Apparently, Barack Obama was right. White working-class voters really do cling to guns and religion.
That may be no surprise, but a new survey of the white working class (definition: non-Latino white voters who lack a college degree and have jobs that pay by the hour) does contain some findings that cut against the grain, and others that offer new insight into a key American voting bloc.
The survey, published Thursday by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute, will probably not be recreational reading at the White House, given its portrait of a segment of the population with no great love for President Obama. Even the name of the report -- "Beyond Guns and God: Understanding the Complexities of the White Working Class in America" -- is an implicit poke at the president, recalling his infamous off-the-record comments in 2008 about "bitter" people who cling to those pole stars.
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But it offers both presidential campaigns food for thought as they seek to reach a vital part of the American populace that has been especially hard hit by the recession and, even before that, by the loss of manufacturing jobs that once offered modestly educated workers a path into the middle class. And both candidates can find snippets of good news -- and bad.