Labor Woos Whites for Obama
From The Wall Street Journal:
Republicans have dominated presidential elections for a generation by targeting white working-class voters with a conservative message on social issues. Organized labor has a secret weapon it hopes will win them back for Sen. Barack Obama: a fast-growing outfit called Working America.
The little-noticed group formed by the AFL-CIO has no role in workplaces or contract bargaining and collects no mandatory dues. What it does is sign up members, 2.5 million so far, and persuade them to vote Democratic.
Working-class whites are important because they make up just about half of the electorate. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows Sen. Obama has built a six-point lead over Sen. John McCain in part by cutting his deficit among these voters to 11 points.
Two weeks ago, when Sen. Obama trailed Sen. McCain by 18 points among this group, the presidential race was essentially tied, according to the WSJ/NBC poll.
Some of Sen. Obama's gains in the polls come as voters hold Republicans responsible for the economy. And in the past month, as turmoil has roiled Wall Street, Working America has sought to reinforce the Democratic message that Sen. Obama is better prepared to help the economy than Sen. McCain.
Working America's 450 paid employees are mostly going after white, working-class voters in swing states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. With leaflets, phone calls and personal visits, they urge those voters to focus on economic issues like taxes, health care and education -- where Sen. Obama polls well -- and less on issues like religion and guns, on which many of them are closer to Sen. McCain.