A silly — but not entirely worthless — addendum to Ed’s post this morning about the dismal new ABC/WaPo for O. Beyond the dumb topline number showing Romney “winning” 49/45 (331 electoral votes!!!) lies some ominous news for The One: He’s losing his base.
* Obama won women in 2012 by 11 points, according to exit polls; today he leads by one point.
* He has seen his lead among young voters (18-39 years old) drop from 18 percent to 2 percent…
* Among those making less than $50,000, Obama’s 22-point lead is now three points.
* The biggest drop is among those professing to have no religion. While this group backed Obama by 44 points, it now supports him by a 22-point margin.
I included the data point on religious unaffiliateds for fun (can’t go wrong tossing atheism into a blog post) even though it’s almost certainly just a proxy for disaffection among liberals generally. The more significant data is the downturn among young voters and the lower middle class. ABC has a bit more about the former:
At the same time, there’s also one core support group in which Obama is hurting – young adults, a group he won by an historic margin in 2008, and strongly again in 2012. The president’s overall approval rating has lost 23 points among adults age 18 to 29 since January, his steepest loss in any group. Their view that the country’s headed in the wrong direction has gained 20 points since May. And in just the past month, opposition to the health care law has jumped by 16 points among under-30s, with strong opposition up by 21 points.
Hard to say how much of that is a direct result of discontent with ObamaCare and how much of it is discontent over other policies influencing their perceptions of ObamaCare. Every poll I’ve seen since the shutdown shows O, like the GOP, taking a beating on questions about his handling of the economy, which is the last subject on which a president wants to see slippage. Lose people on that metric and you’ll lose them on nearly everything. Could be that’s what we’re seeing here — although it would stand to reason that there’s a backlash brewing among young adults to ObamaCare. I’m skeptical that it’s happening already just because many “young healthies” aren’t paying attention to the mandate yet; come next April, when they’re forced to either paying an insurance company for coverage or pay Uncle Sam a fine, you’ll see it then. But the fact that even a liberal cohort like young adults has soured for the moment on O’s big boondoggle shows how much work he has to do to turn things around. Given the other pitfalls facing Democrats on health care, there’s no reason to think he’ll succeed.
Even more intriguing, though, is watching the lower middle class peel away. It’s easy to see why the young might turn on O-Care: Gradually, they’re waking up to the fact that the new health-care regime is built on their premiums specifically, in the hope/expectation that they’ll rarely use the coverage they’re now paying for. They’re the cash cows of ObamaCare, forced to kick in a chunk of their monthly income when decent-paying jobs are already hard enough to come by for a twentysomething. The lower middle class, however, is in a different position. They’re the “winners” in the new regime theoretically thanks to the federal subsidies they’re now in line for. And yet, as Phil Klein points out on Twitter, support for ObamaCare itself among people who make less than $50,000 a year now stands at … 38/59. Maybe that’s a simple function of the fact that the subsidies haven’t begun to flow yet; once people get signed up and get their money from Uncle Sam, things will turn around. I don’t know, though — the woman from Washington state who’s in the news today was crushed when she found out that she was eligible for a federal subsidy but that it wasn’t enough to make her new premium payment a comfortable monthly expense. That could be a recurring phenomenon among the lower middle class — unhappiness that they’ve gotten a little help from the feds but not enough to keep their knees buckling under the financial weight of their new health-insurance obligations. Bad, bad news for Democrats next year if it holds. Exit question: Romney 2016?