June 3rd, 2008
06:42 PM ET
15 years ago

Schneider: Obama's blue-collar problem persists

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/03/sd.jpg caption=" A woman casts her ballot in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. "]
(CNN) - We've talked all season about Barack Obama's problem with those white working class voters, those blue collar voters. Is that problem persisting?

Yes, it is. South Dakota’s Democratic primary voters with no college degree voted as their peers in previous contests had: for Hillary Clinton over Obama, 60-40 percent. Meanwhile, well-educated, white collar voters continue to back the Illinois senator. Take a look at college graduates in the state: they voted for Obama, 53 to 47 percent.

The effort to win over these working-class voters is just beginning for Obama – and it looks like he has his work cut out for him.

soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. Betsy

    No. This is Senator Obama's big night. He should not spoil it by even
    suggesting Hillary on the ticket after the way she treated him during the
    campaign. Why would she want to be on a ticket with, in her words an
    inexperienced, unfit, unelectable(to white voters), elitist black man?
    Her crow eating cronies are now all over the airwaves eating crow and talking aboutshe will do what ever to help the party including v. p. PLEASE!!!!!!!!!! Her backers are on TV looking sooooo stupid now. Hell no Senator Obama. NO HILLARY ON THE TICKET!!!!!!! You will make up for it by gaining disgruntled refugees from the Bush republicans.
    You did not need her supporters to get the nomination. Most of them
    are a bunch of racists anyway who are not going to vote Obama even
    if she was on the ticket. Never carry a snake around in your back

    June 3, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  2. pakuna

    Well to all you obama people this is a blue collar woman and am white and as you have labeled me.( I am gonna get a shirt that has the slogan) I am old white blue collar broad who will not vote for obama.
    If he was not black he would not even be in the running, that is what is so sad.

    June 3, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  3. Josephine

    Now that Hillibilly is out of the picture He will win those voters. Who did more can do less.

    June 3, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  4. darren

    If Obama plays the race card it is done. Do NOT say the country is racist. The other look is to say you are sexist, but people do not want to look at that. She has done very good in her campain. There are many people who will be voting for McCain come the fall. The party has to be reconciled or else George wins again: none of us want that.

    June 3, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  5. Manny

    Weren't Obama's grandparents blue collar? Weren't Michelle's parents blue collar? I guess the Grandparents exhibited their stupidty by agreeing to raise their grandson so his PhD mother could pursue her own dreams after his father deserted them. Wasn't it the hard work of Michelle's father that got his children the opportunity to attend Princeton? Oh, no I'm wrong-her brother was an outstanding baskeball player and Michelle got in as a legacy. You know the same reason George W got into Yale.

    June 3, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  6. vINCe


    June 3, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |


    NO WAY...... NO WAY......


    June 3, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  8. John, London

    As long as Clinton stays in this race, the problem of winning over the blue collar voters shall persists for Obama. Problem is this group of voters still uses Bill Clintons presidential era as yardstick of their existence, thus hoping for the same from his wife. This trend is bound to change once She (Hillary) bows out of the race.

    June 3, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  9. Scheider twists data and interpretation

    Schneider's once again demonstrates such a twisted use of headlines and data interpretation, feeding erroneous information to the public. Look: Hillary, the Other Dem., appeals more to that demographic – but what emperical evidence do you have that Dems won't vote for Dems in the Fall???? Such a bogus and sensational use of his privileged platform... per the usual. CNN – give him the can.

    June 3, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  10. Peter E

    "Ooo, Hillary is more popular with some people. Quick, let's press the 'they're racist' panic button!'"

    June 3, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  11. David Newport, OR

    This is a non-issue for those Democrats capable of looking at 2 candidates and asking which most closely represents their beliefs. For those incapable of this...they will vote based on their fears.

    June 3, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  12. RB

    There you have it. Poor (and "less educated") white folks have been abused by corrupt white folks for as long as black folks have been abused by corrupt white folks. When are they going to learn? Even if we had no blacks in the US, they would still be in the situation they're in now, if not worse. Corrupt people always have to have someone to hate. If there were no blacks, who do think they would turn their hate on??? Wise up people...........

    John Wayne said it best "Life is hard, but it's harder if you're stupid".

    June 3, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  13. Stephen


    Ummm... George W. Bush anyone?

    "Good old fashioned blue collar workers who made America great know a phony when they see one."

    Yes, you voted one into office twice, and we are reaping the "benefits" of your "wisdom."

    "I have a problem with Obama because he's green!"

    What experience did Kennedy have before being elected? And since when does "experience" = "good" or "right?" George W. Bush surrounded himself with "experienced" people, and where has that gotten us?

    Think for yourselves people, don't base your choices on sound bites and propaganda.

    "The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise - with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."
    -Abraham Lincoln

    June 3, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  14. Kyle in San Diego

    There is a double-edged sword pertaining to the election this year. Because of the fact that it is SO historic, the democrats are bringing in record numbers of supporters; and everybody is really, truly being able to express their voice. That is a GREAT thing, whether we all agree on things or not. But the bad part of it is, that being since it is so historic, EVERYONE wants to get in there and give their 2 cents. I love CNN, don't get me wrong, but the media undoubtedly had a huge hand in this election. Not to say that any one person benefitted more than the other, but when you have non-stop news foaming at the mouth for something new to report on, the people get millions of messages all day. When people are constantly told that Hillary is the candidate for uneducated, white, blue-collar voters, well then those people start to believe it and that's who they vote for. If you're told that this is the candidate for you, then you hop online and see that "hey, yea.. I do identify with her views," then you feel your work is done. But you ignore the fact that if you were to hop online and look at the other candidate, you'd realize, "oh wait, I identify with his views too!" The bottom line is, people need to take the news stories for what they are, but base your decisions off the research YOU have done. And this is coming from someone who is obsessed with CNN so much, I should be on medication, lol.

    Democrats Unite '08!!!

    June 3, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  15. Former Hillary Supporter, Now for Obama.

    To Margeret: You obviously don't know your history if you don't remember a candidate losing some the later primaries. i know that Reagan was one that did. You guys that are whining about Obama getting the nomination are childish. He won fair and square and if he was unelectable, he would have lost this long ago. If she couldn't take advantage of her name recognition, a popular former president/husband campaigning for her, a huge lead/advantage at the beginning of the primaries, etc. then SHE obviously wasn't as electable as the man who beat her handely. He ran a better campaign, even turning the Rev. Wright issue into something to showcase his character, while Hillary, Bill, Geraldine Ferraro, The PA Governor, and other cronies acting like crabs in a basket trying to drag the race into the divisive pool of racism and sexism by highlighting and making divisive comments. Obama's campaign was run better across the board and anyone who attempts to say otherwise is just wrong. Period

    June 3, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  16. Mac

    I have a 4 year degree from accredited public university in geological engineering. Now, I swing a hammer, sweep floors, and break my back everyday on a construction site. Am I white collar or blue collar?

    I voted for Obama.

    June 3, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  17. Texan for Progression

    To gary:

    It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove them right. With that said, I happen to be degreed, but I also realize that having a college degree has only so much to do with mental capacity. I know several educated fools. I know far, far more under-educated intelligent people.

    RJ, CA : I respect your position and would love to engage in what I'm sure would be a sensible debate.

    Dan: I respect and actually agree with your first two rhetorical questions, but you eventually let emotion take over and emotion rarely elicits the employment of reason. Therefore, I would be compelled to explore the source of your emotions rather than the merit of your conclusion.

    My point is this – irrespective of which candidate is best suited for the presidency, because that is clearly a virtual split decision, the nominee is Obama so move past the emotional urges into sensible, well conceived decisions. After all, the differences b/w Obama and Clinton pale in comparison to those b/w Obama and McCain. If you can't see that, then you are ignorant – college educated or not.

    June 3, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  18. California For McCain

    Let's see, neither Gore nor Kerry could win back the blue-collar Reagan Democrats and they are both went down in history as presidential Losers. Obama is looking at the same fate this November no matter the pandering he attempts. I would love to see the blue-collar support numbers for Gore and Kerry compared to the percentage Obama is getting.

    June 3, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  19. baljeet

    congratulation's obama . And i will be voting for mcain this fall.Hillary clinton was the best candidate for the country but thanx to all you obama thugs i will vote for mcain . Hillary clinton spent her whole life helping poor and the blacks in america in turn they all stabed her in the back for a guy we know nothing about.

    Thank you hillary looking forward to 2012 .

    June 3, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  20. Jeff

    If you look behind Senator Obama at any of his rallys, you will see
    white people. And I am sure they work. How else would they survive?
    This whole lie was created by Hillary. Obama has ALL races of supporters. This particular group insists on separating themselves,
    because they are indeed the racists, who vow not to vote for Senator
    Obama because of his skin color. Now if Senator Obama clearly
    has white voters, then WHAT is different about these people that there
    problems are different from anyone elses? That's because their
    problem (admittedly) is his race. Well, Guess what? He doesn't have to stop being mixed race, they have to stop being prejudiced, or forget
    about the 21st century.

    June 3, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  21. Linned

    Let's hope that these blue collar workers will stay with the Democratic Party and vote for Senator Obama so that we can get this country back on track.

    June 3, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  22. Chris

    Wait... I don't get it – why would people want to vote for the candidate that all of the the "uneducated" voters are backing?

    June 3, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  23. mphillips

    Has anyone noticed that on the night that Obama WINS the nomination, that the 4 postings here about tonight are all negative about Obama????

    How weird is that???

    June 3, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  24. Liz, AZ

    Listening to some of the exit poll comments from voters in those states, it sounds to me like most of them traded in their "white hoods" for "blue collars." Their comments make me sick that I share the same country with them.

    June 3, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
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