Poll: Non-Whites Feel Better Off Than They Felt Four Years Ago

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 13 2012 5:47 PM

Poll: Non-Whites Feel Better Off Than They Felt Four Years Ago

The new CNN poll on the campaign and the economy asks voters the Reagan question: Are you better off than you were four years ago? And it provides the latest cache of evidence that non-white voters may save Barack Obama, as they have rescued every successful Democratic candidate since 1976. First, the racial breakdown:

Screen shot 2012-09-13 at 5.19.33 PM

No set of data could confirm that non-white voters are actually, economically, better off than they were at this point in 2008 -- in the private sector. (Let's play along with the question, instead of starting the Obama record in February 2009.) Black unemployment is usually twice that of whites; Hispanic unemployment is usually 50 percent higher.

Maybe the second set of data will tell us something.

Screen shot 2012-09-13 at 5.19.22 PM

Voters in urban areas, the South, and the Midwest are the only ones who feel better off. They're less wrong; unemployment has fallen faster in those areas than it's fallen on the West coast and the Northeast. Are the voters in urban areas better off? Maybe -- but it's more important that these voters are less white than the rest of the country. And all of the voters I've described are likelier to receieve special assistance from the government. The economy isn't doing better, not for them. But they're getting by, and they like Obama to start with, so they're optimistic.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Science

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

The Ungodly Horror of Having a Bug Crawl Into Your Ear and Scratch Away at Your Eardrum

We Could Fix Climate Change for Free. What Exactly Is Holding Us Back?

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 17 2014 5:21 PM Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS But the next president might. 
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM Should Men Still Open Doors for Women? Or is it ungentlemanly to do so at all?  
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 4:36 PM Is Nonfiction the Patriarch of Literary Genres?
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 5:56 PM Watch Louis C.K., Dave Chappelle, Bill Hicks, Mitch Hedberg, and More on New YouTube Channel
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 5:26 PM If Fixing Global Warming Is Free, What’s the Holdup?
  Health & Science
Jurisprudence
Sept. 17 2014 4:49 PM Schooling the Supreme Court on Rap Music Is it art or a true threat of violence?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?