- - Sunday, July 8, 2012

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Today, let’s look at the polls — all of them. To start with, health care: Just 6 percent of Americans think health care is the most pressing issue, according to the latest Gallup poll. Why? Because lots of those Americans don’t have jobs or are underemployed — the real jobless rate nationwide is more like 14.9 percent, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

So savoring his big win on health care is most definitely a waste of time for President Obama, and he knows it. After less than a week of spiking the football (a relatively short time for America’s most narcissistic president ever), the president is back on the campaign trail. What’s striking is where he’s going: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa — places he won in 2008.

Why? Simple. All the latest polls show he’s losing … well, everyone. He’s down 13 points with voters ages 18 to 25, nearly half of whom think he’s done a mediocre job, according to Students for Life of America. The healthy young don’t really care about health care, but they do care about jobs — and nearly 2 million 20- to 24-year-olds are unemployed.

“With skyrocketing student debt and grim unemployment prospects for those out of college, young voters’ collective love affair with the president has abated,” SFLA Executive Director Kristan Hawkins said.

The rate is far worse if you’re young and black. For blacks ages 16 to 19, the unemployment rate is now 39.3 percent, up from 36.5 percent last month. Older blacks don’t fare much better: The overall rate for blacks rose nearly a full percentage point in June to 14.4 percent.

Which explains why Mr. Obama, the first half-black president, is faring so poorly with blacks. A recent poll by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling showed that Mitt Romney would get 20 percent of the black vote in the crucial swing state of North Carolina — where Mr. Obama took 95 percent of that vote in 2008. Nationwide, his approval rating among blacks is down nine points to 77 percent while Mr. Romney’s has doubled to 18 percent.

His half-white side isn’t faring much better. White support is down six points from November 2008 to just 38 percent, according to a Gallup poll in June. Despite his nonstop class warfare, Mr. Obama has dropped most among less-affluent whites, down nine points with whites who make $60,000 or less per year.

“President Obama does not currently have enough white support to win re-election even if he retains his minority base from 2008,” Real Clear Politics’ David Paul Kuhn wrote late last month. “Today, fewer whites back Obama than any Democratic candidate since Walter Mondale. Romney does not need to emulate Ronald Reagan to win. Should he match Reagan’s share of the white vote in 1984 — presuming all else remains constant since 2008 — Romney would rout Obama.”

Mr. Obama is perhaps doing worst among postgraduate white women — down nine points. In another key swing state, Florida, a June poll shows Mr. Romney closing a double-digit gap among women to actually take the lead, 48 percent to 46 percent. In Ohio, women are split: 47 percent approve of Mr. Obama, 47 percent disapprove — a dismal number for a Democrat who took 56 percent of the female vote in 2008.

Like all other demographics, women care most about jobs. Perhaps this time around, they’re put off by the fact that 780,000 fewer women are employed than when Mr. Obama took office.

Another key group, Jews, also are bailing in droves. A June poll by Gallup showed the president down 10 points to 64 percent — he took three-quarters of the vote in 2008.

“Obama’s current support is the lowest percentage for any Democrat since Jimmy Carter,” the Jerusalem Post wrote. “The average Jewish vote for a Democrat is 71%, so his support is significantly below average. In fact, the last two Democrats to receive less than 70% of the Jewish vote — [Michael] Dukakis and Mondale — both lost.” (No wonder Mr. Romney is planning a trip to Israel, a place Mr. Obama has never gone as president, nor even has Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.)

The only demographic with whom Mr. Obama is still strong is Hispanics, thanks to his extraconsitutional move to allow more than a million illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. But while the move made half of Hispanics in swing states Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia “more enthusiastic” about the Democrat, he still falls short of his 2008 support. A new NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Telemundo poll shows 66 percent of Hispanics nationwide support Mr. Obama, yet he took 67 percent of the vote in 2008.

“Their interest in this election remains far below 2008 levels, and lags well behind other key groups this cycle,” NBC News said.

So, they aren’t all that enthused. Again, the economy and jobs weigh heaviest for the demographic: The latest unemployment numbers show the rate at 11 percent for Hispanics, nearly three points higher than the overall average.

While the lack of enthusiasm for Mr. Obama does not translate into enthusiasm for Mr. Romney, the GOP candidate has a clear path to victory: Nibble away at the margins the president won in 2008 — across all demographics. Pick up 4 percent here, 9 percent there … until victory.

Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at jcurl@washingtontimes.com.