The most recent two weeks of Gallup polling, which includes roughly 13,000 interviews, show 44 percent of non-Hispanic White voters presently support Obama - the highest number for a Democrat since 47 percent of Whites backed Jimmy Carter in 1976, FOX News reported. Until the stock market swoon in mid-September, Obama had never reached 40 percent among White voters. No Democrat has won a majority of white voters since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. John McCain has shuffled between 48 percent and 50 percent support in recent weeks - which would be the lowest share for a Republican candidate in a two-man race since Barry Goldwater's run.
If Obama's share holds, it would top the 43 percent of White voters who backed Bill Clinton in 1996, when the Democrat won a plurality among White females and 38 percent of White men, the best performance by a Democrat in all those categories since 1976. efore the party conventions, Obama's support among white men had never passed 35 percent. In September, he matched Clinton's level of support, and last week he jumped 5 points to 43 percent.
"That is amazing," Obama campaign pollster Cornell Belcher said after those numbers were read to him.
"It was already a change election and now you have a cross pressure of the economy," he said, causing whites "who have not been voting for white Democrats" to back Obama.
A Politico breakdown of the Pew polling shows dramatic improvement for Obama among whites since early September on the question of who would do a better job "improving the economy."
White women, who last month were split, now believe Obama will do a better job "improving the economy" by a 49 percent to 35 percent margin. White men, who had favored McCain by 10 points, are now split, with 41 percent preferring Obama and 43 percent McCain.
About half of whites say the economy is the most important issue in this campaign, while 8 percent said Iraq and 6 percent terrorism, according to the ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll covering Monday through Thursday.
In a similar poll in mid-October 2004, white voters were evenly split, with 26 percent citing the economy as the most important issue, while 25 percent said Iraq and 21 percent said terrorism.
A new Public Policy Polling report shows Obama's newfound leads in North Carolina, Virginia and Florida result from gains among White voters.