National Journal's Ron Brownstein has a story on a new poll out showing that Obama still has a considerable hold on educated White women. The Pew Poll, surveying 1,500 adults from March 30 to April 3, had Obama losing support among younger White voters. Obama is doing poorly with College educated White men, only 38% of them approved of Obama (down from 42% in 2008). Meanwhile, 56% of College educated White women approved of Obama (as opposed to 52% in 2008), a gender gap of 18%! Obama actually improved among College educated White women, from the 43% who backed Democratic candidates for the House in 2010. [College educated White women, Brownstein reports, provided substantially more support for SENATE races in Colorado, California, and Wisconsin.] Obama still holds some White women. The implications are that he will do everything to hold them.
Among the so-called "Waitress moms," White women without a College education supported Obama by only 34% (down from 41% in 2008). White men without a College education supported Obama by only 35%, down from 39% in 2008. This despite heavy union mobilization. Obama has only 38% approval among White seniors, and 35% from those 50-64 (the most likely voting bloc). Obama is only at 40% among Whites 30-49. Only 41% of Whites under 30 approved of Obama's performance (in 2008 it was 54%).
Obama then, has to either win these groups back (unlikely) or bet it all on educated White women and non-Whites. But the question is, why are White college educated women the only significant White group to not just retain, but slightly increase approval for Obama?
The answer has to do with how educated White women function in America, both economically and culturally.
Economically, educated White women are pressed as much as anyone else with static wages and increasing prices. But they face less wage erosion, being concentrated more in government, education, corporate finance, human resources, advertising, marketing, and the like. These are all areas where H1-B competition, outsourcing, and the like play far more limited roles than in engineering, computer science/programming, and the like. Also, College educated White women are somewhat protected by Affirmative Action. They can always allege discrimination and/or sexual harassment. Therefore when making firing decisions, College educated White women will be kept while College educated White men are fired, to the greatest extent possible. Of course, this protection is limited compared to non-Whites, but College educated White women do enjoy a whole set of advantages that Democrats and Obama are committed to preserving and indeed, expanding.
Obama has increased the size and scope of government, offering many opportunities for College Educated White women to find profitable employment, regulating fast food, Happy Meals, light bulbs, internet content, and the like. Support for him among this group is natural. Increased illegal immigration, is also a plus for College educated White women. Cheaper nannies, housekeepers, and the like are a plus. As is a shift away from "icky" Defense spending (think Michael Douglas in "Falling Down" with the glasses) that favors nerdy engineers, never sexy, to "important" things like saving the Delta Smelt. The National Organization of Women famously got Obama to shift his infrastructure spending away from burly White guys with shovels into social spending on education, welfare, and government, favoring ... College educated White women.
But culturally, College Educated White women are among the most hyper-liberal groups in existence. This is because they function in a fairly closed, feminine-dominated social setting, among elite power centers in DC, New York, and Los Angeles, with a smaller outcropping in satellite cities such as Seattle, Chicago, and the like. This site showing college degrees is illustrative. Women are more concentrated in major metro areas than men. More than men, College educated White women must get social approval, for advancement or even retaining their positions, given the non-performance nature of their jobs. A regulator or position paper writer is judged basically by the strength of their social network, not a direct count of money they brought in (as a salesman might). This makes agreeing with elite opinion the safest and most productive route for career advancement in such professions.
But College educated White women are also in direct competition with College Educated White men, and find few of their competitive peers sexy or attractive. This colors their culture, and thus their political choices. Everything from "the Vampire Diaries" to "Gossip Girl" to "Twilight" to "Sex and the City" screams of competition from seriously unsexy, White men. And the desire to push down these competitors (with no worries, they are not sexy anyway) so that College Educated White women can move up. Women are generally risk averse (there are relatively few female entrepreneurs) and removing the competition is culturally a better fit than taking on a wild risk by growth through any means. Better thus to reduce oil drilling in the Gulf (as Obama has done) while not admitting it directly, and simply improve the lot of College educated White women by firing White male defense workers. Everyone wins!
Delayed marriage, makes this attitude even stronger. A woman married to and depending on a man for significant amounts of family income (to support Junior's piano lessons sure to get him into Harvard for example) will reliably vote her economic interest. Hubby probably is not sexy (and neither is she but female-oriented culture tells her she is) but he assures her kid has a better chance of getting into Harvard. Thus her own reproductive success, long term. Delayed marriage means fewer kids, and more child-less couples. Or even, divorce if the woman simply could not stand the husband's lack of sexiness, before the recession, or if there are no kids. No kids equals no role for a sexless but reliable husband. Re-orienting Western societies to cater to women's demands for sexy men has had serious consequences. Among them, the seemingly innate liberalism of College educated White women.
This cannot be emphasized enough. Non-College educated White women disapprove of Obama relative to their College educated peers, by about 22% points [56% for the College women vs. only 34% for "waitress moms."] College and non-College White women alike crave sexy men. College and non-College White women alike find most of their male contemporaries unsexy. Marriage and divorce rates, and illegitimacy rates, suggest that College educated women live personally more conservative lives (though this may change over time as the current College-attending hookup-culture cohort enters the workforce), with fewer illegitimate children, fewer divorces, and higher rates of marriage, than their non-college educated White female peers. Why then the preference for hyper-liberal Obama? And Dems generally?
Because non-College educated White women cannot afford to play to their desires for sexy men, and find no real competition for jobs among their male peers. Meanwhile, they have groceries to pay. Obama has not made non-College educated White women the object of sustained patronage. They remain on the outside of the government expansion bubble, the stimulus, and so on. These women are not preparing or evaluating lengthy studies of the effects of global warming on the Bay Area salt water pocket mouse. They are hit hard by rising gas, grocery, and electricity prices. They have no payoff for voting Obama, since their peers are not competing with them to fill the same jobs. Rather, the blue collar men inhabit entirely different classes of jobs.
Social welfare would seem to loom large for blue collar, non-College educated White women. But "no Whites need apply" policies that exclude working White women (the vast majority of non-College educated White women) to provide maximum patronage to the Hispanic and Black (and to an extent, Asian) populations works to create no real incentives for this class of women. Generally little aid is provided for them. School lunch programs, for example, benefit illegal aliens who declare no income, but discriminate against White working women with actual, real tax returns.
Let us be clear, the success of Obama and Democrats with White women stems directly from the patronage they offer, in the job sphere, and the social pressures therein to advance. In other words, its all about the money. It usually is.
Obama and his political team likely know quite well they won't be winning back those Whites who have deserted them. White seniors, White men (both College and non-College educated), and non-College educated White women are likely far beyond his grasp. Obama's likely strategy to get re-elected is to keep as much of his coalition of Educated White women, and non-Whites as possible. To do this, he must increase his patronage, considerably, and do it by those who won't be voting for him anyway: White men!
This means cutting Defense spending, to push more social work, make-work government paper pushing and studies, and education. All dominated by the College educated White women bloc. It means more Affirmative Action, and more Big Man posturing. More celebrities, more glamor events, more pushing the Obama's as America's First Rockstar family. To create a social atmosphere where College Educated White women would rather be seen with a Beta Male by their girlfriends than not support Obama. Since support for Obama is tied directly to their prospects. Coupled with of course direct patronage.
This is why Obama spoke at Al Sharpton's National Action Network, and why he rejiggered his stimulus plan to favor College Educated White women. It is why Obama has "hispandered" pushing amnesty and open borders, and more, in front of Latino groups. Obama plans to get close enough, then cheat. It worked for JFK. With Rahm Emmanuel in Chicago, surely a few hundred thousand dead can rise to vote for Obama!
Will this work? Anything is possible. Non-Whites are likely to turn out in the same numbers, and vote for Obama. All he needs is enough Whites to tip the scales to cheat if it is close. The only question is if College Educated White women can be peeled off by direct appeals to their economic interests, i.e. gas prices at the pump every week. They buy gas too. A successful Republican will make the argument that their jobs will be gone, in favor of non-Whites, as the PC/Diversity hierarchy works out in government layoffs, and that the only way to keep their jobs is to vote Republican.
This implies, by the way, that the Paul Ryan/Chris Christie/Paul Walker "shrink government" strategy is a LOSER. A loser because it will simply push College Educated White women (who mostly work in government or know friends who do) to vote for Obama. Rather, the group must be made to fear that Obama will simply result in their being laid off to preserve the jobs of non-Whites (they understand the Diversity hierarchy very well, using it effectively themselves). While a Republican will "save their jobs" by growing the economy by reducing gas prices.
Donald Trump's call to simply take Iraqi oil fields is canny. Most White voters would support it (it could directly lower gas prices) and it could be sold as a government saving job move that Obama could not answer. All those nervous College Educated White women looking at Wisconsin and New Jersey moves could be easily sold on $2 a gallon gas saves their job.