Add to Technorati Favorites Presidential Politics for America: The Sickening South Carolina Primary

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Sickening South Carolina Primary

(Editor's note: I'll save the Republicans and their Florida Primary for tomorrow in favor of putting a sad stamp on the South Carolina Democrats.)

*(South Carolina exit polls with demographics found here.)*

Blacks voted for Barack Obama. White women voted for Hillary Clinton. White men voted for John Edwards. What century, exactly, does South Carolina think it's in?

What are we to make of this? Are the candidates that similar on all issues that the voters threw up their hands (as I threw up in my mouth) and said, "Screw it, I'll just vote for the one that looks like me."

It is undeniable. Take a look at these demographics from exit polls. (Note the bold as things I wanted to highlight.)
Final results:
Obama - 55
Clinton - 27
Edwards - 18

African-American men:
Obama - 80
Clinton - 17
Edwards - 3

African-American women:
Obama - 78
Clinton - 20
Edwards - 2

White men:
Edwards - 45
Clinton - 28
Obama - 27

White women:
Clinton - 42
Edwards - 26
Obama - 22

Undeniable that race and gender was the dominant reason for these results. Among black men, John Edwards polled at three percent. Among white men, Edwards won the category at 45, with Obama in last. Among black women, Obama won with 78 percent. Among white women, Clinton won at 42 percent, with Obama again coming in last.

Does it end there? No. Apparently, South Carolina voters got so entrenched in their subconscious aesthetic voting rational that they had the following answers to the following questions:

Is U.S. Ready to Elect a Woman President?
Definitely ready - 33%
Probably ready - 42%
Probably not ready - 17%
Definitely not ready - 6%

The major trouble lies here: Of those who voted for Obama or Edwards, ninety-nine percent said no. Ninety-nine percent of exit pollers who voted for a male said that the U.S. was not ready to elect a woman president.

It goes on...

Is the U.S. Ready to Elect a Black President?
Definitely ready - 42%
Probably ready - 34%
Probably not ready - 17%
Definitely not ready - 5%

The problem: Of those who voted for Clinton or Edwards, ninety percent said definitely not ready. Only nine percent of Obama supporters answered definitely not ready.

Those statistics are a direct correlation. If a voter is allowed to project their feelings on the rest of the country, it's their way of answering the question: "Are you ready for a black President" or "Are you ready for a female President." It is very difficult to admit if you are one of these people, but if you get to pawn off your conservative racial tendencies on the rest of the country, that changes everything.

How else are those numbers explained? Are voters really saying to themselves, "You know, I want Obama to win, but I don't think the country is ready for a black President, so I'll just decide between Clinton and Edwards." We can only hope that South Carolina's racism and sexism doesn't linger around for the 22-state Super Tuesday, like a bad aftertaste on a national political scale.

This blog will concentrate on the Republicans the next two days before taking a look at both parties in the final push to February 5th.

Until tomorrow...


Darren said...

The problem is definitely lies in the difference between the hypothetical questions and the actual candidates. When asked about having a woman or a black man as president, people think of the lowest common denominator, which is the stereotype. When asked to choose a nominee, people tend to vote for who they identify with, no matter if the candidate is female, male, black, Latino/a, or white. That's where the discrepancies are created.

Carl said...

I kind of agree with this comment above me, but I agree more with the author of the blog. If someone identifies more with a candidate because of similar race or gender, is that not racism or sexism to pick them because of that similarity?

For example, if a white guy in the south voted for a white guy because he identifies with the white guy, isn't that racism? I think it is.

Anonymous said...

Your focusing on the wrong stuff. Obama has won two states, just like Clinton. Why arent you talking about that?

Its all media trying to get the Clintons back in the White House.

IC said...

Darren, thoughtful as always. Carl had a nice rebuttle there.

Anon, I promise I'll get to South Carolina implications and Super Tuesday predictions later in the week. If it helps, you can check last week's posts to see what I thought would happen after Obama took South Carolina.

Darren said...

Carl & Ian - I definitely agree with the sentiments of your comment and the blog. I'm not sure if we can totally classify actions of voters voting on identity politics as either sexist or racist. Voting for a black man because you are a black man or for a woman because you are a woman does not strike me as racism/sexism or reverse racism/sexism. Basically that is how America has been voting since the Kennedy/Nixon debate in 1960. We vote for who we like, who we identify with. Now that we're actually seeing minorities as viable candidates, the gender/race aspect is going to be brought up an discussed much more. Is it fair to call Mormon voters who don't vote for any other candidate besides Romney as prejudiced? I think it's more of having an uneducated electorate than a bigoted one.

Roger Wiley said...

What difference does it make? They are all a bunch of Socialists who will continue to lead the country into bankruptcy and loss of sovereignty.
The polls mean little when the contenders are all the same.

Nathan said...

Hi Che,

It's about time I start folowing your blog! Still out of the country and need to keep informed and start thinking about Hillary or Obama.

On the topic of racial politics, I'd like to point you to a decent NYorker article on this, if you haven't seen it already. It brings up among other things the "Bradley Effect," the difference of what a voter will tell pollsters and how they actually vote when it comes down to voting for a minority.

Here's the link

and an excerpt below.

Saludos Ian!


"Of all the worrisome trends that reappeared for Obama in New Hampshire, the most vexing may be the potential impact of race. Pollsters are trying to determine whether he experienced the so-called “Bradley effect.” In 1982, when the African-American mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley, ran for governor, the final polls showed him with an average lead of eight points over his white Republican rival, George Deukmejian. And yet Deukmejian won, by a point. A similar phenomenon occurred in Virginia in 1989, when L. Douglas Wilder ran for governor against a white opponent, Marshall Coleman. He appeared to be leading by ten points but won by less than one. In both cases, white voters were more willing to tell pollsters that they supported the black candidate than they were to actually vote for him."

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