Stupid white men for the G.O.P.? New York Times White House reporters Jackie Calmes and Mark Landler teamed up for Friday’s front-page campaign preview, “Obama Charts A New Route to Re-election.” In a change from the paper’s standard politically correct approach to race and class, the reporters crudely emphasized that “less-educated, low-income whites” tend to support Republicans. (What happened to "the party of the rich"?)
With his support among blue-collar white voters far weaker than among white-collar independents, President Obama is charting an alternative course to re-election should he be unable to win Ohio and other industrial states traditionally essential to Democratic presidential victories.
With growing cities and suburbs, they are populated by increasing numbers of educated and higher-income independents, young voters, Hispanics and African-Americans, many of them alienated by Republicans’ Tea Party agenda.
Terry Nelson, a campaign adviser to George W. Bush, John McCain and, this year, the former candidate Tim Pawlenty, said he was “pretty optimistic” for 2012, partly because Mr. Obama’s support among lower-income, less-educated white voters, never high, has dropped enough that Republicans see good prospects for winning industrial-belt states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.
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Calmes and Shear contrasted the less-educated Rust Belt to "better-educated" swing states like Colorado and Virginia, which went for Obama in 2008.
Except for Indiana, a long shot, Obama advisers say the president will be favored or competitive everywhere he won before, including Ohio. But polls underscore how tough a task he will have with independents in the industrial belt, where income and education levels are below the national average, compared with states like Colorado and Virginia with higher-income, better-educated independents.
The latest nationwide New York Times/CBS News poll this month showed that 51 percent of independents with household incomes below $50,000 disapproved of Mr. Obama’s performance, as did 57 percent of those with incomes of $50,000 to $100,000. But independents with household incomes above $100,000 approved of his job performance by 50 percent to 43 percent.