The Dems’ new old problem: Losing the white vote

Republicans won whites in Tuesday’s national House vote by a 22-percentage point margin (60 to 38 percent) according to exit polls. In 2006, Republicans won whites by a mere 4 points. Whites shifted at three-fold the rate of Hispanics between the two midterms, while the black vote remained steady. Democrats faired even worse than in 1994, when Republicans won whites by 16 points (58 to 42 percent) and with them, a landslide…

We will hear charges racism. But independent whites who voted for Obama, and now disapprove of him, have not suddenly realized Obama is black. Many moderate whites were willing to gamble on Democrats because their support for Republicans was spent. But Democrats misinterpreted the gamble for investment. And the Democratic House broke. This is not the first president struck by a degree of buyer’s remorse…

Obama will not easily win these voters back. Whites constitute a smaller share of the electorate than in decades past. And their influence is greater in midterms than White House contests. Yet Ohio captures the presidential problem. The GOP swept every contest in the mega swing state. Obama cannot win back Ohio without winning back whites.

Midterm landslides do not consistently telegraph presidential outcomes. It did not for Clinton’s Democrats in 1994. It did for Johnson’s Democrats in 1966