National Journal highlights a new Quinnipiac poll that pegs Obama's support among white men without a college education at just 29%, which is the lowest ever recorded for a Democrat.
No one expects Obama to win these blue-collar men, who are now among the most reliably Republican segments of the electorate. But even so, these numbers, if sustained through Election Day, would represent a modern nadir for Democrats. Since 1980, the worst performance for any Democratic nominee among these working-class white men was the 31 percent Walter Mondale managed against Ronald Reagan in 1984; the meager 39 percent Obama drew in 2008 was actually the party's best showing over that period. These new surveys show Obama that these non-college white men represent Obama's largest source of decline in the white electorate since 2008.
Still, Obama is also facing weak numbers among working-class white women. The Quinnipiac Poll shows him drawing just 37 percent of white women without a college education, and the ABC/Post poll puts him at 40 percent with those women. In each poll that's up five percentage points from his showing in the most recent national survey, a change within the margin of error. But even so, Obama's performance in the new polls shows the continued Democratic struggles with those "waitress moms" that Bill Clinton and then Al Gore targeted successfully (Clinton won 48 percent of their vote in 1996 and Gore 45 percent in 2000). Obama appears on track to do no better, and possibly slightly worse, than the modest 41 percent he won with those women in 2008, which was itself essentially unchanged from John Kerry's weak 40 percent showing in 2004.