turned off the white working class in the 1980s.
Barack Obama seems to be doing the same thing this year. His support of same-sex marriage won’t help with non-college whites. Nor will his blocking the Keystone pipeline, with all its blue-collar jobs.
Add to the list the contraception mandate, which is being denounced in Catholic churches, and the move to give work permits to something like 1 million illegal immigrants.
In each case, Obama is trying to instill enthusiasm in a core Democratic constituency — and poking a finger in the eye of the white working class.
Meanwhile, there is evidence that demographics may not work as strongly for Democrats as many predicted.
The Pew Hispanic Center reported in April that there has been more reverse migration to Mexico than Mexican migration to the U.S. since 2007, and the Pew Research Center reported Monday that in 2010 there were more (mostly high-skill) immigrants from Asia than (mostly low-skill) immigrants from Latin America.
According to exit polls, Latinos made up 9 percent of the electorate in 2008 and 8 percent in 2010. They voted 67 to 31 percent for Obama in 2008 and 60 to 38 percent Democratic for House candidates in 2010.
Obama’s support among them seems to be holding up well, but Latino turnout may be low, as it was in California’s primary. The virtual halt in Latin immigration makes it unlikely Latinos will double their share of the electorate soon, if ever.
In the meantime, there are four times as many white non-college voters leaning Republican by a similar margin. Demographics can work both ways.
— Michael Barone is senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner. © 2012 The Washington Examiner. Distributed by Creators.com
” Well,that was then,and this is now. White working-class voters or white voters without college degrees,the exit-poll group most closely approximating them are now a mainstay of the Republican coalition.”
Because the Dimwits blew it...in more ways than one ;-o
The actual title does not have the author arrogantly adding his own name to the title.
O.K., this is a point that always annoys the crap out of me in these kinds of analysis. How long does it take to become a citizen if you come here legally?
Doesn't discussing the matter in this fashion simply concede that non-citizens are illegally voting? I am outraged.
The media will focus on the “white” because all republicans are racist. That is their standard line against anyone opposed to Obama. The truth is that it is the “working” part that makes the difference.
You don’t need a college education to realize that it isn’t fair that you work your butt off to support your family while more and more people leach off the hard work of the “working class”.
This country would improve and have a chance at survival if we eliminated welfare and food stamps, medicaid and every other freebie. If someone can’t eat, let them go to a food kitchen once a day. At least they won’t be selling their cards for 50% of their worth to buy drug money.
I always enjoy reading Narone. The Dems try to appeal to minorities, homosexuals, unions and liberal whites. The problem for them is that many union members and Latinos are Catholics and this administration has declared war on Catholics.
Funny, no mention of white college grads, black professionals, Asians or Indians.
You are right about food stamps but you must remember they are a form of corporate welfare too, the Ag businesses, supermarkets, and even the tiny neighborhood markets have come to depend on them for a large part of their business.
The admin mods can remove it. It helps finding their essays especially if they have the title changed from another source. Some people like reading one of the best, if not the best, political analysts in the country, even if I don't like some of his opinions, IMHO.
” The truth is that it is the working part that makes the difference.”
While a lot of the “worthless” in the USA get the most headlines, there’s still a great appreciation (that cuts across party lines) for hardworking, honest, fair people. A lot of Democrats are seeing a lack of that on their side off the aisle.
I’m not sure if I believe net Hispanic immigration has been negative over the last 5 years. But even if it’s true, then what happens when the economy truly recovers? Does Barone think that alleged trend will continue then?
But it is nice to see that Barone isn’t pushing the nonsense about Hispanics being natural Republicans, just like the (insert early 20th century European immigrant group here) of yesteryear. I wonder if he’s come to realize how much of a pipe dream that is.
I don't know, but when will the Great Recession be over? After the nextWorld War like the Great Depression? There was a mountain of bad debt behind the Great Depression too.
But it is nice to see that Barone isnt pushing the nonsense about Hispanics being natural Republicans, just like the (insert early 20th century European immigrant group here) of yesteryear. I wonder if hes come to realize how much of a pipe dream that is.
I read Barone almost all the time. He's amenable with repealing current antiwhite, pro third world preferences law and allowing needed immigrants with just talent, money, genuine refugees, etc. and dropping family unification as a priority.
As someone who lives in NJ, I can assure you that the Mexicans haven’t left; they are still here, and the only difference between now and 10 years ago is that they now have children here.
They will live better here as part of our underclass than they would live as the middle class in Mexico.
“The media will focus on the white because all republicans are racist. That is their standard line against anyone opposed to Obama. The truth is that it is the working part that makes the difference.”
You are right about the “working” part, but the fact is that as long as affirmative action permits legalized discrimination, any white male voting for the Dems is akin to Jews voting for Nazis. We are approaching a point where any hiring or promotion of a white man must be supported by evidence that no woman or preferred ethnic minority was available; why anyone would vote for that system is beyond me.
All the minority percentages seem to ignore the fact that TURNOUT may not be what it was in 2008 for Zero. Quite the contrary, with age 18-25 (who are trending VASTLY more toward Romney than in 2008, although slightly behind Zero), and with Hispanics and even blacks, there is NO evidence that ANY of these groups will turn out in the sheer numbers they did four years ago. On the other hand, Im quite confident that whites, working-class, Republicans, and religious people, will turn out in record numbers to vote against Zero.
I’ve read a lot of Barone too, though not consistently. I do know that he used to try and sell conservatives/Republicans on the idea that Hispanics are natural Republicans, and therefore they shouldn’t worry about unending mass immigration from south of the border.
It sounds like he now knows that was a load, and I commend him for that.