Democrats are worried about holding onto unmarried women — a key element of the party’s coalition that helped put President Barack Obama in the White House twice.
They also are trying to figure how to regain the support of white blue-collar voters, once the backbone of New Deal Democrats who started to turn staunchly Republican under President Ronald Reagan.
Those are the gloomy results of a voter survey released Friday that also held some good news for the party that has lost control of both houses of Congress during Obama’s presidency, Politico reported.
The poll of 950 Americans, who voted in the 2012 presidential election or have registered to vote since then, found that the national mood has improved since the Democrats took a pounding in the November congressional election. It also showed that Obama is viewed more positively but that Republicans have not increased their popularity.
However, Democrats "need to win over blue-collar voters [and] unmarried women," said pollster Stanley Greenberg, whose firm conducted the survey from Jan. 7 to Jan 11.
Greenberg, co-founder of Democracy Corps with veteran Democratic strategist James Carville, found that Hillary Clinton would carry a significant portion of the Obama coalition if she runs for president in 2016. But she is weak among unmarried women and white men who did not graduate from a four-year college.
"Obama won 67 percent of unmarried women in 2012, however, and Clinton’s margin among white unmarried women [just 1 percent] is unimpressive. The news here is less edifying for Democrats among white working class voters," Greenberg wrote Friday.
"President Obama won 40 percent of these voters in 2008 and 36 percent in 2012, and Democratic congressional candidates won only 34 percent of the white working class vote last year. Clinton fares no better, winning just 35 percent of white non-college voters and 37 percent of non-college white women on the combined measure.
"Critically, the goals of maximizing support among unmarried women and minimizing Republican support among white non-college voters overlap. Nearly a quarter of white non-college voters are unmarried women. The key to both groups is about getting the economy right."
The survey also found that Clinton would beat Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, by 6 points and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the brother and son of two Republican president, by 12 points.
Despite the showing among white male and female working-class voters, the survey presented an "incredibly optimistic" future for the Democratic Party, Greenberg wrote.
"The road back may not be as long as many in the party feared," he added. "But this road requires some improvement among white working-class voters and some consolidation among base voters like white unmarried women."
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