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. FJ Stratford

    This goes to show that most of the Democratic electorate are NOT racist and wont be swayed by racial bating from any corner.

    I wonder if the Republicans are as race-neutral as most of the Democratic party is.

    January 26, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  2. morris

    obama is the best of both world his from a black father and a white mother his mum is as white as your mum. the clinton got what they asked campaigning base on race

    January 26, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  3. Ken, San Diego, CA

    Obama gets 80% of the black vote.
    Obama gets 25% of the white vote.

    Whomever said that voters in South Carolina did NOT vote with race being a major influence is not being honest.

    January 26, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  4. morgan ehana

    why putting so much big thing about south carolina.

    January 26, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  5. magda

    this is what bill maher called last night "the blacks went OJ on Obama"...they will vote for him no matter what...this is it for him....he and clinton earned the same number of delegates on the state he was supposed to WIN...bye, bye obama...on feb 5 he is so toast...

    January 26, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  6. Kima

    We did not play the race card. We as black people or African American are stating that this has nothing to do with race but it has to do with change a positive change, we are tired of the same old cramp. Don't roll the dice on my life to benefit your friends and family we has a nation want change. This is not about race and shouldn't be about race. And I am a African American woman.

    January 26, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  7. johiob

    What is obvious is that Blacks overwhemely voted for one of their own-Obama. Blacks voted for person of their race despite their their long history with the Clintons. I am sadden that majority of my fellow blacks could not set race aside.

    January 26, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  8. nick

    Hey I guess the only fairytale was Bill Clinton not being impeached and imprisoned for lying under oath! lol
    By the way I am white and who cares!

    Come on America is not about race as much would love to credit it too, but rather based upon change, and that change can be brought on from Obama, I only see one chance, and I am willing to give it to Obama, not the lying clintons, funny they seem to have alot in common with the bush family!
    GO OBAMA 2008

    January 26, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  9. hillabeans

    CNN and the pollsters are keeping the race card alive.I guess it sells papers as they used to say.All polls should be Illegal.I thought we learned that early on but people are so dumb.

    January 26, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  10. TGillotte

    Black people are going to vote for obama simply because hes black, end of story, anyone who supports abortion shoudlnt be even running. Thats why this world is in the mess it is in. We have killed 45 million americans to abortion, whos going to pay for social security when you get old? No one! They are all DEAD!

    January 26, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  11. Dan Curll

    Please complete your moderation of my 7:54PM comment.

    January 26, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  12. muggs

    I'm wondering why CNN showed all the elements in the exit polls on TV except female gender voters. I heard some discussion regarding male voters but not word one about female voters. I am a little disturbed that they seem to be cutting out of the picture. If dissing African Americans makes one lean towards Obama, dissing women makes me lean towards Clinton. Decisions, decisions...

    January 26, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  13. Susan

    Hey give the African American community some credit..do you think maybe they voted for Obama because he was the best candidate..how many times have whites voted for a white guy for president and their choice is not regulated by race. I think alot of people from all races and genders woke up and saw the Clintons for what they really are....I think the Blacks realized they no longer had to pay homage to Bill and Hillary Clinton.

    January 26, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  14. 1Love

    I find it most interesting that the most simplest explanation exists for Obama's victory. Maybe the voters felt that he was most qualified. I do harbor thoughts that someone could be qualified regardless of physical attributes and that the public would accept that.

    January 26, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  15. Ann Jones

    Unfortunately, both Obama and Hillary Clinton will continue to cater to the corporate interest at the expense of the majority of the American people, despite their rhetoric. Talk is cheap, but when most of their campaign money comes from corporations, they are going to be controlled by the corporate interest. The only reason Obama won in South Carolina was because Oprah campaigned extensively for him and over 50% of the South Carolina voters are black!

    January 26, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  16. Mary

    johiob I totally agree with you and I am African American. Even though I don't support Obama, mainly because I haven't heard what he stands for and I feel he's not experienced enough to run this country. In the long run this high showing of black support makes it look like he won because of race will not pay off in the long run.

    January 26, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  17. Jeffim, Miami, Fl

    Thanks SC and the Media!
    you pretty much showed that racism (especially reverse) racism is well alive.
    i guess you know what it means when the rest of the country with majority of white population is going to vote on Super Tuesday.
    Jackson won a few states in the South as well. however, he failed to get the whites on board.
    enjoy the victory. i'm afraid it's the last one you'll get.

    January 26, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  18. Eowyn

    I live in Florence SC which is an area that was predicted to be an area of high African American votes. Locally, everyone here is voting based on where they stand on the issues. The only people putting a focus on race in this primary are the media. I have yet to find one person that specifically voted based on race. I find it deeply disappointing that as a multiracial female, in a 'blended' marriage, that all CNN can focus on for the past 2 hours is race. There is so much more to talk about regarding this SC primary. SC voters think broader than given credit for and are smart enough to base their voting decision beyond race. The CNN panel and correspondents can spin race; but were correct in their comment that they perhaps are overemphasizing race in this primary. Let's keep in mind Obama also won Iowa. How can we move on from race if we can't take the focus off of it? CNN and other stations that are stuck on 'black and white', need to shift their focus.

    January 26, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  19. Dar

    Your head is in the sand ...if you don't think RACE is an issue getting the presidency! Blacks will vote for one of their own.
    Too bad!

    January 26, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  20. Bev

    When they know they are sinking....then they bring up race and gender. Come on Clinton's.......play this on a balanced stage. Obama has you by the garter belt....admit it....play politics and leave the fear factor out and by the way, keep Bill at home and you might have a fighting chance Hillary.

    January 26, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  21. Jay

    Dirty Dealings...The Race Card

    When Hillary won the New Hampshire primary, no one not even Old Bill nor Hillary's surrogates insinuated that Hillary won because of her race. If you do recall, New Hampshire is a predominantly white state. However, as the South Carolina primary approached, the issue of race-black,white-became a hot topic even among members of the media. And the Clintons do not plan to get off this bandwagon anytime soon as they think this tactic would win them the Democratic nomination and eventually the white house. What a dirty way to play the Race card in the "United States"!!!

    January 26, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  22. independent thinker

    Quit looking at RACE people! You should be looking at who will be the best president nominee. Out of the three democrats, Obama is best.

    By the way, when Obama gets more votes than Clinton and Edwards combined, that should tell folks who voters are going for. When Obama gets more than 150 thousand more votes than Hillary, that should tell folks who voters are going for.

    And the voters aren't going for Hillary.

    January 26, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  23. Deana G. Robinson

    I feel very offended with the statement earlier of comparing white voters against black voters during the South Carolina primary. Racial comparing in this country is what holds USA from others and make us a laughing stock! Was there a racial comparison in Iowa? No, I don't think so!

    January 26, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  24. Sam

    The comments in this post are disgusting... the people of SC voted for change. They voted to end the Clinton/Bush dynasty. Obama also won with young voters. And the article fails to mention that a lot of Edwards' support comes from his BEING FROM SC.

    Obama is the man that can end this crap.

    January 26, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  25. Jean

    I'm a black woman voter from SC. Don't believe the rhetoric, Tracy. In the SC results I see something totally different...all people...white, black, latino, male, female, young and old expressing with their votes that we can work together as one to change America. I hope that the nation builds on this consensus as the Obama campaign moves forward to the rest of the country.

    Now, if the media would stop portraying it in racial terms we might make some progress toward that end.

    January 26, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
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