Democrats have built their post-1960s political coalition by uniting various minorities under a banner of diversity, but polls now show that the white majority — especially in the middle class — has lurched towards the GOP.

A Pew poll released today showed that the GOP’s advantage among white Americans has climbed from 42 percent to 49 percent, giving them a 10-point lead over the Democratic Party’s 39 percent.

Obama is trying to regain ground among these whites, while he also works to maintain his lead among African-American and Hispanic communities. In his Friday Maryland town hall meeting, for example, Obama repeatedly announced his support for government programs such as Medicare, and soft-pedaled his repeated call for more taxes as “balance.”

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