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Tags: democrats | whites | voters | working class | 2016

White Working-Class Voters Crucial to Hillary's 2016 Hopes

By    |   Monday, 01 December 2014 08:45 AM EST

While Democrats have been courting the minority vote in recent years, support for the party among white, working-class voters is dwindling, which may cause former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton some problems should she choose to seek the presidential nomination in 2016.

Clinton has voiced her support of President Barack Obama's plan to defer the deportation of undocumented immigrants, but support from white voters for Democrats proved low in November's midterm elections, reports The National Journal.

According to exit polls, just 34 percent of white voters backed Democratic House candidates, and similar numbers voted for Democratic Senate candidates.

Minority voters still supported the Democrats, but that was not enough to bring home the vote, as whites without a college degree make up more than one-third of the voters nationally.

Obama's wins in 2008 and 2012 came from a core of black, young and Latino voters, three constituencies Clinton will have to court to succeed in 2016.

But she may face problems winning back enough white voters in typically working-class states like Iowa, and even face challenges trying to attract voters from both sides.

"Democrats, to win regularly, not just the presidency but other levels of government, they need to do better among ... noncollege whites than they've been doing," demographer Ruy Teixeira told The Journal. "You can't ... just rely on the coalition of the ascendant."

In the past, working-class white voters were the core part of the Democratic Party, but have gradually become more Republican since the 1970s as Democrats shifted more toward the minority vote and that of wealthier white voters.

And even though Obama never won the white vote in either election, this year's midterm revealed that Democrats were no longer carrying working-class whites in places where they have long had that vote.

For example, Iowa Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, in his bid for the Senate, took just 41 percent of the working-class white vote, losing the race to Republican challenger Joni Ernst by nine points.

Blue-collar white voters also stayed away from Democratic contenders in other states, like in Colorado, where Democratic Sen. Mark Udall got 34 percent of that vote, compared to GOP Rep. Cory Gardner, who gathered 61 percent of the noncollege white vote on his way to defeating the incumbent Udall.

However, the number of white, working-class voters is shrinking by an average of around three points every election, as votes from minorities and college-educated white voters grow, adding to the Democrats' core group.

Democrats are also hoping that Clinton will be able to win over the female vote, particularly among working-class white women, more than other candidates might.

"Are they going to convince the majority of these voters that they have a plan and it'll definitely work?" Teixeira asked. "Well, that's probably not going to happen.

"You don't have to convince most of these voters. You just have to convince a persuadable part of them."

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Support for the Democratic Party among white, working-class voters — once its base — is dwindling, a fact that poses problems for Hillary Clinton should she choose to seek the presidential nomination in 2016.
democrats, whites, voters, working class, 2016
Monday, 01 December 2014 08:45 AM
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