Significant numbers of white working class voters are expected to show up at the polls in 2012, and their level of support for President Obama will very likely determine if he is re-elected.
That’s the view of Ruy Teixeira, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
He points out that Obama lost the white working class vote in 2008 by a margin of 18 percentage points. But in 2010, Congressional Democrats lost by 30 points in this demographic.
“While the first number is a figure Obama could live with repeating, the second could very well prove fatal,” observes Teixeira in an article published by The New Republic.
And that 30-point deficit “seems increasingly possible given the recent bad news about the economy,” he adds.
Looking at individual states, Teixeira notes that in Ohio — a state Republicans need to win to unseat Obama — white working class voters could represent as much as 56 percent of voters in 2012. Anything close to the 30-point deficit will deliver Ohio to the GOP candidate, according to Teixeira, co-author of the book “America's Forgotten Majority: Why the White Working Class Still Matters.”
The 30-point deficit would also sink Obama in Florida, whose 29 electoral votes “would assure Obama’s re-election, assuming he manages to carry the 18 states that Democrats have carried in every presidential election since 1992,” Teixeira says.
States with high percentages of white working class voters that Republicans could strongly contest include Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
As to whether a surge toward the Republican candidate among white working class voters is likely, Teixeira cites the “bleak economic situation confronting most members” of this voting bloc and says: “Scarily so.”