unfortunately now that the media has acknowledged the appalachian voter, the ones who won't vote for a black man, they haven't been able to separate them from the pool of white working class, the majority of whom wouldn't have a problem voting for a black man.
nytimes: Ruy Teixeira, a Democratic analyst of voting trends, wrote the book on the core issue in the endgame of the party’s nomination fight. Its title is “America’s Forgotten Majority: Why the White Working Class Still Matters.”
One might conclude that Mr. Teixeira is troubled by Senator Barack Obama’s performance in recent primaries against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton among the voters known by nicknames like Joe Sixpack or Nascar Dad or Waitress Mom.
Actually, he is not.
Mr. Obama, who leads the delegate count, “is clocking in where he needs to be” with white, working-class voters to win the White House in November, Mr. Teixeira said.
Through most of the primaries, the constituencies supporting either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Obama have remained remarkably stable. While Mr. Obama, of Illinois, has energized young, African-American and affluent voters, his rival from New York has dominated among women, Hispanics, blue-collar whites and older voters.
Among white, working-class voters — most commonly identified as those without a college degree — Mrs. Clinton has won by 2 to 1 or better in states like Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Mr. Obama has fared better among less culturally conservative working-class whites in states like Oregon, where the environment is a central issue for voters. Still, Mrs. Clinton’s claim that she is best positioned to win the “hard-working Americans, white Americans” has become the linchpin of her argument that she is more electable than Mr. Obama.
But Mr. Teixeira, who is not backing either candidate, does not buy that argument. He dismisses intraparty contests as “pretty poor evidence” of whether Mr. Obama, as the Democratic nominee, could attract the blue-collar support he would need against Senator John McCain, the presumed Republican nominee.
No Majority Needed
And how much blue-collar support would Mr. Obama need? Not a majority, said Mr. Teixeira. Though blue-collar Democrats once represented a centerpiece of the New Deal coalition, they have shrunk as a proportion of the information age-economy and as a proportion of the Democratic base.
Al Gore lost working-class white voters by 17 percentage points in 2000, even while winning the national popular vote. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts lost them by 23 points in 2004, while running within three points of President Bush over all. Mr. Teixeira suggests that Mr. Obama can win the presidency if he comes within 10 to 12 percentage points of Mr. McCain with these voters, as Democratic candidates for the House did in the 2006 midterm election.
In recent national polls, that is exactly what Mr. Obama is doing. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll showed Mr. Obama trailing by 12 percentage points with working-class whites; a poll by Quinnipiac University, showed him trailing by seven points. In each survey, Mr. Obama led over all by seven points.
Democrats learned from Mr. Gore’s Electoral College defeat that national polls are not everything. Mrs. Clinton’s advisers point to states like Florida, where Mrs. Clinton leads Mr. McCain while Mr. Obama lags behind, as evidence that Mr. Obama’s working-class weakness could prove decisive.