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How Obama Can Fire Up His Base: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

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Barack Obama’s reelection chances hinge on the level of support he gets from his base, writes Ruy Teixeira at TNR, and especially from two key demographics: minorities and young people. A year out from the election, the signs aren’t encouraging. In 2008, Obama pulled in 80 percent support from minorities, who were 26 percent of all voters. Whether he can he pull off a repeat depends on voter enthusiasm. If that sounds a bit fuzzy, consider that in the 2010 election, when enthusiasm was low, the minority share of the vote slipped to 23 percent, a low number even for an off-year election. The likeliest cause: economic pessimism, which Teixeira asserts “has definitely affected minority enthusiasm for Obama.” Of the minority voters who do show up at the polls next year, Teixeira reckons Obama could live  with 75 percent of their vote. “But lower than that and I believe his candidacy is seriously weakened.” As for youngsters – those much-surveyed Millennials – they comprised about 20 percent of the vote in 2008 and will be an even larger factor in 2012. Obama netted 66 percent support level in 2008, a level that will be hard to retain, because while “young voters still like Obama”  they “clearly don’t like him the way they once did.” So, what can Obama do to amp up the base? “It’s pretty simple if hard to do,” Teixeira suggests: “replace economic pessimism with economic optimism” – meaning “it’s time to get back to job #1: jobs.”

‘Does Obama Have a Problem With His Base?’ [Ruy Teixeira, TNR]

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