And in Pennsylvania, where Obama won 55 percent of those women in 2008 but tumbled to just 44 percent in 2012, Clinton displayed the most strength. The Quinnipiac polls showed her at 56 percent among them against Christie, 58 percent against Bush, and 62 percent against Paul.
By contrast, the Quinnipiac Polls show considerably less strength for Clinton among noncollege white women. Those so-called waitress moms have given most of their votes to Republicans in each election since Bill Clinton carried a plurality of them in 1996. Nationally, Obama carried just 39 percent in 2012.
In Florida, Obama won only 36 percent of the "waitress moms" in 2008 and 40 percent in 2012. The Quinnipiac polls place Clinton squarely in that range, at 36 percent among them against Bush, 41 percent against Paul, and 43 percent against Christie. But because large numbers of these women remain undecided in the survey, Clinton leads Christie with them, and only trails Paul narrowly while still facing a double-digit deficit against Bush.
In Ohio, Obama won 44 percent of these women in 2008 and 45 percent in 2012. That wasn't an overwhelming performance, but it was enough above his national showing to help him carry the state. The Quinnipiac surveys show Clinton settling exactly in that range, drawing 44 percent against Christie, and 45 percent against both Bush and Paul. Again, though, because of a large undecided contingent, Clinton leads against all three with those women.
The surveys showed Clinton making the clearest gains among blue-collar women in Pennsylvania. Obama posted nearly identical showings there with these women—47 percent in 2008 and 46 percent in 2012. Quinnipiac found Clinton attracting 49 percent of them against both Christie and Bush, and 53 percent against Paul. While Obama lost these women by 7 percentage points in 2012 and 4 points in 2008, Clinton leads with them against all three Republicans.
The results were similar in polls from NBC News and Marist College last summer in Iowa and New Hampshire. When Clinton was matched again against Christie, Paul, and Bush, those surveys showed her attracting just under half of noncollege white women in both states. But against all three men, she drew 52 to 54 percent of college white women in Iowa, and exactly 64 percent of them in New Hampshire. National Quinnipiac surveys last year testing Clinton against all three men also put her at 50 percent or more among college-plus white women, and generally at 40 to 45 percent among noncollege white women.
Veteran Democratic pollster Geoff Garin, a senior strategist for Clinton during her 2008 primary campaign, notes that she ran very well among working-class white women during that contest against Obama. "The question is whether she can reconnect to noncollege educated white women the same way she was doing at the end of her 2008 campaign," Garin says. "If she can, that has the potential to change the arithmetic. But I think that answer is yet to be determined." By contrast, he said, there's more evidence in early polling that college white women "are with her. We see that very clearly."