Here's why. Thomas Edsall did some digging into polling conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute in September 2012 and summarized what he found out about white working class voters:
1. Those who vote Republican are mostly in the South.
The pre-election P.R.R.I. study found that white working-class voters in the South backed Romney over Obama 62-22, compared to a 46-41 Romney advantage in the West, a 42-38 edge in the Northeast and an Obama lead of 44-36 in the Midwest.2. Even working class white voters (especially non-Southerners) are starting to change their views about marriage equality and abortion. So the culture wars aren't the go-to win for them they've been in the past.
Similarly, while working-class whites in the South opposed same-sex marriage by 61-32 in the P.R.R.I. survey, in the Northeast they favored it 57-37; in the West they were split 47-45; and in the Midwest they were modestly opposed, 44-49. In the case of abortion, majorities of non-college whites outside of the South believe the practice should be legal, while those in the South were opposed 54-42.3. So what is the one thing that still unites white working class voters? Yep, you guessed it...racism.
Three out of five working-class whites believe “that discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities.” This view is strongest in the South, at 69 percent, but it is the majority conviction of working-class whites in all regions of the country, where it is never lower than 55 percent.Those are the voters Rep. Ryan was talking to. Send out the dog whistles and fan the racist flames. Perhaps that will be enough to get the Republicans through the 2014 midterms. That's the strategy anyway. And if enough of us stay home this November, it will likely work.