2009 Archives

Are white working-class blues bad for Democrats?


The following was reported by Reuters on October 11, 2009. Professor Cal Jillson of SMU's Dedman College provided expertise for this story.

By Ed Stoddard

DALLAS (Reuters) - White working-class males have been among the biggest U.S. losers in this recession. Does that mean that President Barack Obama's Democratic Party will be the big loser in the 2010 congressional elections?

Some analysts say yes, even though blue-collar white males have been leaning Republican for decades and have been a shrinking percentage of the U.S. electorate.

But they still represent as much as 15 percent of the voting age population and in industrial Midwest states their mounting economic woes could prove to be the difference in tight congressional races. Their economic frustration also is seen feeding into conservative opposition to Obama's agenda.

The Democrats control both houses of congress and Obama won the White House race last year largely because of the sour economy and financial crisis. The 2010 elections will be seen as a referendum of Obama's economic policies.

"The Democrats are likely to face a difficult election cycle in 2010 and losing ground with a significant portion of the electorate -- white working-class men -- will make it even more difficult," said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

"I think that in the industrial Midwest there are 10 to 15 new Democratic seats -- in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio -- that a cycle or two ago were Republican that the Democrats will struggle to keep this time round," he said.

Read the full story.

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