What could dissolve the powerful electoral coalition that powered both of President Obama's victories? The latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll points to the greatest risk: continuing economic dissatisfaction.
The survey shows some clear continuing signs of strength for Obama with the key elements of the "coalition of the ascendant" that reelected him. African-Americans, Hispanics, members of the millennial generation ages 18-29, and college-educated white women — the growing groups that provided Obama his critical support last November — all said in the poll they trusted Obama more than congressional Republicans to develop solutions to the country's economic problems. All four groups are also more likely than the public overall to reject the Reaganesque argument that government is more the problem than the solution to the country's challenges. Moreover, the first three groups are also more likely than the public overall to say Obama's agenda will increase opportunity for people like them.
But the survey also highlights two potential fissures in the coalition. One is that college-educated white women — who generally lean toward liberal social positions that align them with Obama and most Democrats — tend to hold a dim view of his economic performance. Just 28 percent of them say Obama's agenda will increase opportunity for people like them; 42 percent say it will decrease it. Obama also scores no better than a roughly even split among the college white women on the question of whether his agenda "helped to avoid an even worse economic crisis" or ran "up a record federal deficit while failing to significantly improve the economy."