Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Obama's Problem with Older, White Voters

The Washington Post has a good article up about Obama's problems with white voters over 65. The article points out that while he is doing better with white younger voters than either Kerry or Gore, he trails both of them among white voters over 65. The graphic that accompanies this entry is from that article.

The Post article points out that if McCain was not doing so well among white voters over 65, this race would be polling as a blow-out. This is a quote from the article:

With polls showing Obama dominating among those under 40 and running even among middle-aged voters, Republican John McCain's lead among those 65 and older is the main reason he remains close overall. His margin is largest among older white voters without a college education, accounting for much of Obama's problem with the white working class.

These were the same voters that gave Hillary Clinton much of her support in the last 13 primaries when she won eight of them. In Ohio, for example, Clinton took white voers over 65 by a margin of 72% to 24%, while she ran 64% to 34% among whites in general. Among those without a college education, she won by a margin of 58% to 48%.

While much of Obama's problem with this group could be race-related, it's not all about race. As the Post article points out, voters over 65, especially those born between 1930 and 1944, have been more conservative than other Americans. The natural inclination towards conservatism of this group, combined with the fact that Barack Obama is one-half white and one-half black, and some 17 years younger than them, means that they are identifying more with McCain than Obama.

If Obama can cut into McCain's lead among this group, he will win going away. If he can't, then this election will be close right up until November 4th.

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