Democrats Wooing White Male Voters as Midterms Near

By Sandy Fitzgerald /


The Democratic Party is working hard to woo back white male voters to help defend their seats as the midterm elections near, when fewer female and minority voters that carry Democratic races traditionally turn out to vote.

White men, particularly in the working class, overwhelmingly started voting Republican during the Reagan era because they believed liberals no longer represented their interests, The New York Times reports.

But in recent years, Democratic candidates have gotten their main support from female and minority voters, who decided the 2012 presidential race, and the party is finding itself in the middle of a debate over how hard it really needs to work to win over the white male vote.

Democrats are facing a challenge this election cycle because of Obama’s declining ratings. Five of the 10 states where President Barack Obama has the worst job approval ratings are up for grabs in the Senate midterm elections and could end up in GOP hands.

But since women and minorities do not tend to participate midterm elections, winning the white male vote is important to both parties, as they helped Republicans take control of the House in 1994 and again in 2010.

According to Gallup tracking numbers released in January, Republicans only need to pick up six seats to win a majority in the Senate, but the president’s approval rating remains below 35 percent in West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana, Alaska, and Arkansas, all of which Democrats are hoping to defend in November.

In addition, while the minority and female vote helped put President Barack Obama into the White House for another four years, white male voters narrowed the race considerably for Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

According to CNN exit polls after the election, Romney took 59 percent of the white vote, coming in just short of his 60 percent target. But he won just 48.1 percent of the overall vote, with 88 percent of his voters being white.

Of those voters, the exit poll showed that Romney won 62 percent of the white male vote, and overall, more men than women voted for him.

Lyndon B. Johnson was the last Democratic presidential candidate to win office while taking the white male vote. Presidents Obama, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton all won through support of the female and minority vote.

But winning the white male vote is a “tough political challenge for Democrats,” said Democratic pollster Geoff Garin. And strategists in many states say it’s more effective to concentrate on young voters, women, and minorities, as Democrats generally take 8 of every 10 minority votes.

Working class, married men are said to be the most difficult to win over to the Democratic Party, but they won’t be easy to win over.

“Democrats are for a bunch of freeloaders in this world, as far as I’m concerned,” Gari Day, 63, an Avis bus driver from suburban Detroit, told The Times. “Republicans make you work for your money, and try to let you keep it.”

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