* Hmmm… I wonder who predicted this turn of events way back in February?
Obama’s showing [in South Carolina] has improved significantly among black voters. He now attracts 51% of the African-American vote in South Carolina while Clinton picks up just 27%. A month ago, the candidates were even in this important constituency […]
In the South Carolina survey, African-Americans constitute 49% of Likely Democratic Primary voters.
Let’s see… Could that February sage have been… Ummm… Me?
Next, you “experts” assume that just because viable, credible black candidates end up winning overwhelming majorities of black votes that polls currently showing Hillary Clinton leading Obama among African Americans are somehow important.
In Illinois, at least, large numbers of black voters tend to take their time making up their minds. In political parlance, they ‘’break late.'’
Ten months before the March 2004 U.S. Senate primary (about where we are now before the Iowa caucuses), Obama’s own polls showed him winning just 34 percent of the black vote. About a month before the primary, African-American voters began ‘’breaking'’ in large numbers to his candidacy. As they began focusing on the campaign, black voters saw he was viable, liked his message and a significant percentage finally realized he was African American. He ended up winning just about all their votes.
This same pattern has been repeated time and time again during the past 25 years here. Harold Washington didn’t start off his campaign with the majority of black support against a white female with a huge war chest and the powers of patronage and incumbency, but he certainly ended that way.
Like Byrne, Hillary Clinton is almost universally known and has a strong record of backing issues important to many Democratic African-American voters. Obama is far less known. It’s perfectly natural that, right now, many black voters are siding with Clinton. But, if Obama’s candidacy remains viable through early next year, I’d bet that the vast majority of African-American voters will end up with him.
* Pretty much right on schedule, African-American voters are now breaking away from Clinton in a big way and are inching towards Obama in South Carolina - and it’s showing in the overall head-to-heads…
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the race shows Clinton with 36% of the vote while Obama is the top choice for 34% of the state’s Likely Primary Voters. A month ago, Clinton had a ten-point advantage. In September, the former First Lady was up by thirteen points.
If Obama remains viable (that is, if he doesn’t get blown out by voters, the media or strange turns of events in Iowa and/or New Hampshire) you can expect this trend among black voters to accelerate as the Jan. 26th primary approaches. South Carolina is where the campaign changes. No longer will the focus be on self-important, lily white rural/suburban enclaves. Minority voters will will play a much larger role
Critique this assessment and share your thoughts on Obama’s candidacy to date.