Obama Struggles With Working Class Whites, Dems Emotionally Divided
Coming into the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, an emphasis was placed on two questions: Could Barack Obama win over the small town vote and, to a lesser extent, had the Democratic Party fissured irrevocably over the fight between the two candidates?
A set of exit polls (subject to change) obtained by the Huffington Post suggest that the Illinois Democrat is still struggling among the working class constituency and that the Democratic Party is emotionally divided.
In Indiana, Obama scored only 34 percent of the "working class" white vote, compared to Clinton's 65 percent. Overall the New York Democrat bested her Illinois counterpart 61 to 39 percent among all white voters. Those numbers were even further divided in North Carolina, where Obama picked up 24 percent of working class whites and 35 percent of whites in general.
And yet, for those who argue that Obama is out of touch, 65 percent of Indiana voters said he shared their values, compared to Clinton's 62 percent, while in North Carolina 69 percent of voters said he shared their values compared to 61 percent for Clinton.
Again, the numbers were mixed when it came to the economy. Sixty-five percent of the Indiana Democratic primary electorate cited economic concerns as the most important issue. And among that group 54 percent went to Clinton, 45 percent to Obama. However, those numbers were almost reversed in North Carolina, where Obama picked up 52 percent of that group's vote to Clinton's 44.
So where did Obama make up his vote? With the usual coalitions. Eighteen-percent of Indiana primary goers were first time voters. And they supported the Senator by a 60 to 40 margin. In North Carolina, meanwhile, Obama beat Clinton 71 percent to 24 percent among those under 30 years of age.
As for the final of the two questions: the Democratic race does seem to have emotions flaring. Fifteen percent of North Carolina respondents say they would vote for Sen. John McCain should he and Clinton end up the two nominees. That number rose to 19 percent if it were McCain v. Obama. In Indiana, meanwhile, 17 percent of voters said they would support McCain if he were facing Clinton, while 20 percent said they would back the Arizona Republican if he battled Obama.