Political Animal


April 10, 2012 8:45 AM Back to 2008

By Ed Kilgore

We don’t have decent crosstabs from the new WaPo/ABC poll, but everything we can see or are told in the Balz/Cohen story on the survey shows an electorate that sure looks like it is settling into the patterns set in 2008. Obama’s up by seven points (among RVs), benefitting from a big advantage among women, minorities, and young voters, and a slight advantage among independents. He’s struggling most among non-college educated white men. I’m guessing he’s doing better among young unmarried women and not as well among Hispanics as in 2008. But all in all, considering everything that’s gone down since then—the full financial collapse, the recession, the war over the stimulus package, the Tea Party Movement, health reform, the death of Osama bin Laden, the vicious and right-bent GOP presidential nomination contest—it’s pretty amazing, and a sign of deeply entrenched partisan divisions, that the numbers look so similar.

Or perhaps it’s just an April mirage We’ll see soon enough.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Ron Byers on April 10, 2012 9:19 AM:

    We talk a lot about Obama not attracting non-college educated white men. What we don't want to acknowledge is the sad reality that the Democratic establishment has written off non-college educated white men. Democratic outreach seems to be aimed at all the groups Republicans have written off. If Democrats want to increase their influence, they will focus just a little bit on attracting them. How do you attract them. Well for one thing you look at what they want. Most of them want jobs and an opportunity for the future, just like the women and minorities the Republicans have written off. For another you don't buy into the Republican frame that non-college educated white men are a monolithic group composed of crazy tea partiers. That is giving in to the Republican spin machine. You look at them carefully and figure out how you can address their genuine concerns without damaging your relationship with minorities, women and the rest. That will require something we rarely see in American politics. Thought.

  • PTate in MN on April 10, 2012 9:24 AM:

    ...By Tea Party movement, did you mean the delusional, full-throated and well-funded conservative propaganda machine that keeps insisting the country is going to hell and ruination because of Obama? Or the full scale obstructionist practices by Republicans in Congress that negated majority rule, insisted on policies to damage the economy and blocked appointments.

    Anyone who votes Republican in 2012 is voting for evil.

  • MichMan on April 10, 2012 9:32 AM:

    I'm worried about the combined effect of the upcoming carpet bombing by Rove & Romney and voter disenfranchisment of the groups O-man is doing well in.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on April 10, 2012 9:41 AM:

    Not enough has been done to glue Rmoney to his nomination campaign hard-right positions. Just wait till the press allows him to tack to the center.

  • stormskies on April 10, 2012 9:49 AM:

    Non-college educated white men equal stupid white men. And these stupid white men are more invested in maintaining their delusional 'beliefs' in general, and Obama specifically, than the actual reality in general, and Obama specifically. Their psychological stability is dependent on sustaining their delusional beliefs. When these stupid white men are presented with actual facts that defeat their delusional beliefs they not only double down on those delusional beliefs by denying the actual facts. The typical stupid white man's reaction to actual facts goes something like 'well, I just don't believe it'.

    And there you have it.

  • Hedda Peraz on April 10, 2012 10:00 AM:

    stormskies is exactly right.

    "Real Men" bowl, hunt, drink, and 'tune up' the wife when she steps out of line.
    Obama does none of the above.

    They are like the overwhelming Christian majority who endlessly complain about being persecuted.

    We used to have a sayin' down home: "I ain't much, but at least I ain't black."

  • Ron Byers on April 10, 2012 10:08 AM:

    Stormskys I understand Hedda Peraz because she is performance art. I don't understand you. Apparently you have been appointed the arbiter of who is worthy and who is not and you think in groups like any good bigot. Are you a member of the DNC?

    Americans, even non-college educated white male Americans, are all worthy of our attention.

  • Kathryn on April 10, 2012 10:13 AM:

    The Rove money is quite worrying as mega money and negative ads are responsible for Rommey being on the verge of getting the nomination. There is a real possibility of Pres. Obama being unable to match the GOP or actually their pacs in donations. On the other hand, Rachel Maddow Show last night.pointed out how incompetent and broke many state's Republican parties are, no ground game. The disarray of their primaries was notable. It's too early to count on the present good numbers with so many potential disasters on the horizon.

    Article on Maddow blog today about focus on family carrying out big registration push at evangelical churches in Florida. Does anybody know if OFA is doing same in that state despite new Florida rules making it downright scary to register there? Voter registration very organized and active in Virginia by Organizing for America, for what's it worth.

  • stormskies on April 10, 2012 10:24 AM:

    Ron Byers: your assumptions are just that: assumptions that are not rooted in any reality other than your own assumptions. What I am saying has nothing to do with being appointed to anything. What I am saying are simply the facts as they are. If you don't like those facts so be it.

  • Ron Byers on April 10, 2012 10:29 AM:

    stormskies, if you were citing facts I would consider your facts. Instead you are citing your prejudices and claiming they are facts. There is a difference.

  • stormskies on April 10, 2012 10:40 AM:

    keep making your assumptions Byers. the facts that i am referring to are in fact everywhere. if you don't like those facts, so be it. examples of those facts are, for example, 20 percent of our population 'believing' that the Sun revolves around the Earth. Or that 50 percent of our population 'believes' that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, and that human co-mingled with the Dinosaurs. When these people are presented with the actual facts they do indeed double down on their delusional beliefs. "I just don't believe' it" is the typical response. Such facts as these can be exampled a thousand times and more.

    It is facts like these that in fact explain why so many American vote against their own self interest. Why ? Because of their existing 'beliefs' that they need to sustain for their own psychological stability. If they admitted that those delusional beliefs were in fact wrong then this would have the effect of making how they have understood their lives completely wrong. So then what ? They would have no idea of what to do. So they must sustain their delusional beliefs in order to be psychological stable.

    There are many, many studies to these facts. If you don't like them so be it.

  • Rich on April 10, 2012 10:43 AM:

    Balz is an idiot who treats every new poll de novo and misses the obvious which is that things don't change very much no matter how many polls you do and that small changes often reflect wording or sampling error. No surprises here.

  • Ron Byers on April 10, 2012 11:11 AM:

    To write off an entire group of people because of a few general characteristics is the sign of deep and abiding bigotry.

    Yes, there are stupid people in the world. Many of them are non-college educated white males. But there are also ignorant people in the world. There is a difference between stupid and ignorant. Not everybody who is a non-college white male is stupid. Many of them are simply ignorant. Ignorant can be cured through education. Stupid, like bigotry, not so much.

    What you and your ilk in the DNC have done is allow your own bigotry to get in the way of any effort to educate the ignorant non-college educated white males. You have conceded the entire class to the Republicans. They haven't thrown them under the bus like you. Instead they have filled them with all kinds of propaganda. The bigotry of people like you have enabled the Republicans to pull a large part of the society to the far right. Shame on you and the rest of the Democratic establishment.

  • stormskies on April 10, 2012 11:20 AM:

    your assumptions are as pathetic as your own sense of superiority which is the basis of your assumptions ...

    to you stating facts equals bigotry ... a judgement being made based on your assumptions ......

    facts are what they are as facts ... if you don't like those facts, so be it ........

    in stating the facts that i am stating they have nothing to do, in my actual reality, of writing off anybody .. the bigotry you site is your own that is rooted in your false assumptions .......

    if you don't like the facts as they are, so be it

    i am done playing your stupid game ......

  • low-tech cyclist on April 10, 2012 12:05 PM:

    Given that the recent Gallup swing states poll showed Obama beating Romney soundly among men under 50 (by about 15 points!) as well as women, I'd love to see crosstabs of the WaPo results by sex, age (over/under 50), and white/nonwhite.

  • brewmn on April 10, 2012 12:11 PM:

    Ron Byers, it would be helpful if you could explain exactly how the Democrats have abandoned non-college educated white males. Because this sounds to me like more cultural grievance BS.

    Democratic polices are basically designed to assist all working-class people; the vast majority are not specifically targeted to women and minorities. While I'll agree that the few that do target the most disadvantaged get demagogued to death, I think you're gullibly swallowing rightwing propaganda if you think democrats are promoting policies that either intentionally exclude working class white males or actively work against their interests.

  • Anonymous on April 10, 2012 1:43 PM:

    stormskies on April 10, 2012 9:49 AM:

    Non-college educated white men equal stupid white men.

    you don't get out much, do you stormskies?

  • Ron Byers on April 10, 2012 2:25 PM:


    I agree with you that Democratic policies actually help the working class in general regardless of sex, race, or any other factor. Where I stand those policies are the bedrock of the Democratic program, but you rarely hear of the Democratic party loudly jumping to the defense of non-college educated white men who are suffering just as much in our crappy economy as others similarly situated.

    As much as we honor the role of women in our society, we seem to forget about the foundational role of men. Of course, the counter argument is white men are still the dominant players in our culture so they don't need any help, which is probably true, but those dominant males are almost always college educated with all kinds of advantages. To those alpha males the non-college educated white male is little different than the non-college educated black or Hispanic male or women in general.

    Instead of helping them fit into an increasingly difficult society for the less educated we lump them in with the stupid men ala stormskies and kick them to the curb.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't want to diminish any thing we do for the better known minorities. I want us to develop policies that empower those who couldn't afford a college education and are having an increasingly difficult time supporting themselves and their families, both women and men, black, Hispanic, native american and white.

  • PTate in MN on April 10, 2012 3:14 PM:

    Ron Byers--I agree with you, and personally, I wouldn't waste my time on stormskies--who reads to me like a conservative's imitation of a femmebot liberal.

    brewmn--you ask how Democrats have abandoned non-college educated white males. Could it be because Democrats won't budge on affirmative action policies--so Obama's daughters have a better chance at a college scholarship than, say, the child of a white, non-college educated man? Or that the liberal standard of a successful, worthwhile education is a child bound for college? How is that supposed to make a non-college guy feel?

    You say that the Democrats support job creation...yet Obama's economic policies for his first three years in the WH emphasized deficit reduction, not jobs creation. Consider how many college-educated liberals stood by while private unions were decimated by Republican policies. And wasn't it Bill Clinton and the Neo-liberals who thought NAFTA was a great idea? That started the flood of manufacturing jobs out of the USA.

    I don't think that Democrats deliberately meant to alienate white men, but I think our focus on social justice/diversity/choice, our willingness to stereotype all working class white men as ignorant, racist, sexist rednecks, our support for sustained high levels of immigration and the lack of concern for the issues of the white working class (jobs, affordable housing & education, a 40-hour week, income growth) have had unintended consequences.

    So when the conservative propaganda machine wants to rewrite reality and make up crap, they have plenty of material with which to work. It's fairly easy to make white men fear that in a zero-sum game, Democrats want them to be the losers.

  • Doug on April 10, 2012 8:37 PM:

    As a "non-college educated white male" I can safely say Stormskies is full of froth and bile and, while occasionally entertaining, does nothing to promote any helpful actions OR thoughts. (brushes dust of my lapel)

    Ron Buyers, it's not that Democrats have "forgotten" about this group of voters. I know several other "n-cewm"s that can say nothing good about ANY Republicans. Unfortunately, I know many more who are exactly the opposite and, best as I can figure out, they resent the Democrats precisely because of Democratic support of equal rights for everyone.
    Previously, no matter how bad things were, there was somepne they were better than and someone they could look down on. They were't female. Or black. Or gay (at least, admittedly). We Democrats have taken that away from them and now, when they look for someone to blame, guess what? It's the Dems' fault!
    These are the famous "Blue Dog" Democrats, Republicans in all but name and, frankly, the Democrats' loss will NOT turn out to be the Republicans' gain...