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Afternoon Shift

Presidential candidates vie for key voting blocs

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(Flickr/Cain and Todd Benson)

With less than five months to go, the presidential campaigns are focused on capturing the voting blocs that can help tip the scales in their favor come November. Last week, the Obama campaign zeroed in on women, releasing a new TV ad highlighting the president’s commitment to equal pay for women.

Political media strategist Chris Sautter specializes in ads like this one—in fact, in 2008, he was writing and producing ads for President Obama’s campaign. After meeting with one of the re-election campaign’s chief architects, senior strategist David Axelrod, Monday morning, Sautter helped Afternoon Shift break down the key voting blocs for Obama and Romney’s respective campaigns. Also in on the discussion was Lenny McAllister, senior contributor to Politic 365 and longtime conservative political personality.

Afternoon Shift asked the experts to identify the key demographics for each candidate and here’s what they had to say.

Chris Sautter:
Obama's basic coalition is women, Hispanics, African Americans, and upper income voters; his voting blocks--women, Hispanics, African Americans, and upper income voters.

Romney voting blocks--white men, white middle income voters, white non-college. Romney is obviously trying to break up the Obama 2008 winning coalition by making in-roads with women, Hispanics, and upper income voters. Republicans seem to have given up on African American voters.


  • President Obama must convincingly win the women's vote
  • President Obama must maintain a 2.5-to-1 to 3-to-1 advantage on Gov. Romney with the Latino vote (currently about 65% to 35% or so towards Mr. Obama)
  • President Obama needs at least two of the "big 3" swing states in the South (Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina)


  • Governor Romney must win the working class, blue-collar conservative (both Republican and Democrat) vote in areas including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa
  • Governor Romney must eclipse the level of votes that John McCain did with Latinos in 2008 (thus the need to put Rubio on the ticket to secure a win in the battleground state of Florida)
  • Governor Romney must convincingly with the middle-class, 2-parent, suburban vote (65% - 35% or more) to offset his potential losses with Latinos (66% - 33% Obama) and African-Americans (94% - 6% Obama) in key battleground urban states (e.g., Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Michigan)

What do you think? Join the conversation at 2:00 p.m. on Monday. Call (312) 923-9239 or find us on Twitter at #AfternoonShift.

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