Ever since Barack Obama chose him to be his running-mate in 2008, we’ve heard, relentlessly, that Joe Biden has a special connection with working class whites, that he connects with them in a way Obama never has.
Now that we’re hitting the 2016 cycle, we’re starting to hear that line in relation to his presidential hopes.
But the fact is that Biden’s supposed appeal to working class whites is quite “supposed”, and if you take a look at polls over the past year, you can’t much evidence supporting the Working Class <3 Joe Biden hypothesis.
In fact, what passes for evidence tends to be the fact that Biden was born in gritty Scranton, PA, had a gritty childhood, fancies himself a Working-Class Whisperer, and constantly tells everyone he is.
Before jumping into the polls, the big question to ask is this — how do you operationalize “working class whites” and how can you measure Biden’s appeal with them?
There are a couple survey questions out there that seem to do a good job at it: You could poll whites without a college degree, and you could also look at the rural voters that Biden can ostensibly charm.
The hiccup is that both those groups tend to be heavily Republican, so Biden is, by virtue of being a Democrat, at a disadvantage.
But you can get around that hiccup if you compare Biden’s numbers with Obama’s.
In other words, if Biden has special appeal to working class whites, his numbers with them should at least be better than Obama’s, right?
But they’re not.
Continue reading Heinze’s op-ed here.