Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Barack Obama And George McGovern

Barack Obama is following George McGovern's path to victory. So, how'd that work out?
President Barack Obama is racing down the trail blazed by Sen. George McGovern, who in 1972 was buried by the largest popular vote landslide in American history. (President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 won a slightly higher percentage of the popular vote than Richard Nixon did in 1972, but LBJ's margin over Sen. Barry Goldwater was smaller.) Sen. McGovern was too far to the left, swing voters thought, and not very competent -- an image reinforced by the shambles his supporters made of the Democratic national convention.

Swing voters are forming a similar opinion about President Obama, who sometimes seems as if he's deliberately trying to dismantle the coalition that elected him in 2008.

• Mr. Obama won the Jewish vote by an astounding 52 percentage points. But -- thanks chiefly to his policies toward Israel and Iran -- he's lost more support among Jews (16 percentage points) than among any other ethnic group, according to a Pew survey in February.

• Mr. Obama won the Catholic vote 54 percent to 45 percent. Four years earlier, Sen. John Kerry got only 47 percent of Catholic votes -- and he's Catholic.

The president's share of the Catholic vote is sure to shrink, thanks to the administration's plans to force Catholic institutions to offer birth control and abortion-inducing drugs in their health insurance policies and to Mr. Obama's embrace of gay marriage. Pennsylvania Democratic state committeewoman Jo Ann Nardelli cited her concerns about gay marriage when she announced May 23 that she has turned Republican.

Not just Catholics are upset. In Mississippi last week, seven local elected officials cited the president's gay marriage stance as the reason they are switching from the Democratic Party to the GOP.

• People in upscale suburbs -- which have been trending Democratic since 1992 -- tend to be more liberal on social issues. Mr. Obama won half the votes of voters with household incomes of more than $100,000. But these people haven't liked Mr. Obama's economic policies or his class warfare rhetoric. They voted Republican, 58 percent to 40 percent, in 2010.

Moderate Democrats don't like the class warfare rhetoric either.

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