Top of the Ticket
Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm
Obama's support among blacks slips unexpectedly, Hispanics too
Barack Obama rode to a comfortable presidential election win in
2008 on the electoral wings of a coalition based on liberal
whites, independents and blacks, especially blacks.
Obama lost much of his independent support during the endless
debate on his overreaching healthcare plan, when his laser focus
on that legislation attracted blame for the stubbornly high
unemployment numbers and rate.
Some liberals expressed impatience with Obama over his delay in
repealing "don't ask, don't tell," reneging on his Guantanamo
closure promise, doubling down on American military involvement in
Afghanistan and, most recently, getting involved in combat over
Libya. But where else can those liberals look?
However, this morning comes the most troubling political news for
Obama's four-day-old reelection campaign:
His job approval among blacks is sliding.
Once monolithic, blacks' support for the first African American
president is still...
immense. But for unclear reasons it's declined about 7% from
well above 90% to 85% in March. That's a new low since Obama's
inauguration 26 months ago.
Equally ominous for Obama in 2012, his approval among Hispanics,
the nation's fastest-growing demographic, has also fallen to again
tie his term low of 54%. That's a drop of 11 points from its early
high of 65%.
Gallup seems puzzled by the unexpected decline, mentioning March's
major news as possible reasons: the ongoing fight with Congress
over no fiscal 2011 federal budget and Obama leading the country
into a new military combat zone over Libya.Obama in Philadelphia
As we reported here Wednesday, other polls found approval of
Obama's national security performance declined after he explained
his rationale for Libya. While the unemployment rate has slipped
slightly, millions remain out of work. Real estate has not
rebounded. And consumer confidence is weak.
No one expects Obama's overall support among blacks to crater,
though there is concern in his camp about rekindling the
pioneering excitement and turnout of the 2008 election.
His billion-dollar campaign is already recruiting an army of
community organizers for training this summer to carry his
"movement forward for years to come."
But any decline within the Democrat's strongest base group is
ominously important because his overwhelming support in that
sector of voters helps cover his crumbling support in other
groups, such as Hispanics and whites, where he now has only 39%
Predictably, Obama's biggest group of supporters are Democrats
(80%) and liberals (74%) and the least likely are Republicans, an
impressively minute 14%.
Gallup finds Obama least popular among older Americans, married
people, the less educated, the more affluent and the most
religiously conscientious. Women (50%) prefer him slightly more
than men do (44%).
The Midwest and West (both 47%) prefer Obama less than the East
(54%). But Southerners like Obama least (42%).