For all the demographic changes shaking up America, there are still plenty of white working class voters out there, notes Ruy Teixeira in The New Republic. In fact, they, more than any other group, will likely decide Barack Obama's fate in 2012. The president has his work cut out for him. Working-class whites are in bad shape economically and gloomy about the future – and it's not as if Obama (or Democrats generally) did all that well with them before. In 2008, he lost the demographic by 18 points; two years later, Congressional Democrats lost them by a 30-point margin. Obama could live with repeating the first number, Teixeira thinks, but not the second. Even more challenging, working-class whites are especially numerous in battleground states that will decide the election, like Ohio, Florida, Nevada, and Colorado. None of this is lost on his Republican challengers; get ready for them to hammer Obama (probably quite effectively) as an out-of-touch elitist with no feel for the real concerns of ordinary Americans. Obama's best bet is to make the long-rumored "pivot" to jobs," writes Teixeira. "A deal on debt reduction, however desirable for other reasons, will be no substitute for better economic conditions, especially among this difficult demographic." It's true that Obama can lose the white working class by 20 some points and still win the election, Teixeira concedes. Problem is, even that's "looking like a real challenge."
• 'The White Working Class: The Group That Will Likely Decide Obama’s Fate' [The New Republic]