Our political Quote of the Day comes from Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball’s guest columnist Alan I. Abramowitz who notes that Obama is holding onto the base that got him elected:
Despite the grumbling on the left, however, there is little evidence thus far of erosion in support for the president among the groups that comprised his electoral base in the last election.
[Gallup poll] results indicate that the president continues to enjoy strong support among African-Americans, Democrats, liberals, Hispanics, younger Americans, and those who seldom or never attend religious services. All of these groups voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Obama last November. His support is weakest among Republicans, conservatives, older Americans and regular churchgoers. All of these groups voted overwhelmingly for John McCain last November. The correlation between the President’s current approval rating in these 25 groups and his share of the vote last November is a near perfect .99. Ten months after the 2008 presidential election, it appears that we are right back where we were last November when it comes to the political divisions in the country.
However, this should be considered good news for the Democrats or Bararak Obama. To wit:
In August, an average of 45% of Americans identified as Democrats or leaned to the Democratic Party, while 40% identified as Republicans or leaned to the Republican Party. This 5-point advantage represents a decided narrowing of the gap between the parties from the 17-point Democratic advantage in January.
Conservative white Democrats and moderate/liberal white Republicans are relatively rare creatures in the contemporary American political environment; 6% of Americans meet the former definition, and 11% the latter. Almost half of Americans, on the other hand, fit into the more conventional segments of moderate/liberal white Democrats or conservative white Republicans.
Gallup offers some more data and then looks at Obama’s approval ratings among these groups:
Among the population segments that form the basis of this analysis, moderate/liberal white Democrats give President Obama the highest average job approval. Conservative Democrats still strongly approve of Obama, but at a significantly lower average level than do their fellow Democrats who are moderate or liberal.
On the other side of the spectrum, while well less than a majority of all white Republicans approve of Obama, those who are unconventional in the sense of being moderate or liberal are about three times as likely to approve as are those who are more conventionally conservative.
So if Obama wants to be more than a President supported by his base, he’s going to have to appeal to the center. And a recent poll found that Obama is now losing many independent voters.
Will we see a political course correction?
Or are we headed for yet another 4 years with a President whose main support comes from his own party and his base?
(NOTE: Due to a technical error, the headline had typos which were fixed but did not appear in the published version. We have fixed them again.)
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.