President Obama's ratings among working-class whites have improved significantly since the Republican primaries and caucuses began.
The new NBC/Wall Street Journal national survey released Monday, like the NBC/Marist polls released yesterday in the key swing states of Ohio and Virginia, quantify the broad sense in both parties that Mitt Romney's slog toward the GOP nomination has come at a palpable price for November.
In the NBC/WSJ survey, Obama held a 50 percent to 43 percent advantage over Romney nationally, up from a 47 percent to 44 percent lead in the average of the news organizations' polls during the second half of 2011, just before the voting began in the Republican race. What's especially striking about the new survey is that it shows Obama has made his biggest gains among the group that has consistently resisted him the most: white voters without a college education.
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In the NBC/WSJ surveys through the second half of 2011, Romney led Obama among those working-class white voters by a commanding 52 percent to 38 percent, according to figures provided by Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who conducts the survey with Democrat Peter Hart. But in latest survey, Romney's advantage with those voters had shriveled to just five percentage points -- 48 percent to 43 percent. By comparison, in 2008 non-college white voters backed John McCain over Obama by a resounding 58 percent to 40 percent; Republicans won even more of them (63 percent) in the 2010 Congressional election.