What Unites Obama's Coalition — and What Could Divide It
By Ronald Brownstein, National Journal
Updated: February 21, 2013 | 8:44 p.m.
One conclusion that jumps from the Pew Research Center/USA Today national survey released Thursday is that the coalition that reelected President Obama last fall remains in step behind him — and is largely unified behind the key elements of his increasingly aggressive second-term agenda. But the poll also suggests that failure to generate more-rapid economic recovery could nonetheless strain the powerful coalition Obama has assembled.
Obama won reelection last fall behind strong performances among groups in what I’ve called the “coalition of the ascendant”: minorities, young people, and college-educated white women. That allowed him to overcome cavernous deficits among blue-collar, older and rural whites.
At National Journal’s request, Pew analyzed the results among those groups from their new national survey, which explored attitudes on an unusually wide range of issues. The results found that Obama’s core groups express solid support for his central priorities, with very few exceptions.
Overall, the survey put Obama’s approval rating at 51 percent — almost exactly replicating his share of the vote last November. For all of his key groups, his approval ratings today remain close to his vote shares against Republican Mitt Romney. The survey put his approval among African-Americans at 91 percent (compared to his vote of 93 percent in November), among Hispanics at 68 percent (compared to 71 percent in November), college-educated white women at 48 percent (compared to 46 percent), and adults ages 18 to 29 at 57 percent (compared to 60 percent). Considering that several percent of those in each group described themselves as undecided on Obama’s performance, those numbers suggest almost no change from his support in the election.