January 16th, 2008
10:51 AM ET
12 years ago

Potentially troubling news for Clinton in Michigan 'win'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/15/art.clintonmichigan.ap.jpg caption=" Clinton won less than a quarter of support from black voters."](CNN) - Hillary Clinton faced a grim statistic in Michigan Tuesday night, despite her primary "win" there: results revealed that she may have reason to worry about her grasp on the African-American vote.

The Michigan primary vote was essentially meaningless: the national party stripped the state of its delegates because it held its contest too early in the election season, and Clinton was the only major Democratic contender whose name appeared on the ballot.

Even so, roughly 70 percent of Michigan’s African-American voters - a group that makes up a quarter of Michigan’s Democratic electorate - did not cast their votes for Clinton, choosing the “uncommitted” option instead. Yet these voters weren’t uncommitted at all: in fact, according to CNN exit polls, they overwhelmingly favored Barack Obama, whose name did not appear on the ballot.

Had Obama’s name been on the Michigan ballot, CNN exit polls show that he would have won an overwhelming 73 percent of the African-American vote, in contrast to 22 percent who say they would have voted for Clinton under those circumstances. If South Carolina’s large African-American community votes as Michigan’s, Hillary may not be feeling much ‘southern hospitality’ in that state.

Related: Blacks, youngest voters choose 'uncommitted' over Clinton

- CNN Political Producer Alan Isenberg

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (738 Responses)
  1. JR

    Obama hasn't brought up race. Hillary made an error in talking about MLK Jr. and LBJ, and then made it seem like she was under attack, but it wasn't Obama pointing out her mistake.

    Why is it an error to state the facts?

    January 16, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  2. Rick, Maryland

    Let's face it, a vote for Obama is a vote for at least 4 more year's of
    a Republican in the White House any way you slice it.

    January 16, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  3. Ro

    I find it very interesting that this whole race issue has surfaced,,,,,and that the obama people claim it was clinton who started it all,,,,,,,,I believe it has always been a race issue,,,,,as evidenced by the backing of Oprah Winfrey, when by her
    own admission she has never backed nor publicly supported a political candidate, are we led to believe its only a coincidence that she goes to such lengths to support and back the first "black" candidate???

    January 16, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Matthew D

    Seriously folks, if people are going to vote because of color, gender, or religion, as opposed to issues, they might as well keep their ballots. It should not be about popularity or looks;it should be about who will do the best and fairest job for the American people. I guess it doesn't really matter. Our American system of government is broken, no matter what you think, these people only partially represent "you" at their best anyway. The future is scary.

    January 16, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. Greg, NY

    Ray 4 Hillary! January 16, 2008 1:37 pm ET

    ***Greg, NY

    STOP!!! Its kinda sad that Obama supporters did not show up more to STOP Hillary then Right? And who is to say more Hillary supporters did not sure up themselfs. SPIN SPIN ALL YOU WANT. Hillary was the true winner last night!!

    Ummm no? The primary meant absolutely nothing, no delegates will be assigned, so why would anyone bother going to vote if their candidate wasn't on a ballot.

    As someone stated above, only 7% of registered Democrats showed up at the polls. Only 20% of Michigan's registered voters showed up to vote for EITHER side. You think that's significant enough to call a win for a candidate?

    January 16, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. California voter

    So I guess African Americans would vote overwhelmingly for an African American male? Wonder what would happen if it was an African-American female? What is the point of this spin, especially since the value of polls can be highly suspect? By the way, don't African Americans represent something like 13% of the US population and Hispanics about 14%.

    January 16, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. david

    Clihton left her name on Michigan's ballot.Obama and Edwards did not. They chose to attempt to win Michigan without showing any concern that the primary
    in Michigan is very important the voters in Michigan.

    January 16, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. carol

    Dave – I am a white, 57 year old woman who started working to feed my parents family of 6 kids when I was 15 years old. I have never stopped giving money and helping to support everyone. I paid for my own braces, post graduate education, raised a child by myself that graduated from USC, and take care of my mother 24/7. Oh yeah, I'm the top Sales Person in my National Company. I am fat, wrinkled, tired and have 2 missing molars that I haven't had time to get fixed. No body was there to do for me, I had to get off my butt and do it for myself. Stop asking what will somebody do for me, ask what can I do for myself.

    January 16, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. Julie

    Okay...now I am really upset with the misleading information that has been written and posted by CNN! Now the headlines read that Michigan could be troubling for Clinton because as CNN states "...73% of blacks voted for Clinton while only 22% would have voted for CLinton." Get the facts STRAIGHT!!! I watched it all last night and a correspondent said while Clinton received 53% (approximately )or more of the vote in Michigan about 45% were uncommitted. Of that 45% (approximately) of uncommited voters is where the 73% and 22% come in!!! CNN...you make it sound like Hillary would have lost BIG TIME. When in fact, she still would have taken that state even with Obama on the ballot because she still receive 53% of the votes from registered democrats! As an educator in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, I am offended by the fact that CNN, a highly televised and credited political tracker, provides readers with misinformation. Are you trying to sabotage Clinton to the uneducated, hard-working Americans that may not be able to understand your rhetoric??? Shame on all of you! As for where I stand...Hillary as President, Obama as Vice-President. Anything else...our country is in REAL trouble!

    January 16, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. sunnyday

    My opinion is that there is not a slight comparison to MLK by Obama; MLK united his people and gave them freedom to hear their voices in America. Obama tactics, in my opinion, are to divide and conquer. He might be ready in eight years, experience is a great teacher.

    January 16, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. Kyle G. Columbia SC


    At first I took it as another, yawn, white rip-off of black culture and creativity: the Rolling Stones appropriating the Bo Diddley beat, Bo Derek sporting corn rows, and now Hillary giving Lyndon Baines Johnson credit for the voting rights act of 1965. If you had to give this honor to a white guy, LBJ was an odd choice, since he'd spent the 1964 Democratic convention scheming to prevent the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party from taking any Dixiecrat seats. By Clinton's standards, maybe Richard Nixon should be credited with the legalization of abortion in 1972.

    But Clinton's LBJ remark reveals something more worrisome than racial tone-deafness – a theory of social change that's as elitist as it is inaccurate. Black civil rights weren't won by suited men (or women) sitting at desks. They were won by a mass movement of millions who marched, sat in at lunch counters, endured jailings, and took bullets and beatings for the right to vote and move freely about. Some were students and pastors; many were dirt-poor farmers and urban workers. No one has ever attempted to list all their names.

    There's a problem too, of course, with the conventional abbreviation of the Civil Rights Movement into two names – Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. What about Fannie Lou Hamer, who led the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party's delegation to the 19464 convention? What about Ella Baker, Fred Hampton, Stokely Carmichael and hundreds of other leaders? The Great Person theory of history may simplify textbook-writing, but leaves us with no clue as to how change actually happens.

    Women's rights, for example, weren't brokered by Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem over tea. As Steinem would be the first to acknowledge, the feminist movement of the 70s took root around kitchen tables and coffee tables, ignited by hundreds of thousands of now-anonymous women who were sick of being called "honey" at work and excluded from "men's" jobs. Media stars like Friedan and Steinem did a brilliant job of proselytizing, but it took an army of unsung heroines to stage the protests, organize the conferences, hand out the fliers, and spread the word to their neighbors and co-workers.

    "Change" is this year's Democratic battle cry, but if you don't know how it happens, you're not likely to make it happen yourself. A case in point is Clinton's 1993 "health reform" plan. She didn't do any "listening tour" for that, no televised town meetings with heart-rending grassroots testimonies. Instead, she gathered up a cadre of wonks for months of closed-door meetings, some so secretive that the participants themselves were barred from bringing in pencils or pens. According to David Corn of The Nation, when Clinton was told that 70 percent of Americans polled favored a single-payer system at the time, she responded sarcastically with, "Now tell me something interesting."

    She could have gone about things differently, in a way that wouldn't have left 47 million Americans uninsured today. She could have started by realizing that no real change would come about without a mobilization of the ordinary people who wanted it. Instead of sequestering herself with economists and business consultants, she might have met with representatives of nurses' organizations, doctors' groups, health workers' unions, and patient advocates. Then she could have gone to the public and said: I'm working for a major change in the way we do things and it's going to run into heavy resistance, so I'll need your support in every possible way.

    But she did it her way, and ended up with a 1300 page plan that no one, on either side of the aisle, liked or could even comprehend – proving that historical change isn't made by the smartest girl in the room, even if she shares a bed with the president. Similarly, she ignored the anti-war movement of this decade and alienated untold numbers of Democratic voters, feminists included.

    I'd like to think that Obama, with his community organizing experience and insistence on firing people up, gets it a little better. But whoever is elected president this year, there won't be any real change in a progressive direction without a mass social movement to bring it about – either by holding the president accountable or by holding his or her feet to the fire. And a mass social movement doesn't begin at the top. It begins right now, with you.

    January 16, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. Kathie in Arkansas

    Please tell us how CNN knows how any one African-American voted or didn't vote yesterday. The Democratic debate last night sent a resounding message to the tabloid media, CNN included, that there will be no race or gender baiting in this campaign. So today CNN dares tell the nation how African-Americans voted? Why exactly is CNN so afraid of Hillary becoming president?

    I am completely disgusted, do I have to watch FOX now to get "fair and balanced" news?

    January 16, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  13. matt

    But this is about race for a lot of people. I hate to say this but being a white male i hear a lot of 'other' white guys (i live in the mid-west) who say they would not vote for Obama...because of that and laugh it off. I would rather support a canidate that will be elected on merit. Hillary is the only choice we really have to hold the democratic party together and keep a republican out!

    January 16, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  14. Leniere

    First – I find this entire process of electing a president or anyone for that matter incredibly frustrating. Candidates – on both sides – will say whatever they need to get elected. New outlets will say whatever they need to say to make sure they have viewers. After each election there is this pseudo self reflection phase during which newsies briefly consider the impact their coverage have on the campaign.

    Second – there is simply too much coverage on hypothesis: "this is what we think will happen" etc.

    Third – the spin is so obvious now. News outlets should be mindful that consumers now have numerous resources from which we can pull our information. Several news outlets showed tiny snippets of speeches while simultaneously reporting on the negative characterizations from those who are against Clinton. I think more than being anti Hillary, it seems that CNN and others want a juicy story. Showing the entire clip and telling the story objectively would have killed the speculation that after all these years we've just now learned that the Clintons hate black people. Hillary and her husband would have to be stupid to have made statements in the way that has been suggested by some. For better or worse, one thing folks can't accuse them of is being stupid. If this mis-characterization was an effort to swing my black vote to Obama – then note that it didn't work and is downright insulting to my intelligence.

    Fourth – Barrack Obama is a sexy candidate. Not in terms of looks, but in terms of what he represents. Let's be very clear, the last black candidate for president didn't leave very large shoes to fill. Barrack Obama is a fantastic speaker. The fact that he is black and can articulate a thought is striking enough for some. It's not enough for me. He is a brown care bear with rainbows leaping from his chest. I need more. Something to chew on. I never get that from him. He's gotta come harder than this "change" garbage.

    Safe, Healthy America '08.

    January 16, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. gee

    From what I can see, the republicans are laughing out load in their mind. Balcks appear to be polarized and Abama will not beat whoever they field in the general election come next year.
    Personally I prefer the republicans but that is neither here nor there. As a black person I think this race is creating a division between black and white. Not to say that Abama is not capable of becoming the president, I just think it not the right time for him. Running against Clinton is not a good idea. We know Clinton history with black people and we must agree, it is good.

    January 16, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. John

    Hillary is the poster child of the gender card. We saw her whining about how the big bad men were picking on her so she could cry and appeal to middle aged women after she wiped that goofy (honestly!) grin off her face and teared up. Senator Obama himself never uses the race card but racists and bigots and conservative cronies call him a racist, Muslim (wrongly I might add–read the Audacity of Hope before you open your mouths) and unpatriotic. And I heard this garbage in Iowa yet he still won! And yet he has outdone expectations.

    Thank God that people of all races, creeds, and religions are fed up with the cynical, ever-watchful presence of the Big Brother formally known as the Bush administration. We need a government that we can trust who will change us for the better. I am tired of the cowards and the neocons who betrayed their own philosophy to create the FEMA monster and a trillion dollar war over a country that we gave WMD to but then destroyed that potential and then mysteriously forgot about it.

    January 16, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. ohioian

    Oprah lost all credibility to me and i will never watch her show again!

    January 16, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  18. News

    Obama – not only is the church he attends is racist, and double standards are very high with him, but most DISTURBING is look on yahoo front page where New Jersey white man gets fined fo saying the "N" word?

    So I guess free speech is done and RAPPERS will ALL BE FINED?

    January 16, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  19. Speak up

    i can't believe some are trying to spin a NON ELECTION.

    HEEELLLLOOOOO FOLKS. None of this means squat. This election didn't count. People didn't show up to vote. Some showed up and voted for Republicans as activists asked. Some voted for Kucinich because he was one of the only others on the ballot.


    Trying to spin a non election is hysterical.

    John Edwards, not symbolic, REALY CHANGE for REAL ISSUES!

    January 16, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  20. Paulie

    Forget the percentages. The fact is that Hillary (vote total: 328,151) received more votes than McCain (vote total: 257,521) and almost as many as Romeny (vote total: 337,847) DESPITE not spending any time or money in Michigan.

    January 16, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  21. Misty

    Ah! here we go again! People– the media is horrible in math and interpretations. Think! If Barack or John Edwards name was on the ballot– more than half the epople who voted for Hillary in Michigan (no delegates) would have voted for Barack or John– The ones who did not vote are not all African Americans– or does it matter.
    As a democrat I will vote for any of these. They are all good people. Barack is good and he is also the Best. So lets hope we forget this non-sense of Women President, African American President, Good old White President and THINK:


    We need to quit dividing people by color– I feel like we are in a zoo and herded according to our appearances-

    January 16, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  22. matt

    but this is about race. i live in the mid-west and I overhear white guys at the gym feel safe, (i am white), and say that they will vote republican before they vote for Obama. We need a canidate that can keep the democratic party together and keep a republican out of office. Hillary is our only choice.

    January 16, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  23. Cesar

    I can't believe people can't see how much the republicans want Obama to win. They know he is less electable than Hillary. That is why Karl Rove offered gratuitously advice to Obama on how to beat Hillary. I believe it is the reason of the "made-up" polls and twisted numbers all against the favor of Hillary Clinton. If the republicans believed Hillary was trully unelectable they would shut up about her.

    The republicans count on that invisible current in this country, made up of those who profess diversity, fairness, gender and orientation equality, only for the public eye.

    Obama would lose to any republican.

    January 16, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  24. Yahoo Front Page

    Obama becoming the next president will further split and create more double standards as he attends but a high racist, separate church.. Why doesn't this get heard?

    Double standards and what Obama will do? New Jersey man is fined for saying the "N" word? Yes bad, but WILL ALL THE RAPPERS NOW BE FINED?

    Here's to our new president (obama)...

    January 16, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. HoleinOne402

    I must be missing something. If Hillary wins the big states she is supposed to-New York and California in particular, even with numerous second place finishes she will easily gain enough delegates for the nomination. All the new focus on little states such as Iowa may be interesting but won't measureably influence the nomination.

    January 16, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
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