Obama is still struggling to get them in Ohio, and Michigan, as First Read notes, even as he's coming on strong in high-growth states like Virginia, Colorado, Nevada and Florida. This piece in the NYT helps explain the problem:
Union canvassers are also confronting an unprecedented factor in this election Mr. Obama’s race making the effects of their door-to-door appeals less predictable. MacDavis Slade, a political activist with the painters’ union, said that was why “some people are having a hard time seeing things for what they are or hearing what he has to say.”
“I think race is playing a major part,” Mr. Slade said. “I think that’s why some people say, Isn’t he a Muslim?’” Other union leaders said that some members had acknowledged opposing Mr. Obama because he is black, and that canvassers had heard racial slurs against him.
The whole point of the Muslim rumor is to provide racist voters with something non-racist to hang their hat on.
But race is too crude a moniker to describe what's going on here. It is about race and age: Obama represents the future of America - multi-racial, pragmatic, meritocratic, global. This is naturally unnerving to those who recall the old America - racially segregated, more socially conservative - especially when they don't feel the new America has much to offer them. Maybe the financial crisis will get to these natural Democrats. Maybe McCain and Palin can put out enough cultural red meat to keep them on board. I don't know. But I sense these voters are important, just no longer vital.
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