Moving from the Old to New Politics: Macomb to Oakland

In the summer of 2008, Barack Obama held a slim national lead over John McCain but his position was by no means secure. After a bruising primary battle, the Democratic base was fractured as many white, blue-collar Democrats – critical voters in Rust Belt swing states like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania – held back from the new nominee. But Obama’s appeal,combined with other trends, presented him with an opportunity to add new voters in America’s suburbs. If Obama and his allies were to fulfill their potential they needed to bring traditional Democrats back into the fold while continuing to expand their appeal to new suburban voters. Last Tuesday, Obama did just that. To better understand these dynamics, Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner conducted post-election studies of Macomb and Oakland Counties, two bellwether counties in Michigan that respectively represent the Democrats’ traditional blue-collar base and new white-collar voters. These surveys follow on the heels of extensive research Democracy Corps and GQR has conducted in Macomb earlier in the cycle.


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