In a political climate dominated by shifting loyalties and allegiances, one of the most notable dynamics has been Joe Biden’s dwindling support among non-White, working-class voters. Recent studies and polls reveal a surprising vulnerability for Biden within this demographic, a group that has historically leaned heavily Democratic.
Despite the Biden administration’s attempts to showcase the positive effects of “Bidenomics,” his approval rating seems stagnant, circling the 40% mark. This revelation presents an intriguing question — how could Biden, often portrayed as “blue-collar Joe from Scranton,” lose ground with the demographic he claims to represent best? It’s more than just numbers and percentages; it’s a profound indication of the shifting priorities of the American populace.
Biden loses ground with working-class Black, Latino voters https://t.co/sseSNUW1qB
— M Lynne (@mlysimonsen) August 7, 2023
A recent report by Josh Kraushaar highlighted the core issue, noting, “One of the main reasons President Biden is struggling in polls against former President Trump is his glaring underperformance with a constituency that has long been overwhelmingly Democratic: non-white voters without a college degree.” While Democrats have made strides with suburban and upper-middle-class voters in recent years, they’ve simultaneously been eroding their base with blue-collar voters.
Historically, Democrats had significant backing from this demographic. Former President Obama, for instance, secured non-white working-class votes with a resounding 67-point margin in 2012. Fast forward to a recent New York Times/Siena poll, and the numbers look vastly different. Biden only holds a 16-point lead over Trump within this group, a drastic drop from his 48-point lead in 2020. This shift suggests deeper, more pressing concerns for the Democrats than merely rallying the base.
Interestingly, the primary concerns of non-white working-class voters are not necessarily rooted in economic policies. As per Ruy Teixeira, an elections analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, their concerns stem from a spectrum of issues. These include crime rates in their communities, debates over transgender rights, and opposing views on the pace of transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy. One of Teixeira’s standout observations is that the non-white working class doesn’t align with the progressive narrative that systemic racism is prevalent, leaning more toward the belief that racism emanates from individuals.
Despite these concerns, there were instances in recent times when Democrats overcame these challenges. Heading into the 2022 midterms, concerns arose about slipping Hispanic support. However, Democrats still clinched 62% of the Hispanic vote, consistent with Biden’s 2020 numbers.
The current situation should serve as a wake-up call for the Democratic party. As Russ Greene aptly stated on X, formerly known as Twitter, “Dems remain far out of step with the general electorate on several key issues and cannot moderate much, given donor and activist pressure.”
This underpinning challenge for Biden and his administration reveals the importance of genuine connection and understanding of the concerns of every segment of the population. If the Democrats aim to hold onto their historical base and broaden their appeal, they must adapt, recalibrate, and address these issues head-on. Otherwise, the shifting sands of voter loyalties will not be in their favor come 2024.