White Working Class

Now What Could Explain This Number?

09.24.12 2:51 PM ET

Let us return to the subject of the white working-class vote. In 2008, Obama lost it by 18 points, 58-40.  The idea put forward by Republicans, natch, has been that he is going to do even worse this time, because the actual circumstances of such people has declined in the last four years, which is overall true, and of course because Obama's a socialist and so forth. 

So here comes this survey from the Public Religion Research Institute, which shows Romney leading among the wwc by just 48 to 35 percent. But let's break those numbers down, as PRRI did, by region:

Northeast: Romney 42, Obama 38.

Midwest: Obama 44, Romney 36 (yes, you read that right--and even in 2008, Obama won the wwc vote in a few Great Lakes states)

West: Romney 46, Obama 41.

South: Romney 62, Obama 22.

Huh. I wonder what in the world could account for that last number.

Tom Edsall has (as usual) some interesting thoughts on this at the Times, while political scientist John Sides does as well at the Monkey Cage. The bottom line is that Obama doesn't have a white working class problem. He has a Southern white working class problem.

Related to all this, the esteemed electoral demographer Ruy Teixeira has released an updated version of "The Road to 270," his study of, well, it should be self-evident from the title of what. It's very informative stuff as usual, and you want to be familiar with it. Romney has been saying he needs 61 percent of the white vote, which he reckons will be 74 percent of the total. Teixeira thinks the total white vote will be 72 percent, maybe 73.