Obama Challenging Edwards for SEIU Support

John Edwards has been hoping for more support from labor to keep his campaign alive. The conventional wisdom last month seemed to be that the the SEIU would either endorse Edwards or make no endorsement. It now looks like Obama is challenging Edwards for their support, as reported by Mark Ambinder:

The Service Employees won’t endorse anyone today, but judging from a straw poll of their members, John Edwards and Barack Obama would have the inside track.

That’s not a surprise — Edwards has been working the SEIU for years, and Obama’s biography is tailor-made for SEIU members.

Sources close to the SEIU executive board would not tell me whether Edwards or Obama scored higher in the poll but did acknowledge that both had polled the highest. An SEIU spokesperson said the union would not reveal the results.

Obama’s support from the SEIU members is an example of why he would make a much stronger candidate in a general election campaign, even if he turns out to come in a respectable second among these union members. The general trend has been that Obama receives more support from the highly educated and professionals while Edwards is receiving increased opposition from such groups (with the exception of the trial lawyers). While Edwards’ support is increasingly limited to those who fall for his populist pitch, Obama can receive more widespread support, including from professionals as well as union members. While this may or may not matter in 2008, an election where the Democrats have a tremendous advantage regardless of their nominee, this is important if the goal is to rebuild a coalition which can replace the New Deal coalition and become a majority party.

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