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Obama's Poll Numbers

The Los Angeles Times reports on the latest "ominous new Gallup findings": "The good news for President Obama is his popular support among blacks is holding steady at 91%.  The bad news is no other group of potential voters likes him that much.  In fact, 29 days before his first midterm elections, the Democrat's approval ratings remain mired below 50%.  A new Gallup Poll this morning finds his approval rating for September was 45%, almost the same as August's 44%. Obama's not exceeded the crucial 50% level in a single month so far this year."
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Discussions - 9 Comments

Well, there you go, Pete. Racial identity trumps just about anything else for the black population.Anyone with their eyes open, lo these last few decades, could have seen this coming from miles away.

It is an utter waste of time to pursue the black vote. Time to move on to strategies that have some hope of working.

So in the words of Ned Flanders's dad, "We've tried nothing [in the last 18 months], and we're all out of ideas."

In all seriousness, there are complicated historical reasons not to expect Obama's support within the African American community to fall much below the mid-80s that Democrats win in a BAD presidential election year. I never had hopes that Republicans were going to make serious gains among African American voters in the 2012 presidential election. Just like in 2008, history will be in the way. What Republicans can do is lay the groundwork for some small gains in state-level races in 2012 and then in 2014. It would take a well thought out, persistent and (at times) well funded strategy and the time to have started would have been... well last year. But there is no time like the present and there are reasons to think that the present Republican advantage is unsustainable in less favorable circumstances.

Of even more concern are Obama's strength among Latinos (he still polls north of 55% or more favorable) under very, very adverse circumstances.

The only route to polling better with Hispanics is social/cultural wedge issues (e.g., gay marriage, abortion, family, crime and punishment). On economic issues, they are owned by the Democrats (except of course the Cubans and a few other small groups).

Blacks are (and have been) a complete and total write-off. The middle-class they have (which might normally gravitate towards conservativism) is concentrated in government and academic employment.

But you keep tilting at those windmills, Don Quixote! Just remember, if you have to distort the conservative message to gain black votes then you are betraying the cause (and mostly likely for nothing

Redwald, I really doubt that an overwhelming focus on social issues is the key to making larger gains among Latinos. I think that social issues should be part of the mix (for reasons of both electoral advantage and simple justice), but if you can't appeal to large numbers of middle-class and aspiring working-class voters based on your economic message, then you should rethink your policy agenda (assuming you have one that makes sense), your messaging or both.

You are right that African Americans (aside from a few inconsistent attempts to make marginal gains) have been treated by Republicans as a write-off. Thats working out not-so-well for everybody except professional Democrats. It is true that much of the African American middle-class is concentrated in government labor. But not 90 or 80%. In fact, I'm not sure that the Democrats get those kinds of numbers from government employees as a group.

For the life of me, I can't think of one POLICY disagreement we've had that would fall into the category of betraying anything. Unless we are counting some kind of means-testing which would rank Paul Ryan and a boatload of other conservative politicians as traitors.

Well, perhaps you should spell out this great set of economic policies that will bowl over the black voter to the point that he changes his political spots. Remember, it has to be simple AND able to override a century of entitlement-mentality.

What you are asking these people to do is to abandon their racial identity for a social class identity. That's not going to happen with this population any time soon. You have a somewhat better chance with Hispanics, although not much of one so long as they are on the bottom of the economic pyramid. Again, social issues are your best bet.

Redwald, I could hardly have been clearer or more mind-numbingly repetitive about what policies I would like Republicans to focus on. I'm not counting on "bowling over" the black voter (or the white voter, or the Asian American voter or...), but can hope for some gains among African Americans who share certain policy preferences (or don't have clearly formed policy preferences on some issues), have no idea what a relevant Republican agenda might look like and operate primarily from (for those to be targeted) a fairly vague impression of Republican hostility and/or indifference.

"a century of entitlement-mentality" I guess that is why a majority of African Americans voted (those who were not prevented from voting by some state and local governments) for the famous entitlement guru Calvin Coolidge. This of course leaving to the side the 72% of adult African Americans who are employed in this horrible labor market though I guess one could construct some kind of narrative to dismiss them all and assume that no significant number of have an interest in earned upward mobility. Someone could - if they really wanted to.

Of course any appeal to "abandon" their "racial identity" (to the extent that means a shared history and such) would be stupid and no one around here that I know of has suggested it. Though a discussion of how Democrats manipulate racial identity politics to promote policies that hurt African American communities and other communities(if combined with a thoughtful and articulate exposition of alternative policies that offer direct benefits) would have its place.

A reform of Medicaid would benefit the working poor by improving (one hopes) access to doctors and reducing wait times. A tax program like the one outlined by Robert Stein would be a major tax cut for working parents at all but the lowest earning levels (thats some family values too) and a health care reform that increases take home pay AND security of coverage has attractions.

According to Wikipedia, over 76% of Latinos were not in poverty and according to the census bureau there is a vast number of Latino households earning over $30,000 annually. Considering that those with very low earning tend have lower voter participation rates, there would seem to be a large electorate of Latinos who are not "on the bottom of the economic pyramid" and even for those who are, why should not conservatives offer policies that offer greater opportunity and security.

Very nice (and wonky), Pete, but it doesn't really address the difficulty. Racial/ethnic identity is just so much easier to use as a way of mobilizing people. The whole "us vs. them" -- it is the essence of politics.

In all fairness, I think we should try some of these ideas, but on a very limited scale (in State races, perhaps). If they seem to work, fine. If not (and that's what I'm betting on), then we go with Plan B -- write-off the black vote and focus on battles we can win.

Redwald, you are of course right that people are more than collections of policy preferences but it does not follow that one's identification as nonwhite means support of an unlimited license for government-subsidized late-term abortion, reduced access to quality health care, higher taxes, and higher health care premiums.

Alongside issues positions there is also the more subtle challenge of crafting a conservative political identity that, while based in truth, is open to people who self-identify and Latino, African American etc, that respects and seeks to integrate (once again based in truth) the histories and aspirations of those groups with a shared American identity.

You won't win everyone over that way, but I think there is a long-term potential for healthy political gains.

That is perfect that people are able to take the personal loans and this opens completely new chances.

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