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Working-class whites will decide 2012

Blue-collar whites have been the “bulwark of every GOP victory going back to Richard Nixon in 1968,” and they are in a pessimistic, even angry mood, said Ruy Teixeira in The New Republic.

Ruy TeixeiraThe New Republic

The 2012 election will be decided by a single critical factor, said Ruy Teixeira. Will white working-class voters totally abandon President Obama? Blue-collar whites have been the “bulwark of every GOP victory going back to Richard Nixon in 1968,” and they are in a pessimistic, even angry mood.

A recent poll found that only one third of working-class whites thought that today’s children would have better lives than they do. Not surprising, the Republican battle plan for 2012 is to persuade gloomy Americans that Obama is unable to fix the economy. If that message produces a “white working-class surge toward the GOP,” it could tip the balance in the places “where the election is actually decided”—swing states such as Ohio, Florida, Nevada, and Colorado.

In 2008, Obama lost the white working-class vote by 18 points, but won the election because of his huge advantage among non-whites and urban elites. Next year, Obama could conceivably lose the working class by 30 points, and that “might sink him.’’

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