Obama, Romney Both Face Blue-Collar Challenge

Thursday, 29 Mar 2012 02:40 PM

By Dan Weil

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President Barack Obama and likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney both have had trouble winning over white working-class voters – a demographic that could be crucial in the general election. In the 2008 contest, whites without a college education accounted for 39 percent of the total votes, The Hill reports

Obama didn’t fare well among these voters in 2008, either in the general election against GOP Sen. John McCain or the Democratic primaries against Hillary Clinton. Romney, meanwhile, has trailed Rick Santorum in that segment during this year’s Republican primaries.

Obama alienated blue-collar workers four years ago when he criticized small-town voters who “cling to guns or religion.” And Romney has turned off the working class with repeated, awkward references to his personal fortune.

So who has the best chance of attracting this hotly-contested demographic in November?

“I don’t know where they’ll go,” Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, told The Hill. “If the election comes down to Obama and Romney, I don’t see them having a real affinity with either candidate. How many are going to say, I don’t like either one; I am going to stay home?”


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