The Washington Post has a white working class problem. It doesn’t know how to analyze its own poll data about them.
The Washington Post, July 16, 2008:
Among white voters, McCain has an advantage [over Obama] of 50 percent to 42 percent … The candidates are tied among whites who earn less than $50,000 a year, while McCain leads by 10 percentage points among those earning more than that.
The Washington Post, August 4, 2008
Democratic Sen. Barack Obama holds a 2 to 1 edge over Republican Sen. John McCain among the nation’s low-wage workers [defined as "workers 18 to 64 years old who put in at least 30 hours a week but earned $27,000 or less last year"]…
Obama’s advantage is attributable largely to overwhelming support from two traditional Democratic constituencies: African Americans and Hispanics. But even among white workers … Obama leads McCain by 10 percentage points, 47 percent to 37 percent, and has the advantage as the more empathetic candidate.
The Washington Post, August 12, 2008
With polls showing Obama dominating among those under 40 and running even among middle-aged voters, Republican John McCain’s lead among those 65 and older is the main reason he remains close overall. His margin is largest among older white voters without a college education, accounting for much of Obama’s problem with the white working class.
(emphasis added in all the above)
So after running two stories debunking the perception that Obama has a white working class problem, The Washington Post lazily repeats the myth without any basis.
Now, The Post is right in my opinion to observe and explore Obama’s apparent weakness among voters over 65 (though that may turn around if there is a renewed focus on McCain’s Social Security views) because there is actual polling data finding a generation gap.
But I still wait to see similar stories from The Post and other traditional media outlets about McCain’s “problem” with white working-class voters, younger voters, black voters, Latino voters, women voters, and even white male voters.
And when these types of stories get written, maybe, just maybe, a reporter might find these polling differences have less to do with personality traits than with actual policy positions.