The Obama campaign’s recent outreach effort aimed at non-college educated white voters may work because the demographic’s tepid support for President Barack Obama is partly offset by its low regard for the GOP presidential candidates.

First Lady Michelle Obama will be in Florida a the Ford 400 NASCAR race making the Obama campaign pitch next week and then back to Washington for the “Country Music: In Performance at the White House.” The one-day event features a line-up of famous county music singers, including Dierks Bentley, Alison Krauss and Kris Kristofferson.

Focusing on this demographic makes sense: A new CNN poll shows that Obama’s approval among whites is only 36 percent, and disapproval is 61 percent. This is a mirror image of his support among non-whites, where he has 67 approval and 32 disapproval.

But GOP leaders are not faring much better.

People without college degrees don’t trust national politicians, said Henry Olsen, the director of research at the American Enterprise Institute. GOP insiders need to appreciate the worry and insecurity of non-college voters, and to recognize their concerns about jobs, safety net programs, Chinese competition and uncontrolled immigration, he said.

Washington advocates, legislators and lobbyists “spend almost all of our lives … with high-achieving, college-educated peers, and we’re used to taking risks, to moving a lot, to managing our own careers,” he said. In contrast, working-class people are “much likely to be worried than we are … [and] tend to be risk-averse.”

 

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