Monday, February 2, 2009

Obama and the white vote

There were nine states, according to the exit polls, where Barack Obama did worse in 2008 among white voters than John Kerry did in 2004.

Some of them were predictably deep south states: the biggest drops were in Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi. You can say that Obama didn't fly in the SEC West. BTW, could that division be any worse in basketball this year? LSU might go dancing by virtue of getting to play so many games against all the other cruddy teams in their division, but they won't go far. But I digress...

A couple more were Arizona and Alaska, not surprising with each having someone from home on the ticket. West Virginia is not a big surprise either.

The other two are surprising on the surface, although I am pretty skeptical about one of them. The exits showed Obama doing worse with whites in New Mexico than Kerry did, even though he won the state by 15 after the Democrats lost it in 2004. It claims that McCain won the white vote in the state 56-42, but we found Obama winning it 53-46. Our final poll there did overestimate Obama's winning margin by two points but it's still hard for me to imagine his standing with whites there having been remotely as poor as the exit poll puts it.

The other one is Massachusetts. That's not necessarily a surprise though, for the opposite reason of Arizona and Alaska. Had a native son on the ticket in 2004, didn't in 2008. Obama actually earned a slightly smaller percentage of the vote in the state than Kerry did.

The five states where white voters had the largest movements in Obama's direction? The deep red to blue states of Indiana and North Carolina, his native state of Hawaii, and Vermont and Oregon.

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