Poll: Working Class Voters Abandon Obama

Poll: Working Class Voters Abandon Obama

A new CNN poll of Americans finds falling support for President Obama on every policy issue. On no single issue does a majority of Americans approve of Obama’s position. On many important issues, e.g. health care, immigration and foreign policy, his approval ratings have reached new lows. Perhaps surprisingly, however, his approval ratings are worst among America’s working class. Those earning less than $50k and those who haven’t been to college have turned decidedly against Obama.

It should be noted that Obama’s approval ratings have collapsed across the issues, not just with this sub-group. On voters’ top issue, the economy, 61% of voters disapprove of Obama’s performance. Just 38% approve. Obama’s numbers are 7 points worse than they were on the eve of the GOP landslide in 2010. His approval ratings on health care, illegal immigration, gun policy and the federal deficit have all reached new lows, with Obama’s approval mired in the 30s. On the deficit, 67% of voters disapprove of Obama. 

As bad as these numbers are, they are worse among America’s working class voters. On every issue, Obama receives lower marks from those earning less than $50k and those who never attended college than the general population. A staggering 67% of those who didn’t attend college disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy, for example. 69% disapprove of his handling of health care. 

College graduates and those earning more than $50k give Obama a slightly higher grade on performance than the rest of the country. His numbers are still underwater with these voters, but they are a bit more charitable towards Obama than working class voters.   

For almost a year, Obama and the Democrats have tried to stoke resentment over “income inequality.” His party has made raising the minimum wage the central plank of their economic policy, despite the fact that very few people earn the minimum wage. In any event, the minimum wage issue is only an interesting policy debate in very tight labor markets, a luxury most voters don’t currently enjoy. 

The CNN poll suggests an enormous opportunity for the Republican party to again win the votes of the “Reagan Democrats” who propelled the party to years of political ascendancy. Obama seems to have breached a “preference cascade,” with millions of working class voters. They are tuning him out on every issue.

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