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. Grif

    CNN needs to change their phrase "best political team in America" because they are NOT that at all! Everyone on the "team" has promoted Obama from the beginning. It has become disgusting! What absurd comments tonight like, "How did Obama do it....such an overwhelming landslide!" Perhaps the "team" needs to read this article to answer their question. Black voters voted for Obama! Duh.....Is anyone with a brain surprised at those results? And I'm so glad a reporter pointed out that Obama beat Hillary 2 to 1.......I suppose we as viewers can't do the math? When is CNN going to endorse Obama officially?

    January 26, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  2. Koss

    Its pretty sad to me that this has come down to white and black votes. This is not how Matrin Luther King would have wanted this. Dr. King not only had knowlwdge but experience that takes over any education. I am an African American and I will not vote for anyone because of the color of their skin but by the content of thier character and by what issues they are addressing to solve in America. Just as a Black Man time so is the time for a Women.

    May God Bless America and have Mercy.

    January 26, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  3. James

    Any one see the exit polls? Hillary on experience 83% Edwards 9% Barak Husein Obama 7%.

    You people really want a person totally lack of experience running this country in one of it's lowest points due to Bush and company.

    January 26, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  4. OMG

    South Carolina proves it! it is about race and come November if its Obama vs any republican, the whites will go more for a white republican than a black democrat

    January 26, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  5. Angie

    I am sick and tired of people acting like black people don't have a brain. I personally was disgusted by the Clinton's continued subtle use of the race card. Had I been in SC, I would have voted for Obama too. Before the sleazy tactics and win at all cost campaign that Hillary started, I was still undecided. The Clintons are responsible for alientating the black vote. They were so determined to label Obama the "black candidate" that they threw the black votes away. That showed black people, who previously held the Clintons in high regard, how much the Clinton's really cared about them. If you think Hillary has a better chance of winning a general election, your head is in the sand.

    NO Republicans will vote for her, she doesn't even have full democratic support, and the Independents will vote for McCain. Wake up America! Stop with the blind loyalty because you will give the White House to the Republicans on a platter.

    January 26, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  6. Jane

    Dar – what does "one of their own" mean.
    Did we not vote for Obama in Iowa. What, you think they did not see in him what we saw in him in Iowa?
    You need to get over yourself Dar.!!!

    January 26, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  7. BobW

    I find it offensive and insensitive to dismiss Obama's win as a windfall from black voters. How patronizing and very much in the tradition of Jim Crow and the old south! "Aw shucks, he's just a black man, of course them black people are going to vote for him". Do you really think that black people are not Americans or able to make informed decisions?

    Bill Clinton has already compared Obama's victory to Jesse Jackson as if to say that it was somehow not reflective of white American values and attitudes. I guess you can take the boy out of the south but you can't take the south out of the boy.

    January 26, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  8. Marsha

    I'm disgusted that this political race is being decided on "race." When over 82% of African American's voted for Obama, then you can't tell me that "race" did not play a role. I support Hillary because of her policies. I'd like to really quiz some of those voters on how well they know Obama's policies. Guess they don't care about healthcare. And he's out making speaches to crowds saying don't let them "bamboozle" us or "okie dokie" us. If this isn't playng the race card, I don't know what it. He might as well say go out and vote for me based on race.

    January 26, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  9. robert

    I don't know if anyone's campaign had race as an issue, but you can't say that race didn't count for the outcome of the SC primary. When you have 82 percent of an entire race voting for a candidate of the same race you can't turn a blind eye. I think it would be wrong if it was 82 percent whites voting for whites, or females voting for a female. I am ashamed that this great nation is still as polarized as it is in this great day and age.

    January 26, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    82% of black men voted for Obama. 79% of black women voted for Obama. Who's the racist? The blacks or the whites. Really, what is the probability that all of the 82% and 79% voted on issues. By the way, I am a minority, so I'm just calling a spade a spade.

    January 26, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  11. Tlc

    Being black is no more of an issue than being white is. Senator Obama had both all races and both genders voting for him in S.C., as he did in Iowa. While it is easy to dismiss his appeal as racial, it is not the case. His appeal crosses racial and gender lines. He appeals to those of us who want real work done to improve our nation and not just another term of the ineffective status quo.

    January 26, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  12. Cherie

    Wow DAR. I'm a white educated middle aged woman that supports Obama all the way. Are you from the south? us Northerners are a bit more educated.

    January 26, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  13. C. P. Georgia

    I am TIRED of media trying to polarize Obama as only winning South Carolina because of the Black people there. He appeals to all of us, not just Black people. I'd like to hear more reporting on him just as a person – not a color, same for Hillary as a person not a gender.

    January 26, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  14. Ray

    Hey..Jesse Jackson won SC right? Did he win the nomination? NO!

    January 26, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  15. C. P.

    I am TIRED of media trying to polarize Obama as only winning South Carolina because there are some Black people there, surely they didn't all go out & vote. He won – because, he appeals to ALL of us, not just Black people. I'd like to hear more reporting on him just as a person – not a color, same for Hillary as a person not a gender.

    Please drop the "black vote reporting" tactics this is 2008 not 1988

    January 27, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  16. 1Love

    Dar, I am confused – are you saying that because some one is black and you are black that I should completely rule out voting for someone that is black simply because I am black? Huh? Doesn't seem to have much logic to me.

    January 27, 2008 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  17. AJ, IL

    All of you Obama-haters ignore facts when it suits your purposes, sort of like the Clintons.

    This was a great win for Obama! Throwing race and gender aside, it is interesting when you look at the polling from November to January in all of the Democratic caucauses and primaries.

    Hillary led the entire Democratic candidate field in all the early states in November and earlier. In Iowa, Hillary had a 2 point lead over Obama in November when averaging all the polls. Actual Iowa result, Obama wins over Hillary by 9 points. In New Hampshire, Hillary had a 12 point lead over Obama in November when averaging all the polls. Actual New Hampshire result, Hillary wins over Obama by 2 points. In Nevada, Hillary had a 23 point lead over Obama in November when averaging all the polls. Actual Nevada result, Hillary wins over Obama by 6 points. In South Carolina, Hillary had a 16 point lead over Obama in November when averaging all the polls. Actual South Carolina result, Obama wins over Hillary by 28 points.

    When Obama's SC polling numbers were way behind Hillary in November, no one was talking about race or gender. Now that Obama wins in SC, Obama-haters throw out the race card and belittle his victory after Hillary was expected to win SC back in November.

    Obama in '08!

    January 27, 2008 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  18. John

    Haters of Obama tryn to say its b/c black ppl chose to vote for him, get over urself and shut up. CLINToN and OBAmA have pretty much the same Policies and stances on many issues, so its not that much about policy. CHARACTER is VERY IMP especially with black ppl. You can't lie to black ppl and use thosse devisive little smear tactics, most see thru it! AND you also can't TELL black ppl that they are stuck btw gender vs race bull crap, as well as getting BET?! (which we do not watch) chairman and some other random black ppl, put them on TV sayin they support hillary and bashing obama EITHER.

    CLINTons character showed really strong this last week, and guess what IT WAS VERY NASTY. Black ppl saw this as well as MANY whites and gave a loud and clear message: SMEAR TACTICS, AND SAME 'OL POLITICS WILL NOT WORK ANYMORE!!!!

    so get over uselvs and congratulate obama on a well earned victory.

    -OBAMA '08

    January 27, 2008 03:25 am at 3:25 am |
  19. anonymous_coward

    How come its never news that white people vote for white candidates?

    January 27, 2008 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  20. Cathy

    Watch now when Obama enters the white states, how he will let everyone know he is Half white!!! Such racism by black americans. When blacks can never let go, how do you expect the separation between the races to ever die down. Us against them, black v. white. I mean even cnn and the other jerks have to couch everything in these terms. Too bad for America.

    January 27, 2008 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  21. Lynn

    To poor Johiob, my fellow democratic citizens here in the state of SC finally got off the Clinton plantation today. Thank God!!! We did more for Bill and Hillary Clinton than they ever did for us. We voted for the lying, cheating man and what did he do, betray our trust and lied to our country and to his family. What a disgraceful person he is.

    January 27, 2008 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  22. Lynn

    Actually, I look at it this way, white South Carolinians are to racist to vote for anyone other than a white man or a white woman.

    January 27, 2008 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  23. Ginny CA

    Obama and Edwards are squarely to blame. In the first debate, when Hillary was leading, they came out swinging and attacked her like pit bulls. It wasn't until a half hour into the debate that anything close to an issue could be debated. Hillary was clearly there to talk issues, and the other two were clearly there to knock her off her front-runner status at any cost. And they got by with it. In the last debate, Obama started it when he made his cheap Wal-Mart shot at Hillary and she shot back with his Resko ties. Can't blame her if she refuses to be swift-boated by Barack.

    January 27, 2008 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  24. Alistar

    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.

    What shuld I say more to this? They just forgot what Bill Clinton deed for tham.

    January 27, 2008 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  25. rick

    okay i don't see what the big deal is here,, obviously black americans feel most comfortable with someone who looks more like them,, just like many white and latinos feel more comfortable with someone that looks like them,, that is not racial but personal preference,, it was not suprising that this would happen just as it was not suprising that it happened in N.H. and Nevada,, nor will it be any different when we look back after super tuesday

    January 27, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
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