A number of analysts suspect Barack Obama is too cerebral to connect with blue-collar Democratic voters. An odd notion, perhaps, considering Hillary Clinton's lofty background and persona. Still, some striking data in the LA Times:
Obama's early support is following a pattern familiar from the campaigns of other brainy liberals with cool, detached personas and messages of political reform, from Eugene McCarthy in 1968 to Gary Hart in 1984 to Bill Bradley in 2000. Like those predecessors, Obama is running strong with well-educated voters but demonstrating much less support among those without college degrees....
Among whites, Clinton so far is showing broader reach. She's competitive upscale and dominating downscale, a combination that allows her to lead Obama in most early polls. In the latest nationwide Gallup survey, for instance, Obama led Clinton by 3 percentage points among white, college-educated Democrats, but she bested him by 23 points among whites without college degrees, and she led overall.
Although Obama's team has its own counter-arguments:
David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist, dismisses these numbers as artifacts of his candidate's lower name recognition with non-college voters, who aren't yet as tuned in to the race. Axelrod said that Obama, through his campaigns for the Illinois state Senate and the U.S. Senate and his experience as a Saul Alinsky-style community organizer on Chicago's South Side, has demonstrated that he can bond with white working-class voters.
"This is a guy who began as a community organizer banging on the doors of government to … get some attention for people who were living in the shadow of a closed steel mill," Axelrod said. "So his profile is not the typical effete reformer profile."