This column by Thomas Edsall for the New York Times depressed me. We already knew about the organized Republican effort to suppress the vote among core Democratic constituencies through voter ID laws. But Edsall writes that Obama, too, has a vote suppression strategy of a sort (belated update: legal suppression and political discouragement are two different things). It is to attack Mitt Romney to build on a pre-existing coolness for the Republican nominee sufficiently to encourage a lot of voters — particularly unemployed, non-college white males — to stay home.
A New York Times/CBS poll released on Wednesday found that 52 percent of Obama voters back their candidate strongly, compared to 29 percent of Romney voters. In addition, a third of Romney’s voters say they are voting for him because of their dislike of Obama, while only 8 percent of Obama voters are primarily motivated by their hostility to Romney.
Vote suppression is important for Obama because his numbers among whites without degrees are worsening, despite the omnipresence of anti-Romney ads in the battleground states. Obama’s 29 percent level of support among non-college white men in the Quinnipiac poll cited above is a drop from 32 percent in its April survey, and the 28 percent level in the ABC/Washington Post poll is a drop from 34 percent in their May survey.