Friday, October 10, 2008

White Voters in the South: Conclusion

This is the conclusion of our report on how shifts in the white vote relative to 2004 can explain most of Barack Obama's surprising success this year in the traditionally red southern states of Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. You can read the whole thing here.

We’ve established pretty clearly that much of what is allowing Obama to lead currently in North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida is actually improved standing with white voters relative to 2004 for the Democratic nominee, rather than the conventional wisdom that this is being driven by increased black turnout. That of course brings up another logical question: why is Obama doing better with these folks?

-Economy, Economy, Economy. Among white voters in North Carolina who list it as their top issue Obama is actually up 48-46. In Florida Obama has the same 48-46 lead with whites most concerned about the economy. In Virginia it’s a 49-46 advantage. Even as Obama continues to trail by a good amount with whites overall in these states, he’s winning with them on the issue foremost on voters’ minds this year. There’s not much doubt the economy is the main factor causing whites who voted Republican for President in 2004 to go Democratic this year. That is the single biggest factor driving his lead in the polls across the country right now.

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