There's been a lot of discussion about whether Barack Obama's key demographics- particularly African Americans and young people- will turn out in Virginia and New Jersey this year. Polls in both states have shown a 2009 electorate that voted for John McCain at a rate higher than the actual percentage of the vote he got last year, reflecting decreased interest from Obama supporters.
The underlying assumption in that discussion is that if those folks do turn out they will definitely vote for Creigh Deeds and Jon Corzine. But is that true? In each state the Democratic nominee is having trouble consolidating support with Obama supporters in one of those groups.
For Creigh Deeds it's African Americans. While Obama's approval rating with them continues to be 88%, Deeds is earning only 75% of their votes. Put another way he is polling at 81% with blacks who approve of Obama. That's pretty good but in a race that he's trailing Deeds really can't afford for that to be much under 95%. We'll see if he's able to close strongly with those voters in the last month. That will be pivotal to his having any chance to pull it out.
For Corzine the issue is voters under 30. Obama's approval rating with them is still a strong 56% but our last poll there found the Democratic nominee at just 22% with them, trailing Chris Christie and Chris Daggett who were each at 33%. A fresher SurveyUSA poll out today finds Corzine continuing to trail with that group, although only 44-40. Obama's appeal to young people doesn't quite seem to be translating into support for Corzine's reelection and improvement there would go a long way toward his winning in November.
We'll certainly be tracking these trends over the final 26 days.