The Dartmouth Observer

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Reality Check: Obama DOES Has A Problem With White Working Class Voters And It's Not an Appalachia Problem

Sometimes I feel like a one-man army trying to rid people of their illusions about politics.

Today, I want to address this new meme that has developed: Obama's problem with poor (white) working class voters is limited to Appalachia. (That's a very polite way of saying "Those people are racists.")
As Markos notes, Montana is an overwhelmingly White state. Likewise, it's one of the poorer states in the nation. So Obama's 17-point lead in the state seems to undercut the notion that he performs particularly poorly among working class Whites outside of Appalachia (a fact underscored by Obama's similarly large victory in Oregon last week). (emphasis added)
The CNN Exit (Telephone) Poll of Oregon shows something very different. Obama won the state by 18 points, and won all income groups earning over $30,000 a year. However, Clinton won those making between $15,000-$30,000 a year by a 54-45 margin with those making less than $15,000 a year not. Slicing the demographic another way, Clinton won by a 53-46 margin those who had graduated high school but not attended college with hose who didn't graduate high school not polled.

How is this not the white working class of Oregon? In an overwhelmingly white state, lower income voters, and those who have not benefitted from higher education would seem to qualify as the very category we have been talking about. And unless we are going 'Obama geography'--in which Arkansas is closer to Kentucky than Illinois is--then we have to acknowledge that this is him losing the working class vote in a place no where near Appalachia.