Obama’s White Base Shows Cracks Compared with 2008

Lydia Saad, Gallup, June 12, 2012

Gallup Daily tracking indicates Barack Obama is receiving less support in the 2012 presidential election from some of the white subgroups that gave him the strongest support in 2008. These include non-Hispanic white registered voters who are 18 to 29 years old, female postgrads, and the nonreligious, among others.

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The 46% of registered voters supporting Obama today is five percentage points below the 51% supporting him in final weeks of the 2008 election campaign. Similarly, whites’ support for Obama is six points lower than it was in October/November 2008 (38% vs. 44%), and blacks’ is down four points (87% vs. 91%). At the same time, Hispanics’ support, at 67%, is essentially unchanged.

Whites make up about three-quarters of all U.S. registered voters, and are therefore the most important racial or ethnic group in any election, at least mathematically. Even if Obama were to regain his 2008 level of support among blacks and improve his support somewhat among Hispanics, he could still lose if his support among whites slips any further. {snip}

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Obama Support Slips Among White Postgrads of Both Genders

Obama still enjoys higher support from white women than white men, as he did in 2008; however, his support from both groups has declined. Now, 34% of white men and 41% of white women support him, while the plurality or majority of both groups support Romney.

Beyond the overall gender breaks, support for Obama was particularly high among white men and women with postgraduate levels of education in 2008, and remains so today. But support for Obama in 2012 is down among all four gender/education groups, and is down the most—by nine points—among postgraduate women, followed by non-postgraduate men (eight points).

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Obama Loses Support Among Low-Income Whites

There was a modest income skew in Obama’s support among whites in 2008, but that has largely disappeared in the recent 2012 data, given the larger-than-average declines in support seen for him among low-income whites.

Obama’s support is down nine points among those earning less than $24,000 as well as among those earning $24,000 to $59,999 per year. At the same time, his support among higher-income Americans is down only three points.

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[Editor’s Note: More subgroups of whites are discussed in the original article below, which includes precise breakdowns of whites’ support of Obama.]

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