Good News for Dems: White Men in Decline
President Barack Obama is not doing well with white men, but the Democrats can take heart because the white male demographic is shrinking in the long run, according to an expert quoted by the CBS News website.
Darrell West, vice president and director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, explained: "Democrats have a demographic problem with white men, but that portion of the electorate is shrinking. So it will become less of a problem in future presidential elections."
"The problem is for Democrats to get through this election. Their long-term strategy actually looks good," he said.
A Public Religion Research Institute study found that while Republican candidate Mitt Romney holds a 2-1 advantage among white working class men, the two candidates were tied among white-working class women.
David Paul Kuhn, author of "The Neglected Voter: White Men and the Democratic Dilemma," reported that Democrats have seen a 25 percent decline in white working-class male support between 1948 and 2004, while their support among white working-class women remained steady.
The economic downturn may have made Obama's "white male problem" worse, according to CBS, which noted that the 2008 economic collapse has been dubbed a "he-cession" because it disproportionately left men out of work.
"White men have suffered disproportionately from the recession, and it's been hard for them to make up for the lost wages," said West. "It's been a real challenge for Obama to convince those people they would do better in a second term."
Obama is doing better in the Midwest, the expert explained, because of policies like the auto bailout and the efforts to improve manufacturing. However, whites in the south and in rural areas have "seen the downsides of the economic policies without getting very many of the benefits."
The Romney campaign, meanwhile, has targeted white working-class men in the Midwest by arguing that Obama has engaged in a "war on coal," a message that is particularly effective in southeastern Ohio.