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Obama’s General Election Challenge: White Women Voters

If you followed the polls and vote analyses through the Democratic primaries, this won’t come as a big surprise, but Gallup’s analysis of its data May 1-17 suggests that Barack Obama is going to have a bigger challenge in winning over white voters against John McCain than Hillary Clinton would have. Perhaps the one surprise in this is that Obama’s problem has less to do with the much written-about vote of blue-collar whites than it does with Clinton’s superior strength among white women.

McCain leads Obama among all white voters 53 percent to 38 percent and runs ahead of Clinton by a lesser 51 percent to 42 percent. Taking white males one, McCain does equally well against either Democratic, besting them by 19 points. The same is true when McCain is matched against the Democrats among white men without college education.

But among white women, while Clinton narrowly outpolls McCain 48 percent to 45 percent, McCain leads Obama 49 percent to 40 percent. The margin of error is 1 percent. When that group is further analyzed to break out white women without a college education, McCain and Clinton ties at 46 percent each, but McCain leads Obama 51 percent to 35 percent.

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