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. mark

    symphaty vote perhaps...

    January 26, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  2. girolamo

    Well like I didn't know who was going to win with the majority of Black in South Carolina. It isn't about Hillary ,and Obama it is against the news Media and the Clintons that is really making the race the way it is very unfair to the candidates.

    Why would you prays a candidate that hasn't done anything be a front runner unless the News Media help out the candidate . Remember bing the nice guy ins't alway the right guy?

    January 26, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  3. Mike Allen

    First BUSH, then CLINTON, then BUSH, then......... anyone but CLINTON! Please end the dynasty. Anyone but Clinton, ANYONE!

    January 26, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  4. Veronica

    Interesting gender findings–Clinton is seen as "less caring."

    There is loads of social psychological research out there showing that a powerful, strong, intelligent woman cannot also be seen as empathetic, no matter how empathetic she may, in fact, be. Strong, powerful, intelligent men are seen as also being empathetic. So this result is absolutely predicted by the gender bias we are all influenced by unconsciously, and has nothing to do with personality or behavior.

    If a woman behaves empathetically, research finds she is then seen as weak, less intelligent, and less powerful. Because we are all so influenced by gender bias, it is downright hard to see all these qualities together in a woman. Think about it. Watch your own responses. It's quite shocking!

    January 26, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  5. Liam

    One person, one vote. The American Citizens went to the polls today, and voted for Senator Obama by a margin of more than Hillary and Edwards combined. All votes are counted equally, and America needs to stop telling black people that their vote is lesser than a white person's vote. I, as a white person, am disgusted by the constant attempts to discount votes that are cast by black people. Shame on you.

    January 26, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  6. Liam

    One person, one vote. The American Citizens went to the polls today, and voted for Senator Obama by a margin of more than Hillary and Edwards combined. All votes are counted equally, and America needs to stop telling black people that their vote is lesser than a white person's vote. I, as a white person, am disgusted by the constant attempts to discount votes that are cast by black people. Shame on you.

    January 26, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  7. George from Minneapolis

    I pray for America's sake that American's are not as dumb as the Clinton's think they are. Thank God South Carolinans can think for themselves and saw through the Clinton's divisive message.

    Contrary to what the Clinton's say, Obama is not the black candidate, he is THE BEST CANDIDATE for ALL of American's.

    January 26, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  8. Todd

    Sad but votes seem to go to color. More blacks and Obama wins, more whites Clinton wins. This is the problem with Dem. Vote for the best one! Stop cnn on turning this into a race thing. This only helps the Republicans!!

    January 26, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  9. craig morris

    i'am glad obama won the sc primary.i live in iowa and i really don't like either of the clintons.i mean i like the comment someone said,about the fact that when mr,clinton president,i really thought to my self which clinton was in the oval office.

    i really hope she gets stomped by obama,obama for president.

    January 26, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  10. Jim G. Bethlehem,pa

    I cannot agree with Tracy more. I heard time and time again how Bill Clinton was playing the race card. It appears that the whites of Iowa and New Hampshire were able to overlook race moreso than the blacks of South Carolina. Don't get me wrong. I like both candidates. However hopefully for Obama the February 5th states don't vote along racial lines as South Carolina did..

    January 26, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  11. JAM

    Black voters overwhelmingly voted for the Black contender. It seems that in this country you are only allowed to be a racist if you are Black.

    January 26, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  12. tom, VA

    Read the exit polls its not race but CHANGE. 75% of the electorate stood with Obama for change believing he is best to bring change since he does not deal with lobbyists. Most of us that voted may be blacks but we reason too and want change for our healthcare and the economy, and we need to be FED. We need the change more than ever in America to make life good for every American BLACK or WHITE.

    January 26, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  13. Linda M

    Wow, did the CNN talking heads lose a backbone tonight? These people keep saying that Obama's win has cut across racial lines. HUH??? Are we looking at the same results? He won 80 percent of the African American vote, while Clinton and Edwards split 20 percent. Obama lost 75 percent of the white vote. Going by your own numbers, 50 percent of the voters were African American. Seems to me South Carolinian broke right along racial lines. Would the numbers have to be 100 percent before you will recognize the pattern?

    January 26, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  14. Renee, IL

    It is such a shame that we in America still discriminate against women when Hilary is working twice as hard to win in a man's world and the men dominated media along with the other women who are prejudiced against their own sex are fueling the fire . It should be a matter of pride that she is an intelligent woman who can really lead the world but we women are blind to it.

    January 26, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  15. Vickie in CA

    I think it is misleading to put so much emphasis on the fact that Obama received a majority of the African American vote in South Carolina. He won the majority of the white vote in Iowa and I know that was a great shock to many, but for me it was a stalwart moment in political history. For me it signified possibility. Not the possibility that "finally a black man may become president,"
    but the possibilty that people are finally moving beyond the color line. When whites voted for him in Iowa it is believed that it was because he was an "electible candidate". But now in South Carolina it is believed that the main reason for his win is because of his ethnicity. If there are whites who believe he is the right man for the job, then why is it hard to believe that there are blacks who vote for him for the exact same reasons?
    We are Americans, we know what issues we face as a nation. We are intelligent enough to make an educated vote when we participate in an election. If terrorists strike the US again, they are not going to be selective in their targets based on the color of skin. When the World Trade Center was destroyed, people from all walks of life were affected. We are one nation under God and it is time for us to move beyond the pettiness of skin color. It is time to let antiquated racial politics go the way of the horse and buggy and move forward with what is best for our nation. We are never going to be able to compete in the global economy as long as we continue to poison America with the fallacy of race. Think big America, think beyond enthnicity.
    Vickie in CA
    Moving Forward

    January 26, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  16. Jon

    Whatever criticism one might aim toward Obama after months of being probed and examined (are YOU pure enough to cast stones?), his capacity to mount a competitive campaign against the top two pop stars of the Democratic party in 40 years has been nothing short of miraculous. Here's the first black man to serve as Editor for the Harvard Law Review, who then turned down any number of lucrative positions with prestigious law firms to serve in the inner cities of New York and Chicago (a stellar background that's hardly mentioned in the media). And by most accounts, he's competing on a higher plane of integrity than our old friends the Clintons (anyone catch Mark Russell's critique on this last Friday's Newshour?). Hillary is an amazing woman, no doubt, who would probably be a hell of a manager in the White House. But the deep warmth of spirit I want in a President was betrayed the day she famously cold shouldered Obama in the Senate when her newest competitor tried to offer her a friendly hello. Our country, our children, our world–needs a truly inspiring figure in the White House, one with a heroically loving heart. Let it be so.

    January 26, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  17. Steve

    This might be the oddest and most dissapointing collection of comments I've seen here in some time.

    Very simply, the primary wasn't close, thus CNN called it quickly. So, Diane K., I suggest you relax.

    As for Meg, I'm not sure you actually made a coherent point anywhere in that post, but I'll reply to what *I think* you were trying to say. Of course only the Dems voted, it was the Democratic Party's primary. Also, to my knowledge, Repubs and Indy voters were able to vote today, so long as they didn't also vote last week in the Repub primary. Also, I fail to see why it matters that most voters were black. Is Clinton's victory in overwhelmingly white New Hampshire somehow rendered insignificant?

    Anyway, the Dems likely won't be settling on a candidate for sometime now, so I say everyone can settle down and take a breather before Feb 5th.

    January 26, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  18. Becky

    Nothing suprising here....CNN called this one about a week ago...way to go CNN!!!..you got your story I guess......nothing like making the news you are supposed to report...!!!!

    January 26, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  19. joe

    CNN should be ashamed on magnifying the Race issue...dont we have other issues to talk about....what about the fact that our economy is going ddownhill...is that important for CNN...I DONT THINK SO!!!

    January 26, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  20. Bob

    If you care about our whole country, and us getting past the division that is as much part of our current problems as any Republican decisions lately, the Clintons are clearly not the answer.

    Clinton Fatigue is real. I think they are bad for our country.

    A white male Democrat who is inspired by Obama and Edwards, but horrified by the Clintons and what they might mean for our country.

    January 26, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  21. Tiff

    I am amazed at how some of the comments posted state that people are upset about the results or that this is not much of a victory for Obama. He won over half of the votes from all democratic voters in an entire state! Clinton supporters love to hate! Hate doesn't look good on you all at all!
    OBAMA '08

    January 26, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  22. Paul

    This will only pour fuel on the fire and start a race war using votes as weapons.

    January 26, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  23. aisha


    January 26, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  24. l3wilso, Texas

    SC voted correctly.

    January 26, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  25. Anti Clintons

    Tracy, get a grip, The Clintons did use the race card and the people of Sc voted, get over it!

    Obama 08!

    January 26, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
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