December 14th, 2007
09:06 AM ET
15 years ago

Poll: Black South Carolina voters now evenly split

Clinton and Obama are in a dead heat among black voters in South Carolina.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – The first post-Oprah poll of likely Democratic voters in South Carolina shows a toss-up between Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama among African-Americans in the state, although they see Clinton as the most electable candidate next November.

Clinton leads Obama by a statistically insignificant margin of 46 percent to 45 percent among black voters in the state, according to CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted December 9 -12. (The sampling error for black voters is eight percent, a larger number than the four percent margin in the rest of the poll.)

Former Sen. John Edwards comes in a distance third, with 5 percent.

Obama has made significant gains among African-Americans since earlier this year, when Clinton was buoyed by her higher name recognition and Obama remained largely unknown.

The Obama campaign has used their large grassroots organization and small community events in the state to register new voters and introduce Obama to African-Americans more familiar with Clinton.

About half of South Carolina’s Democratic primary-goers are African-American. Black women, who were a clear target of the Oprah rally here last weekend, make up roughly 30 percent of primary voters.

Black voters, asked which candidate has the right experience to be president, chose Clinton over Obama by an overwhelming margin of 72 to 17 percent. They also said, by a margin of 67 percent to 21 percent, that Clinton had the best chance of beating the Republican nominee next year.

Obama won kudos for running a positive campaign: 42 percent of black primary voters said he spends the least time criticizing other candidates. That number was 24 percent for Clinton.

Among white Democratic voters, 41 percent support Clinton, followed by Edwards and Obama, who claim 27 percent and 24 percent of the vote in the CNN poll.

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Ruth,derry,nh

    you are the expert on ignorance....

    FYI....stop picking fights and get a good therapist

    December 14, 2007 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. Gary,concord,nh

    Obama reminds me of the finer qualities of so many great presidents. Funny enough I thought three years ago that if a woman or a minority would have a shot at the presidency it would be Oprah. Now she may be the one who essentially is garnering all of that potential and passing it on to Obama. Good for her for finally taking a proactive role in the future leadership of our nation. Everything about Obama’s campaign makes me so proud of America. I think this Nation is at the advent of a period of greatness that seems almost biblical in its profound importance.

    December 14, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. ato,baltimore,md

    A “bad problem” to have Oprah’s endorsement? Are you kidding me? There can be no problem with an Oprah endorsement. It’s nothing but blessings, in my opinion.

    December 14, 2007 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  4. P Brown, OKC OK

    Monte Brown – you are one sad and weak brother and I am saying so as an African-American female.

    December 14, 2007 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  5. tim

    A bad problem regrettable but necessary: we are getting a little paranoid about Hillary and CNN.

    December 14, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. chris, cincinnati, oh

    To Monte in NY

    I am a black man who supports Obama not because he is black, but rather because I believe he is the best person for America. I will not waist time countering some of your opinions, but I will ask you not to insult my intelligence by suggesting that Black people only support Obama because he is Black. That implies we lack the mental and moral capacity to see past race and make an intelligent, informed decision that is not solely race based.

    Bottom line: you are entitled to your opinion, and I respect you for that. I just ask that you not disrespect other Black AMERICANS that may disagree with your choice for president by stating our primary reason for support is solely because he is Black.

    May God Bless You and America

    December 14, 2007 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  7. Amanda Orlando, FL

    Hilary is winning by name recognition only- and only in later states where she has not been actively campaigning.

    Notice the trend here. As Obama moves from state to state and voters actually see him, meet him, and hear him, his poll number skyrocket. And when that happens, the Hilary campaign lashes out and loses more voters. I predict that this will happen from state to state to state, just like it did in Iowa, then New Hampshire, and now South Carolina.

    December 14, 2007 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  8. Tere, FL

    With comments like yours "Clinton is blacker than Obama" I am now convinced that you have completely lost your head. i used to give you the benefit of doubt, you must be one sick person in need of therapy. There is still time though to see a therapist before Obama wins this nomination and then we can invite you to help him campaign against the Mike Huckabee

    December 14, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. Tom, New York, New York

    We democrats have played it safe for years. With our tails between our legs we have walked on to the political scene afraid to show support for our own platform, too scared to take a chance on success, and what has that brought us? Failure. Hillary Clinton has already failed once at trying to bring us health care, failed at doing whats best for our country during a time at war, and failed at keeping corruption out of politics. Yet, until recently she has been the lead candidate for the Democratic Party. Why? Because we see her as the safe bet. But if we continue doing things the old ways we will loose again. If not in the polls, then in a further divided nation that still cant get anything done. For the success of our party, and for all parties (republican, democrat, independent, whatever) its time to take a chance on success. Its time for a change. Its time for Barack Obama.

    December 14, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. Oh Havens

    Bill Clinton has stated many times before that when he first ran for president, he had the same experience that Obama has today but all you racist idiots voted for him. Now when just one black woman in the person of Oprah supports Obama, you turn the whole thing into racism. Haven't you seen previous black Presidential candidates that Oprah didn't support? If white people voted Clinton with this same experience and this is not racism how does Oprah's support for Obama now become racism? And for all you black people out there singing the songs of 'experience and qualification' go back to your little closets and list all the experienced presidents who have advanced your cause and then ask yourselves if you still want to be singing this song. If you starb Obama in his back today, not only will you be starbing your very selves but many black generations to come after you because the next black creature who imagines becoming a president will SURELY draw on the Obama experience and then hide back into his/her shell.

    Good luck to you...I am glad and proud not be an American!

    December 14, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. John New York, NY


    Part of me doesn't want to dignify your comment with a response, but you just said Barack Obama doesn't care about black people.

    His wife and daughters are black. So he doesn't care about his own immediate family?

    He gave up a high-paying job on Wall Street to move to the South Side of Chicago and work as a community organizer.

    Monte, I think your comments are so outrageous that you are actually hurting your own cause.

    December 14, 2007 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  12. Orlando, Chicago, IL

    Hey, Monte Brown,
    You nailed it with your commentary. I to am a Black American and solely feel Hillary will take us to the next level because of her tactics, awareness and fearless plan to make some warranted change in America. At this very moment we as Humans need to wake up and smell the coffee regarding the future of America. How many of you can say we still live in the land of the free and brave based on all the garbage happening within the Great US borders? None!!! So, looking at the presidential layout from a educated, responsible and realistic standpoing she fits the bill to get what we the people need to have done. To survive the 8yrs of damage created by a snailed brain commander sitting in DC.

    As for the Oprah syndrome factor, she is a human being not GOD so her impact should be minimal if you're an independent decision maker about your life.

    December 14, 2007 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. Glenn,Birmingham,Al

    Experience, did she hold office before 2000? She just seems weak to me. Takes anything people dish out.....

    December 14, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  14. Ito

    Is there any black person out there that seriously believes Hillary will do more for them than Obama? Hillary is not your champion, black people.

    Obama is a non-divisive person who appeals to whites and blacks. He is half black and half white, after all. Hence, a true symbol of what America should be, neither black nor white, but a mix that serves the best interest of all colors.

    Hillary is just an elitist white lady riding on the coattails of her husband.

    This is a huge moment in Black history and people who say Obama should take a back seat and wait his turn are being ridiculous. And dare I say afraid? Why not put a sign on the door to the white house that says, colord folk go to the back of the bus?

    But we are not just talking about supporting Obama because it is a huge moment in Black history. Civil rights comes before women's rights. Why? Because women are first people, then they are women.

    Unlike past black candidates, (i.e. Jackson and Sharpton), he may actually be a real and genuine person and not trying to "be" bigger than what he is or somebody he is not.

    Unlike Keyes (the little known black Republican candidate), Obama has a realistic chance of making it to the Oval Office.

    What if Obama were to die in th next four years. Would you still believe it was a good idea for him to wait and take a back seat on the bus to Hillary Clinton.

    The fierce urgency of now demands that we wait no longer. There is no good reason to wait.

    Hillary will divide this nation and she WILL NOT bring Republicans and Democrats together. She will not repair our nation's reputation in the world. She will sell us out to the highest bidder.

    December 14, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  15. Lunavendi, providence RI

    People vote with emotion all the time..not necessarily logic. If this weren't true, Bush never would have been elected. i think folks should vote based on what matters to them. if it's universal healthcare or ending the war or whatever. i think voting for someone because they are like you whether by religious or moral beliefs or race or gender is still a valid reason to vote. I don't think it's useful or helpful to degrade someone who has made up their mind to vote for a particular candidate just because you think they're voting for the wrong reasons. America is a complex country made up of different minded people. At least there is a recognition by everyone that this election is important and they SHOULD vote. Celebrate that. Bottom line is that the wheels will grind just as they have since the founding of the country whether your guy (or gal) wins or not.

    December 14, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  16. Jason Park, Duluth Georgia

    The fact is, Hillary created most of the problems she is now promising to change. She is just as responsible as George Bush for the misleading and mishandling of the Iraq war, and now she has given Bush the benefit of the doubt once again regarding Iran, who like Iraq, does not have the weapons we claim it to have, at least according to our best intelligence estimates. Her polarizing nature scuttled the chances for national health insurance for over a decade. The truth is that Hillary is a war-mongering hypocrite, who had a chance to prove real leadership in standing up to a war-hungry mob, and failed, MISERABLY. Why did she do it? Short-term political gain. People with beliefs stand by them through thick and thin, and don't just change them when it's politically expedient to do so. Politics is a performance business, and where it counted, she has already failed. Hillary Clinton says she's a leader, but on the big issues she is, as Obama said to Edwards in one of the first debates, "four years late in leadership on these issues."

    Obama has a proven history of a) getting it right the FIRST time, b) sticking to his convictions, and c) more importantly, bring together both sides of the aisle to achieve things, not just to posture politically in the hopes of getting elected.

    As McCain said, "we came to change Washington, and Washington changed us." Clinton is a perfect example. She is the quintessential corrupt, calculating , principal-less politician. Furthermore, there is no chance that republicans and independents will vote for her.

    The choice is clear. Obama will get things done, not just talk about them. It is time for a change, not potentially another war with Iran.

    December 14, 2007 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  17. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Christine –
    I'm surprised you would say that – is it more convenient to forget that Hillary polarizes the country?? There will be people who strickly go out to vote against her? I'm a Republican – if the race was Giuliani against any of the Democrats....a social liberal and fiscal conservative (a moderate) would get my vote – if we aren't smart enough to run him....and the Democrats are smart enough to run Obama – he will get my vote – along with 5 other Republicans I know – he is also driving the youth vote – the same voters who watch all the stuff on YouTube about HRC....I think the stuff that you just want to pretend doesn't exist...if you truly want to "win" – then look at what 70% of the voting population describe themselves as "moderate" – social liberal fiscal conservative – not if they described themselves as "Saul Alinsky Marxists" – HRC would be the candidate....they don't

    December 15, 2007 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  18. James, Lawrencevile GA

    It would be a shame for black America to vote on Obama just because he is black and because Oprah said vote for him. Black America should vote on the best candidate and it is not Obama. Hillary is the better candidate and has the most experience. The Clintons have been good for this country.

    December 16, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. Beth & Jeff Chicago, IL - HILLARY IN 2008


    She's the only one "can roll up her sleeves and clean up the mess" left by the GOP — NOT dreamer boy!!

    Or vote Biden or Richardson b/c God save our country if the newbie gets elected = who isn't even wise enough to realize what he DOESN'T KNOW yet; let alone play pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey in the Oval Office! He could have waited until 2012 or 2016. He's only 47, but he's such a baby that he's demanding to be King now 🙁 Sadly the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Senator Obama is certainly NOT!! AND Oprah should stick with her own life and hawking her Book Club (which she can't even get right all the time either).

    JUST SAY NO – TO OBAMA IN 2008 🙁

    December 20, 2007 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  20. Missy, NJ

    When can America get passed the racism. Enough Already! I like the saying of one psychologist on a program called "Meet the Faith: He stated, "you have white problems and black problems. The white problem is prestige and fitting into a particular class and the black problem is that we have the same degrees, same qualifications, various experience and hard working and still cant get a JOB!!!!!!!!!!!
    Why ??????? Because of the color of our skin!!

    January 4, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  21. LDL

    I am a black college graduate and an American military veteran. New Hampshire was an assumption waiting to happen. I often ask the question, "Who said Obama has a clean sweep for the Presidential bid?" I am not sold and I personally feel uncomfortable with his ability to lead our nation. You can't run this country without help. An outsider isn't the answer. A person with the ability to rally the Congress and Senate for the good of the Nation and then the world is the answer. Our best hope may just lie in Hillary Clinton. Why? She has one of the best mentors anyone could ask for. Bill...

    January 8, 2008 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  22. adnaw6

    the clintos's were impeached! how can we let them back in. they are one! once you are impeached, you shouldnt be let back in!(hello) God never intended for a woman to lead over men! its backwards period. and all hillarys experience tells how old she is, I want something fesh and new, new ideas, fresh ideas, bill clinton will have the whitehouse in another scandel sooner or later. and the blacks will turn around and vote for obama at the last moment in a presidental race if he gets the nomination, they dont see it happening so they vote for hillary. the clinotns were IMPEACHED! lets dont go back.

    January 11, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |


    January 16, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
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