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Blue collar Democrats resent Obama vacations

Call it anecdotal evidence of the survey below and the point made about eroding Democratic support.  There are obviously many reasons for that, but let’s look at one of them.

Recently some Republican pollsters hit 11 swing states and organized focus groups composed mostly of Democrats and Independents.  What they found support the results of the Pew survey below.  The reasons are fairly interesting:

McLaughlin handled blue collar and Catholic voters in Pittsburgh on April 3 and Cleveland on March 20. He found that they are very depressed about the economy and feel that their tax dollars are being sucked up by both the rich and those living on government assistance.

During the focus group discussions about debt and spending cuts, many in his group volunteered criticism of the presidential vacations as something that should be cut. Among the lines McLaughlin wrote down was one from a Democratic woman who said, “Michelle Obama spends $1 million to take the kids to Hawaii,” and another who said, “President Obama was the only president to take so many trips.”

The theme, said McLaughlin, is that the first family “is out of touch” with working class voters.

As has been said, in politics, “perception is reality” and the perception being reported by these focus groups is not one a president who is going to have to rely on populist arguments to hang on to power wants out there.

Now will that be enough to have them drop support for Obama or not turn out to vote?  Obviously, we don’t have enough data to determine that.  But, what you don’t see here is blind support for him either.  The criticism, in this case, works against his populist posturing, however, and that’s not a good thing.

You may be questioning my assertion that Obama is trying build a populist campaign to help him retain power.  However, his only other option is to run on and tout his record.  And any sane political consultant would likely say, “are you kidding”?

So instead he’s engaged in a populist campaign.  Demonizing the rich, Big Oil, student loans, etc.  And his demonization of the rich is working, at least in Democratic circles.  However, that success is being negated by the perception voiced above:

He added that the president’s attack on the rich and GOP presidential challenger Mitt Romney’s wealth is working, but the voters were also lumping in the president’s vacation spending in with the General Services Administration’s Las Vegas scandal and federal spending for those who aren’t looking for work.

Again, the populist campaign is being blunted by the president’s behavior and the spending scandal(s) surrounding his administration.

Oh, and another indicator to tuck away:

“There really wasn’t a real dislike for Romney. It was just that he is too rich. But on the other hand there is a start of resentment of the government,” he said. “What surprised me is that these were Democrats back biting on their own president,” added McLaughlin.

It doesn’t surprise me.  There’s a sense of entitlement with this president and his family that is off-putting.  And that is being picked up by potential voters and they don’t like it.  They most likely wouldn’t like it in good economic times, but could likely shrug it off.  But in bad economic times when they’re suffering, they deeply resent their president blithely ignoring their plight and essentially using his office (and their tax dollars) to indulge himself with something they can’t do.

Some analysts have a tendency to wave things like this off as nonsense.  But it isn’t.  A vote is made up of a lot of small things driven by their perceptions. When added up, that leads to a decision.  Who knows what other perceptions these Democrats have to add to this obvious resentment they hold? 

The point, of course, is are they enough to erode their support for Obama?  We’ll see.  But note, when Republican pollsters get this sort of reaction from blue collar Democrats in focus groups, it’s probably not a isolated feeling among that group.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


The Ohio Vote

Ohio voters voted not to back the reforms Republican Governor John Kasich wanted to implement to  break the power of public sector unions.  Michael Barone comments:

The biggest result was Ohio Governor John Kasich’s defeat on Issue 2. Voters cast 61% of their votes (as I write) to repeal Kasich’s law, which had been backed by Republican majorities in the legislature (with some defections). Kasich’s effort is part of a struggle to rein in public employee unions, which use taxpayers’ money (in the form of union dues) to elect pliable politicians who then confer benefits on their members —especially generous health care and pensions—which then result in economy-killing tax rates. It’s a kind of economic death spiral for states and localities where public employee unions are a major political force.

He’s right.  Barone lays out the basic problem with public sector unions – the fact that they have become such a force in politics that they hire their own “bosses”.  And those bosses are happy to “negotiate” away tax dollars for continued political support.  Thus the “economic death spiral” Barone talks about.  As long as the taxpayer is paying, two sides of this triangle are quite happy to continue with business as usual.

Democrats are touting this as a huge win.   And it is … for the party.  It’s certainly not a win for the state which will now have to live with this continued lopsided arrangement that will continue to cost taxpayers dearly.

The irony, of course, is that on the same ballot, Ohio voters bought into the Republican idea that the state should refuse to comply with the new National Health Care law (aka ObamaCare).

There is some consolation here. The same Ohio voters—and the turnout seems to have been just about as high as in November 2010—who voted 61% against Kasich’s public employee union restrictions also voted 66% for Issue 3, which purported to shield Ohioans from any mandate to buy health insurance. This was a clear repudiation of Obamacare, and about half the folks that the unions turned out voted against Obamacare.

OK, maybe it really isn’t an irony.  Remember ObamaCare doesn’t like “Cadillac” health care plans and the unions have certainly ensured they have that. 

Instead, what it points to is how powerful unions are in Ohio and how well they can mobilize the vote. Unions spent big and they got results.   In reality, both Issue 2 and Issue 3 represent the union vote.  One went against the Republican governor.  The other, however, went against the Democratic President and his party.

And which one is getting all the press?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Observations: The QandO Podcast for 07 Nov 10

In this podcast, Bruce and Dale discuss Tuesday’s midterm elections, and Friday’s unemployment report.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2009, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.


Observations: The Qando Podcast for 31 Oct 10

In this podcast, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss Tuesday’s midterm elections.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2009, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

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