According to Peter Brown, the director of Quinippiac’s polling, history shows that Democrats have long had trouble with white voters. He makes his case in this WSJ op-ed.

For those voters, especially ones without college degrees, the fact that Sen. Obama is black may not be as much a disqualifier as his background as a Democrat from the Frost Belt with no national security or executive experience and a voting record judged by the nonpartisan National Journal as the Senate’s most liberal during 2007.

Yet, the focus on Sen. Obama’s relative weakness among the white working class has become the hot topic among many who say racial bias explains it. Of course it would be naive to believe that race is not a factor in America today. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Mr. Obama’s relative weakness among white voters is solely, or even mainly, due to the fact that he is black and that three quarters of voters this year will be white.

Why would anyone think that policies matter? Obama’s troubles with white working class voters has far more to do with the fact that he’s the most underqualified major party candidate in my voting lifetime. OLet’s not forget that white working class voters haven’t forgotten (or forgiven) Obama for his SF fundraising speech, either.

Setting that speech aside, Obama would still have trouble with white working class voters just based on the history of the Democratic Party. White working class voters, generally speaking, prefer muscular foreign policy based on the cliche that “Might makes fright.” That certainly doesn’t describe Sen. Obama’s foreign policy approach. He’d rather befriend tyrants like Ahmadinejad and Chavez than scare them into major concessions.

Although Mr. Clinton won enough votes to take the presidency, after his reign, Democrats continued to see the formula for victory as before; increasing minority turnout, especially African-Americans, and to a lesser degree Hispanics, while winning those white voters most likely to see things their way, single women, union members and those with low incomes who viewed government as their salvation.

Ignoring Views and Values
Such a focus ignores the views and values of the larger group of white voters.

The truth is that, more than we like to admit, polls consistently show a correlation between race and ideology in American society. White voters, as a group, are more likely to favor a limited role for government here at home and a more aggressive posture overseas. In general, polls show Democrats, and a disproportionate share of black voters, favor a smaller, less adventurous military and a larger role for government on the domestic front.

Alot about this race will come down to the candidate that runs the best campaign. Much of that will have to do with how Sen. Obama perceives his chances of winning white working class voters. If he sees proof that he can’t win enough of those voters, he’ll likely work on increasing voter turnout for Democrat-friendly groups.

Sen. Obama touts his fifty-state plan but I don’t see why he’s wasting money in Montana, North Dakota and Utah. I can’t imagine John McCain worrying even a little bit about those states. Money spent in Georgia isn’t likely to help either, especially after Rasmussen’s latest polling on the state of that race:

McCain 53, Obama 43, Barr 1

BTW, Barr getting 1 percent in his home state says everything you need to know about Barr’s impact on this election. Pundits keep saying that Obama has a shot in states like North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and Arkansas because of their large African-American populations. I won’t buy that because those states are also largely conservative states. It’d take an incredible, possibly unprecedented, increase in black voter turnout to wipe out a 10 point lead.

Bill Clinton had the ability to win over white voters. I’d seriously doubt that Sen. Obama has that ability. That’s why I think this race is McCain’s to win.

It doesn’t hurt that people confer national security credibility to Sen. McCain but not to Sen. Obama. People like Sen. Obama but they’re worried about the people who he’s associated himself with.

That will weigh on him far more than any racial bias ever will.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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