January 26th, 2008
07:24 PM ET
10 years ago

Exit polls: The role of race and gender

(CNN) - At first glance, South Carolina’s Democratic electorate seems to be polarized in exit polls Saturday. The candidate with the greatest white male support was the white man on the ballot. The candidate with the greatest support from white women was the white woman in the race. And black voters overwhelmingly voted for the African-American presidential contender.

But that doesn’t mean a person’s gender or race was a reliable predictor of how they would cast their vote. John Edwards didn’t capture a majority of the white male vote, winning the support of 43 percent of that demographic. And Hillary Clinton didn’t capture a majority of the support from white women, winning 44 percent of their votes.

Barack Obama, however, captured an absolute majority of the black male vote, 82 percent. And despite speculation that black women might be torn between Obama and Hillary Clinton, 79 percent of them voted for the Illinois senator.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Exit Polls
soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. shaunM

    Clearly...this is about race. Sad. Why can't people just vote for the candidate who they feel is the most QUALIFIED?? Rather than the color of their skin.

    January 26, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  2. Joe Sinchi

    The South Carolina voting was all about race, look at the exit polls… it has always been about race. Hillary will win most of the states on February 5th and Florida next week.

    January 26, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  3. Charles T, VA

    Bill Clinton shame on you. Obama won 25% of the white votes in SC of all places so your race baiting strategy failed. People are crying for a new direction and you are going to cost Hillary the nomination.

    The payback for your race baiting has just started bill, you wait for super tuesday because Obama will turn around your games and the American people seeing your tricks will hate you and Hillary for trying to take this country backwards because of your lust for power.

    And besides, Obama is White and Black so no race label will stick on him. I never knew you were so stupid Bill to give Obama this opening. Now watch Obama play uniter and talk more about his white mother and black father. Obama has fought this race battles years ago as kid and wrote about it in his book.

    Obama is neither black nor white he is human and a good one at that. You think he will hate his moms race or his fathers race?

    Don't worry Bill after Obamas nominattion we expect Hillary to give you divorce papers as agreed. I know I know she's supposed to wait six months before serving you. Look at the bright side you've been with her all these years so six more months won't kill YA.

    January 26, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  4. White Girl in Texas

    Get over it! I know people frmo all walks of life voting for Obama and so excited to see all of this happening for Barack Obama. Media, do you have anything else to talk about? Please! Aren't you suppose to promote PROGRESS and push towards what America as a whole needs!

    OBAMA 08!

    January 26, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  5. Annie, CA

    This simply points up the fact that unless we ALL go out and vote, one group will have a predominant effect on the results of any elections.

    January 26, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  6. ShockMeSC

    And this is a shock to who?

    Go Hillary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 26, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  7. Patrick From Minnesota

    Great job CNN...

    Way to report on a small amount of data. Very reliable news coverage.

    January 26, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  8. Cherie

    Hopefully the Politicians will realize that America isn't voting race or gender, but on the candidate him/herself. I do wish the stupid race/gender issue would stop being dragged up every 3 seconds. I'm not voting on race or gender. I wish the media would get a clue and the politicians. It is and would be historical if a female or a Black man would win. And we should be proud of that. But to keep focusing on it as the MAIN issue is wrong.

    Kudos to you South Carolina

    January 26, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  9. Jon

    This might not be a mandate for Obama, but it is a mandate for Bill Clinton to shut up and get out of this race.

    White voters 18-29 49% Obama
    Black voters 80% Obama

    These are the two groups the Democrats need to win a National Presidential election. People fail to understand – it's not that these people will vote for a Republican if the nominee is Hillary, they will simply not show up if they are not inspired. A democratic candidate simply cannot win a national election without these people showing up.

    Bill Clinton had the black and young vote in 92. Hillary is not Bill. Hillary Clinton cannot win the Presidential Election.

    If you want a Democrat in '09, vote Obama.
    Fired up, Ready to Go.

    January 26, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  10. Diane, Dallas

    Dateline: Crawford, TX
    January 26, 2008

    Karl Rove to Endorse Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

    In a surprising move today, Karl Rove announced that he will be throwing his support behind the establishment candidacy of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the junior Senator from the State of New York.

    “While we have historically been members of competing political parties,” Mr. Rove noted, “I have been extremely impressed by how clever Senator Clinton and her husband have been in adopting many of the strategies that I developed and perfected during my career of putting Republicans into office.”

    “They used to say the ends justify the means,” continued Mr. Rove. “I’m turning that on it’s head. I say, “if someone believes in your means, they probably share at least some of your ends.” That’s good enough for me. Besides, she voted for the war in Iraq and also gave us precisely what we wanted in the Iran vote so I think she’ll be a terrific addition to the Grand Old Party after the election.””

    Political observers who were contacted noted that while the move was surprising on its face, Senator Clinton has talked widely about her candidacy for change. “What better way to prove she’s a change agent than to bring the boogie man of the George Bush Administration over to her side,” said Jim Tussert of CN-NBC. “That’s quite a coup.”

    January 26, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  11. Matthew

    The white vote in South Carolina is not indicative of Obama's support throughout the rest of the country largely because of the higher racial tensions in this state. The Clinton's have been unable to portray him as the "black candidate" but they have made done an outstanding job of portraying themselves as the "white candidates", there is little doubt that fewer blacks voted for them due to that characterization while they tried to drag him down. Their ability to make that label stick to Senator Obama in other states where racial tensions are much lower is even less likely.

    January 26, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  12. NYC Democrat

    Dems, Obama is growing the party. Don't turn your back on it. See through the Clintons negative, angry campaigning. Grow the party. Vote Obama.

    January 26, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  13. Thick Americans

    It just shows that mosty voters are stupid – that's all they are only capable of voting down race or gender line – it shows how backward your country is.

    January 26, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  14. Charles

    Well, bhere's the well -projected Obama's problem (and Edwar' too): vast majority (80% +) of Obma' votes votes are black, vast majoriyty of Edwards voters are whiotes. The only candidate who got a share of whites and black simila toSC voters distribution is linton. And she'll proceed to the nomination.

    January 26, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  15. Tlc

    What would be helpful, to both the nation and the election is if respected new agencies, such as CNN, STOPPED REPORTING THIS RACE AS ONE OF GENDER AND ETHNICITY. It's beneath you. Women and minorities vote the issues just like everyone else. To imply otherwise, as Senotr Clinton and her husband have been doing all week, is racist. Stop it.

    January 26, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  16. Sarah Matthies

    I find it despicable that CNN is spending so much time discussing the role of race and gender tonight during the results of the South Carolina primary. Isn't this campaign suppose to be representative of this country rising above that? To narrow results based on "black" vs. "white" demeans the candidates as well as entire groups of people. To even insinuate that 82 percent of blacks voted for Obama because he too is black belittles both the black community and the candidate. Mr. Obama has never run as the "black" candidate, and to spend so much time talking about race plays directly into the Clinton motive of the past two weeks. I'm embarrased for CNN.

    Senators Obama and Clinton should be, and I believe are, being judged on their platforms and their character by the people. Perhaps the media should join suit.
    Meanwhile, I'm changing the channel.

    January 26, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  17. shaun

    This is cnn still trying to keep race apart of the election by saying obama didn't get a good portion of the white vote. Obama actually performed very well with whites, but hillary didn't get the white vote she needed, they actually gave barack a sizable amount of votes...please cnn, be acurate, and leave the race crap out of it...

    we need change, we need obama, but if cnn has anything to do with it, hillary and her divisiveness will win out....

    January 26, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  18. Jim

    Why is Bill Clinton stating that Jesse Jackson won South Carolina? Wasn't that a caucus? Are they trying minimize the win of Barrack?



    January 26, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  19. s.positive

    as usual trying to box people into groups of race, gender and so on while the real paradigm shift continues...

    January 26, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  20. bj agnes

    When the media says the campain is over is when its over. Media controls everything.

    This is not a campain of whos the best its a black and white issue. It has been a black and white issue since Opra showed her face. It s to bad. Everyone knew who was going to win in South Carolina,So Obama winning is no great suprise to anyone. Get over it and go on.

    I say we all vote the same day all 50 states and no Caucases.

    January 26, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  21. Andy

    What does it say about the black voters? yeah, expect objectivity from them.

    January 26, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    This is a very sad day in America. South Carolina showed that they still believe in race as a legitimate entity. How can we get rid of race as a factor in our society if African Americans keep holding a torch up for being black? Thomas Jefferson's statement in the Preamble does not hold up 200 years later, because according to African Americans all men/women are NOT created equal. SAD....Our country will not move forward this way. This will inevitably create division and animosity among the American people. I, for one, will not vote based on race or gender, but on qualifications, skill, knowledge and leadership. Good luck and God bless us all.

    January 26, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  23. Cathy

    As a white woman who adopted a black child, I am so sick of how the media and in my opinion the Obama camp, and the people of SC have followed suit making this about race. If it was no so, he would not have won by such a margin compared to the other states that have voted, and the Florida polls which are so different. Why can't we get to a day when I don't have to say "African American" male or female, and just say a men or women period!!!

    January 26, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  24. Martha

    This is a crock of crap for CNN to put up such untruth similar to those mouthed by people like Bill Clinton.
    People of all color voted overwhelmingly for Obama. Bill was the bad child in the area
    and continues to mischaracterize the people in SC.
    "They are getting votes, to be sure, because of their race or gender. That's why people tell me Hillary doesn't have a chance of winning here," former President Clinton said at one stop as he campaigned for his wife, strongly suggesting that blacks would not support a white alternative to Obama.
    This man is so divisive . Go away Bill Clinton.

    January 26, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  25. Melvin, Chapel Hill, NC

    I have heard Barack won because he is black.

    And yes, Jesse Jackson did win this SC.

    Al Sharpton did not.

    Nor will Alan Keyes.

    Everyone but Edwards recieved diverse demographic support doing this primary.

    Lets keep that in mind. This is not about race, nor gender.

    Now we, as a nation, can get back to the issues and take each candidate as an individual.

    America '08

    January 26, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
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