Baptist, former Bush-voting Sheryl Harris out of Lynchburg, Virginia, remains convinced that President Obama is a secret Muslim. But, hot damn, she does not like that Romney fellow:
"Romney's going to help the upper class," said Harris, who earns $28,000 a year as activities director of a Lynchburg senior center. "He doesn't know everyday people, except maybe the person who cleans his house."The Reuters gang apparently drove their Chevy pickup for months through the rural hinterlands of the South, parked it at Waffle Houses and Flying J's in eleven states and asked over 8500 families making under $55,000 per year who they'd be inclined to vote for and why. The results were surprising. Nearly 4 out of 10 Bible Belters say Romney's money makes him even less trustworthy than the black guy:
She'll vote for Obama, she said: "At least he wasn't brought up filthy rich."
Reuters/Ipsos polling data compiled over the past several months shows that, across the Bible Belt, 38 percent of these voters said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who is "very wealthy" than one who isn't. This is well above the 20 percent who said they would be less likely to vote for an African-American.Romney's Mormonism isn't helping. In fact, it looks like Romney has his own equivalent to the "birth certificate" issue among some of these folks:
Several of those interviewed in Lynchburg were devotees of the TV series "Big Love" and "Sister Wives," about polygamous Mormon families. They were unaware that the Mormon Church long ago renounced polygamy.Yikes. Mitt, a word of advice--don't deny it. You'll just make it worse.
"Mormons don't believe like we believe," said Dianna McCullough, a retired factory worker, as she tossed salad in a Tree of Life Ministries soup kitchen. "Like the wives -- Romney's probably got more than one."
Of course there's always those folks who Romney can count on to see things clearly. Like this Romney supporter, merrily enjoying his golden years on the taxpayer's dime:
"Other than the military, everything that's government-controlled is screwed up," said William Clarkson, a retired postman who was rooting for the Lynchburg Hillcats, the city's minor league baseball team, on a sweltering afternoon.Damn, everything the government touches is screwed up! Except for my pension, that is.
Seven out of 10 of those polled hate Obamacare and want it repealed. Except when you ask them about its individual provisions, which, it turns out, they love:
[A] decisive 69 percent of white low- and median-income Southerners -- opposed Obamacare, according to the Reuters/Ipsos data. But when asked about specific parts of the law, the results largely favored the president.Reuters found that the attitudes of middle-to-low income Southern whites generally mirrored the attitudes of the entire population with respect to several key components of the Affordable Care Act:
[B]y more than 2 to 1, both [groups] supported making businesses with more than 50 employees offer insurance and forcing insurance companies to cover people with preexisting conditions.
Almost two-thirds of both groups supported a central element of Obamacare: extending Medicaid -- the federal-state program that covers healthcare for the poor -- to families earning less than $30,000 a year.
Here's another head-scratcher for ya:
According to the Reuters/Ipsos data, 35 percent of the white Southern group saw Romney as having a "better approach" to taxes, while 25 percent thought Obama does.You can even start to feel a little bit of sympathy for poor Mitt, trying his darndest in his natty blue blazer and khakis to reach these people who he simply cannot afford to lose. As the article notes, given President Obama's outperformance with minorities, Romney needs a minimum of 60% of the white vote.
Paradoxically, the same group agreed by more than 4 to 1 with the statement: "The wealthiest Americans should pay higher taxes," which is Obama's campaign theme.
Now before anyone thinks I'm disrespecting any particular class or geographic area, I will jump to claim immunity. One-half of my entire family is Southern, as is my wife's family. They're cut from the same socioeconomic cloth as these folks, and most of them are Democrats.
But I already know who they're voting for.
These people, I'm not so sure.
You can contribute to President Obama's re-election campaign here.