One in six white voters not committed to either Obama or McCain

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Washington, Aug.4 : One in six white workers in America continue to remain uncommitted to either Barack Obama or John McCain, as they don't believe these two candidates have answers to improving their personal finances, the healthcare system, or the economy as a whole.

Democratic Senator Barack Obama holds a 2 to 1 edge over his Republican rival Senator John McCain among the nation's low-wage workers, but many are still unconvinced that either presidential candidate would be better than the other.

More than disaffection drives these workers, according to the new national poll by the Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University.

Obama, however, continues to retain the support of the two traditional Democratic constituencies: African Americans and Hispanics. As far as the white voter is concerned, Obama leads McCain by 10 percentage points, 47 percent to 37 percent, and has the advantage as the more empathetic candidate.

The new poll included interviews with 1,350 randomly selected workers 18 to 64 years old who put in at least 30 hours a week but earned 27,000 dollars or less last year.

The group, which accounts for nearly a quarter of U.S. adults, gives the Democrat the nod both as the more empathetic candidate and as the one who more closely shares their values.

Obama's standing with the white workers runs counter to an impression, dating from the primary season, that he struggles to attract support from that group.

McCain advisers have said for months that they think the Republican can win a significant share of those voters because of Obama's performance in the spring.

The survey suggests it will be difficult, but not impossible, for McCain to increase his appeal.

Sixteen percent of the white workers polled expressed either no opinion about the presidential race or indicated they would support no one, someone else or just plain not vote.

Nearly two-thirds of the white workers surveyed want the government to make lower gas prices a "top priority".

According to the Washington Post, seven in 10 said the government should focus on helping people find more affordable health insurance, a core component of Obama's campaign. Just over four in 10, favour placing a top priority on tax cuts or the creation of new jobs through an expansion of public works projects.

Overall, the survey suggests that Obama's economic appeals have the most resonance with white workers who are under the greatest financial stress.

McCain leads among those who say they have advanced over the past seven years, but it is a much smaller group -- only 17 percent of low-wage white workers.

Obama has the edge among those who say they have stayed about even over that time period.

Nearly six in 10 white and black workers said they think undocumented workers take jobs away from those here legally; seven in 10 Hispanics disagreed. (Nearly half of the Hispanic workers interviewed in this poll are not U.S. citizens.)

Half of those polled said growth in trade has made things worse for the country; far fewer, only about two in 10, said it has had a net benefit, and a similar percentage said they are unsure. But a majority also said trade has not changed their lives one way or the other.

As is the case with immigration, majorities of white and black workers said trade has done more harm than good, while most Hispanics disagreed.

McCain's biggest challenge is among minority workers.

Of the African Americans polled, 92 percent chose Obama as the candidate more concerned with their problems; not a single black respondent said so about McCain, although 1 percent said "both do."

Hispanics also sided with Obama on that question, favoring him by more than 40 percentage points as the more empathetic candidate.

The poll was conducted by conventional and cellular telephone June 18 to July 7, among a random national sample of low-wage workers. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. The results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

ANI

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