President Barack Obama is racing down the trail blazed by Sen. George McGovern, who in 1972 was buried by the largest popular vote landslide in American history. (President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 won a slightly higher percentage of the popular vote than Richard Nixon did in 1972, but LBJ's margin over Sen. Barry Goldwater was smaller.) Sen. McGovern was too far to the left, swing voters thought, and not very competent -- an image reinforced by the shambles his supporters made of the Democratic national convention.
Swing voters are forming a similar opinion about President Obama, who sometimes seems as if he's deliberately trying to dismantle the coalition that elected him in 2008.
• Mr. Obama won the Jewish vote by an astounding 52 percentage points. But -- thanks chiefly to his policies toward Israel and Iran -- he's lost more support among Jews (16 percentage points) than among any other ethnic group, according to a Pew survey in February.
• Mr. Obama won the Catholic vote 54 percent to 45 percent. Four years earlier, Sen. John Kerry got only 47 percent of Catholic votes -- and he's Catholic.