We have said it many times before: the Democrats cannot be both the party of the working man and the party of the nonworking man! From Gallup polls:
Obama Approval Drops Among Working-Class Whites
by Frank Newport
PRINCETON, N.J. — President Barack Obama’s job approval rating among white non-college graduates is at 27% so far in 2014, 14 percentage points lower than among white college graduates. This is the largest yearly gap between these two groups since Obama took office. These data underscore the magnitude of the Democratic Party’s problem with working-class whites, among whom Obama lost in the 2012 presidential election, and among whom Democratic House candidates lost in the 2014 U.S. House voting by 30 points.
Obama’s overall job approval rating has dropped throughout the first six years of his administration, and this downward trajectory is seen both among white Americans who are college graduates and those who are not. But the gap between his approval ratings among college-educated and non-college-educated whites has grown. It was six points in 2009, when Obama had the overall highest ratings of his administration, then expanded to 10 points in 2010 and to 12 points in 2013. The gap between these two groups is at its highest yet, at 14 points so far this year.
Whites in general constitute a political challenge for Democrats and the president given their Republican orientation, as evidenced by Obama’s job approval ratings so far this year of 84% among blacks, 64% among Asians, 53% among Hispanics and 32% among whites. About two-thirds of adult whites have not graduated from college, making working-class whites a particularly important group politically because of its sheer size.
Gender and Age
Democrats and the president do better among white women than among white men, and this gender gap is evident among those who are college graduates and those who are not. Obama’s approval rating ranges from a high of 45% among white female college graduates to a low of 25% among white male non-college graduates. The eight-point gender gap among white college graduates is twice that among white non-college graduates.
There’s more at the linked original, but I want to include this second graphic from Gallup polling, because it demonstrates the falsity of the cries of the left, that white disapproval of President Obama is due to racism. Note that, since the polling began, the President’s job approval ratings have dropped for all groups, in a fairly consistent manner. White female college graduates initially gave the President 59% job approval rating; they were, in effect, giving him a fair chance to see how well he would do the job. Working class white women1 initially gave the President a 51% job approval rating; their approval rates have had the greatest percentage decline of all. “Working class” white men were the least supportive of the President initially, but even they were giving the President an opportunity to win them over; the President’s race didn’t change in that time, but the success of his policies certainly did . . . for the worse.
The problem for the President specifically, and for Democrats in general, is simple: their policies have not helped the working class, and have actually been harmful. Despite the wholly misleading unemployment statistic, there are fewer full-time jobs than before the recession began. The Obama Administration’s and the Democrats’ moves to normalize the status of illegal immigrants, opposition to which the left see as racist, simply increases the supply of non-college educated workers vis a vis the demand for such workers, and working class people — white or not — can see that.
And, of course, there is the very obvious: the number of people on one form of welfare or another has increased dramatically under President Obama. Working class people realize, seemingly better than the more highly educated, that all of those welfare benefits have to be paid for, somehow, and the only way to do that is to tax away the earnings of people who do work, to provide those benefits for those who do not.I’d note here the 2014 Senate race in Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was challenged by Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Other than in 2002, when Mr McConnell faced only token opposition in Lois Combs Weinberg2, the Democratic candidate normally carried a respectable number of counties. Even in the token opposition race, Senator McConnell never carried, not even once, Pike3 or Floyd or Knott or Breathitt counties in the eastern coal regions,4 but against the well-financed Secretary Grimes, he did. It was the white working class regions of the Bluegrass State, always solidly Democratic, that Mrs Grimes failed to carry, because the voters there have realized that the policies of the Democrats are harmful to them.
The Democrats have long counted on the endorsements of labor unions,5 and they will still get the support of the union leadership. But the union leadership are highly-paid, professionally secure men, who claim to represent the working class but are no longer truly part of it,6 and don’t really understand the problems of working class America, and the working class in this country has been slowly but surely deserting a party which no longer helps them.
- The Gallup article itself pushed the idea that not having been graduated from college makes one “working class,” an idea which is fairly common. Investopedia defines “working class” as “A socioeconomic term used to describe persons in a social class marked by jobs that provide low pay, require limited skill and/or physical labor, and have reduced education requirements.” It continues to state that “Unemployed persons or those supported by a social welfare program are often included in this group,” but The First Street Journal holds that there is a difference between working class and non-working class. Otherdefinitions can be found, but they are fairly unified on the concept that the working class are, primarily, those without higher education, who rely on manual labor to provide an income. Your Editor disagrees: he defines working class as those people who have to work for a living, and takes no distinction based upon the kind of work that they do, because he holds that all (legal) work is honorable and praiseworthy. ↩
- Nevertheless, Mrs Weinberg is the daughter of former Governor Bert T Combs. ↩
- Pike county is the larger county, the easternmost one in the state. Here is a county map of Kentucky. ↩
- These counties have a significant number of unionized coal miners. ↩
- In 2012, the United Mine Workers Union decided not to endorse any Presidential candidate. In 2008, the UMW had wholeheartedly endorsed Barack Obama. ↩
- The Editor’s personal definition of working class, from footnote #1, notwithstanding. ↩