It has become a popular theme in the media lately that the presidency of Barack Obama is doomed because the coalition that supported him in 2008 has shattered under the weight of disappointment and anger, but the facts tell a different tale. Polling tells us that Obama remains wildly popular with African-Americans, Liberals, Democrats, Latinos, Voters 18-29, and women. In short, the Obama coalition is alive and well.
As some prominent progressives have grown enraged over Obama’s tax cut compromise, a rage which actually has more to do with the public option not being included in the healthcare bill than taxes, the media has taken this as a sign that Obama’s support has collapsed with his base. No matter what the source, the common theme that you will notice in all the reports about Obama’s demise is that they never provide any statistical evidence to support their point.
The reason why they don’t provide any evidence is due to the fact that none exists. Over at MSNBC’s First Read, they posted some recent poll numbers that reveal that Obama remains very strong with his the same coalition that carried him to victory in 2008. Obama has a 90% approval rating with African Americans, and an 82% approval rating with Democrats. The President also has a 79% approval rating with liberals, a 56% approval rating with Latinos, a 53% approval rating with voters age 18-29, a 49% approval rating with those ages 18-34, and a 52% approval rating with women.
Contrary to the notion that his coalition has splintered, Obama remains as strong as ever with his base. By looking back at the composition of the 2008 electorate, we can easily see how this will impact the 2012 election. Of the 131 million ballots cast in 2008, 25% of them were cast by a minority. Hispanic voter turnout jumped to 49% in 2008, African American turnout was 65%. Obama got 95% of the African American votes, and 67% of the Hispanic votes cast in 2008. Obama’s approval ratings today are still at the same level as the support that he got in 2008 with these two groups. Fifty six percent of women voted for Obama which is right in line with his approval rating with them today.
If Obama’s coalition has not splintered and abandoned him, then where did this false narrative come from? It is my opinion that the mainstream media picked up the grumblings of some of the high profile blogs and websites out there whom they have anointed as speaking for the entire left. They projected the anger at Obama that they came across as a reflection of the way all of the president’s coalition must feel about him.
The reality is that the angry left, the ones who every time Obama does something they disagree take to the Internet to post or tweet or share the threat that “If Obama does ______, I’m done supporting him,” is a tiny, all be it vocal, piece of the Obama coalition. Think of them as the left’s version of the Tea Party. To them the angrier and more confrontational the Democrat, the more beloved they are. These are the Keith Olbermann progressives, but if one needs to find the political ceiling for the angry progressive folk hero, just ask soon to be former Rep. Alan Grayson.
The anger and disappointment of some on the left is legitimate, but they don’t speak for the vast majority of Democrats and liberals. Just because there is an angry minority of progressives that has deemed Obama a failure because he did not pass their ideological purity test, which involves never compromising with the Republicans; this is not accurate description of how the Obama coalition still feels about the President. Despite reports to the contrary, the Obama coalition is alive and well, which is minor miracle considering everything that this president has had to deal with.
The Obama voters will be back out in force in 2012, and if his supporters need a little nudging Obama will have a billion dollars in his war chest and a top notch get out the vote operation that will be virtually impossible for the Republican nominee to match. The media is going to keep giving attention to the angry progressives because conflict bring readers, ratings, and cash, but I wouldn’t give much thought to the anger because when 2012 rolls around and these same outraged progressives are faced with the prospect of a President Palin, they will once again be in the front row chanting, “Yes, We Can” in 2012.