Climate as a wedge issue?
April 27, 2012 5 Comments
TNR’s Alex McGillis makes the interesting case that Obama may be trying to use climate change as a wedge issue against Romney with disaffected wealthy voters whom are unhappy with Obama, but can be scared off of Romney by his kowtowing to the anti-science wing of the GOP:
Looked at another way, though, climate change might not be a bad thing for Obama to talk about—as a wedge issue, with certain audiences. Specifically, the well-educated swing voters who backed him last time around but may be taking a look at Romney, who showed strength with upscale voters in the Republican primary. National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar recently argued that this is a real vulnerability for Obama:
It’s easy to forget, now that Obama is preaching a populist message on the campaign trail, that a major part of his support came from the very 1 percent that he’s now calling on to pay their fair share in taxes. Obama carried the super-wealthy—those making $200,000 or more a year—with 52 percent of the vote, 17 points more thanJohn Kerry won in 2004. But now surveys show Obama losing significant ground with affluent voters, trailing Romney 49 percent to 43 percent among those making $100,000 or more in the latest Quinnipiac poll—his worst showing among any economic demographic…
Still, Kraushaar is on to something—Romney holds a natural appeal for many upscale, suburban swing voters that John McCain lacked, and that he certainly lacked once he picked the Alaskan huntress as his running mate. Obama needs to worry about holding onto this demographic in states such as Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado and Pennsylvania (among other states) even as he works to limit his losses among working-class white voters with his more populist language. And what better way to do that than to remind these upscale voters that Romney has abandoned his formerly strong stance on addressing climate change for a morass of near-denialist statements? At the very least, it might force Romney to tack back to the center (i.e., scientific reality) on this issue, thus highlighting anew how far he has swung from his technocratic moorings. So keep an eye on this. It may just have been an off-the-cuff answer to a good question. But it may also be something that Chicago has up its sleeve.
Interesting idea. Of course, the question in something like this is does it gain more potential votes than it loses? Are their other potential voter blocs who might potentially favor Obama but be disinclined to over matters of climate? I suspect