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Joan Walsh on the Political Views of the White Working Class

Joan Walsh:

Beyond guns and God: [T]he Public Religion Research Institute… “non-Hispanic white Americans without a four-year college degree who hold non-salaried jobs.”… Romney led Obama by a staggering 40 points in the South (62-22) while Obama actually led Romney 44-38 in the Midwest (hello, auto industry rescue?), and the two candidates were nearly tied in the West and Northeast. White working-class Protestants favor Romney 2-1, while Catholics are evenly split. Likewise, Romney clobbers Obama with men, but the candidates are tied for the votes of women. And younger white working-class voters support Obama….

More (50 percent) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases than illegal (45 percent.)… a solid majority (56 percent) of white working-class Catholics think abortion should be legal in all or most cases…. Those who received food stamps in the last two years preferred Obama to Romney 48 to 36 percent, while two-thirds of those who hadn’t preferred Romney…. They are more likely than college-educated whites to say the government does too much for minorities and that discrimination against whites is as big a problem as discrimination against blacks, although, again, if you take out the South, the percentages drop. They are more likely than white college-educated voters to blame illegal immigration for their economic problems….

It completely contradicts Charles Murray and the rest of the conservatives who define struggling white workers as part of the moocher class, people who’ve traded hard work, marriage and religious devotion for the dole: They work more hours (an average of 51 hours to 46 for the college educated). They are just as likely as college grads to call themselves religious. They are more likely to be divorced or to have children “out of wedlock,” but the study concludes (as I do) that’s because of economic distress…. And rather than believe they can depend on government, they are alienated from government: Interestingly, more college-educated whites than working-class whites refer to the government as “our” government than “the” government…

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