THE PLANK NOVEMBER 25, 2009
There has been a lot of talk lately about whether Obama is or is not losing support among independents. Charles Franklin, writing at Pollster.Com, insists there is no evidence of defection among independents or Democrats. “There is no evidence that any group of Democrats, especially liberal Democrats, are unhappy with Obama,” Franklin writes. But the most recent Gallup Poll shows significant signs of defection among independents and Democrats. Obama lost 18 percentage points – from 62 to 44 percent approval – among independents.
And what about Democrats? The figures here are disturbing. Obama has increased his approval among non-white Democrats from 90 to 92 percent over the year; but his approval rating among white Democrats has dropped from 87 to 76 percent, and his overall approval among whites by 22 percentage points. If you put these figures together with a 19 percentage point drop in approval among people who have attended college, but don’t have post-graduate degrees, it looks very much like Obama is hemorrhaging support in the middle and upper reaches of the white working class, where he had some trouble in the primaries against Hillary Clinton, and where Democrats have been vulnerable since 1968. It’s the McGovern problem. Obama can, of course, regain enough of these voters by 2012 to win re-election, but it’s still a danger sign for him and the Democrats.