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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Do black voters really support Hillary Clinton?

Thursday Update
Presidential Politics
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Do black voters really support Hillary Clinton?

Or is Barack Obama failing to speak to the issues that black Americans find important?

I guess I'm not the only black man not feeling Hillary Clinton right now. In a survey of 750 African Americans, sponsored by the AARP and conducted from October 5 to Nov. 2, Sen. Clinton was rated favorably by 83 percent of respondents, with 9.7 percent viewing her negatively. Sen. Obama received favorable ratings from 74.4 percent, with 10.1 percent viewing him negatively. But get this, the survey also showed a significant gender gap in Sen. Clinton's support among African Americans, with 86 percent of women giving her a favorable rating and seven percent unfavorable, compared to a 78 percent favorable and 15 percent unfavorable rating by men. Not a very high number but significant.

There is more, By a two-to-one margin in a recent poll black respondents said that "commitment to change" was a more important feature in a candidate than "experience in public office" – a view that could be seen as helpful to Sen. Obama's candidacy. But more respondents named Clinton over Obama as having the best position of the Democratic candidates on three key issues of concern – affordable health care (47.3 percent to 18.7 percent), strengthening Social Security (41 percent to 18.6 percent) and, by a narrower margin, on dealing with Iraq (35.4 percent to 22.1 percent). Check this out, in the same poll, When asked to name the single most important problem facing the country, the No. 1 answer was the war in Iraq, which was cited by 28 percent of respondents, followed by health care (20 percent), jobs and the economy (15 percent) and education (10 percent). None of the black voters polled identified taxes as the most important national problem; less than one percent named immigration and two percent said terrorism. Hello! Watch the C-SPAN News Conference: National Poll of Likely African American Voters [ click here]

Jessie Jackson was right when he wrote, "African Americans are brutalized by a system of criminal injustice. Young African Americans are more likely to be stopped, more likely to be searched if stopped, more likely to be arrested if searched, more likely to be charged if arrested, more likely to be sentenced to prison if charged, less likely to get early parole if imprisoned. Every study confirms that the discrimination is systemic and ruinous. And yet no candidate speaks to this central reality.

African Americans are more likely to go to overcrowded and underfunded schools, more likely to go without health care, more likely to drop out, less likely to find employment. Those who do work have less access to banks and are more likely to be ripped off by payday lenders, more likely to be stuck with high-interest auto and business loans, and far more likely to be steered to risky mortgages -- even when adjusting for income. And yet, no candidate speaks to this central reality."

My only problem with Jesse Jackson is that he endorsed Obama and has asked others to vote for him, without as Jesse even admits, him speaking to this central reality. Black voters concerns are now being covered by the media for a moment (see below), and no one knows how long that will last. Black bloggers have an opportunity to keep the pressure on the presidential candidates to answer questions. the afrospear has plans underway to do just that.

The Politics of Race and Gender

Race, gender come to forefront of presidential race - Fliers posted across campus summed up the thrust of their conversation: "Should you vote for Barack Obama because of your race, or should you vote for Hillary Clinton because you are a woman?"For some black women, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) embodies a strong leader who, if elected, could open doors for all women, black and white. They admire her intellect and political acumen. In some ways, they identify with Clinton because they see gender as more of a hindrance than race. For others, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) represents the ideal candidate. They like his intelligence and willingness to work across racial and party lines. They also identify with his wife, Michelle, an African-American woman from Chicago's South Side. They believe the presence of the Obamas in the White House would help shatter racial and gender stereotypes.Read More HERE

Every vote will count for Obama in the primaries. If anything, he needs his wife and Oprah on the HBCU campuses.

Oprah's a Winner. Can She Make Obama One Too? Washington Post - The news that Oprah will campaign for Barack Obama has been catnip for cable news.Is there anything more irresistible than the prospect of one of the world's most recognizable women campaigning for the opponent of another of the world's most recognizable women? Add into that mix the enhanced role of Bill Clinton as his wife's leading surrogate and the politico-celebrity meter can't get much higher. But there is a practical and potentially crucial political role for Oprah as she heads out on behalf of Obama. More than anything, Obama needs her help to improve his standing against Clinton among African American women voters -- especially in South Carolina, a state that could prove pivotal in the Democratic race if there is no decisive outcome from contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. More HERE

As I stated previously, Obama needs Oprah on the HBCU campuses, Youtube and Myspace. That is were she can make her best effort to sway new black voters. Oprah has great street cred's with whites, however, I'm not sure that her Oprah show cred's will turn into votes for Obama in the those sleepy southern towns were Oprah is nothing but another black.

Black voters focus on Clinton, Obama Chicago Tribune - In the eyes of black voters, Hillary Clinton has a slight edge over Barack Obama, her closest rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to a survey released Tuesday. "African-American voters are really only looking at two candidates," said David Bositis, a senior analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a think tank focused on African-American affairs that released the poll. "There is Hillary Clinton and there is Barack Obama. Really none of the other candidates exist in the realm that Clinton and Obama occupy." The New York senator was viewed favorably by 83 percent of black voters, compared to Obama's 74 percent. About 10 percent of those surveyed viewed Clinton and Obama negatively. The national survey, conducted between Oct. 5 and Nov. 2, asked 750 African-Americans who were likely to vote in primaries or attend caucuses about the presidential candidates and related issues. More HERE

If Hillary Clinton is going to keep her support with black voters she is going to have to keep her husbands face in her campaign ads, and stop talking like she is black when she is around black folks. More slip ups like that and she could blow it. she will be eaten up on Youtube trying to talk black again.

Black voters support Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama in poll - Daily News Washington Bureau - Black voters are betting on Hillary Clinton over her Democratic rival Barack Obama to fix Iraq, Social Security and health care, a new poll shows.On those three key issues cited as most important by the 750 African-Americans polled, Clinton's ratings are nearly double Obama's, the only black person running for President. She also beat him on overall favorability, 83% to 74%, according to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies poll."African-Americans think she's a more likely winner" in a general election, said pollster David Bositis. The survey showed Clinton beating Obama with her positions on Iraq, 35% to 22%, and Social Security, 41% to 19%. More than twice as many thought she has a better chance to enact health care reform than he does.Rudy Giuliani fared best among GOP candidates in the poll - though only 27% of blacks view him favorably compared with 42% who don't. More HERE

As I noted previously, I'm not sure that black voters support Hillary. They really support Bill Clinton and see Hillary as a two-for. They get two for the price of one vote. the question black folks must ask, is what are we really getting? What are the plans of Hillary to address our concerns? Let's face it Hillary screwed up voting for the Iraq war and she seems to have no plans for health care. the last time worked on a health care plan - well, we all know what happened.

Winfrey could help Obama draw women voters from Clinton CNN - In a move that may lead voters, particularly women, to take a second look at Obama, the talk show host will join the Democratic presidential candidate on the campaign trail December 8 and 9, Obama's campaign announced. Winfrey will join Obama during campaign stops in early-voting states Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the campaign said. More HERE

Only time will tell if Oprah can provide that added boost Obama needs with black female voters. My sense is, it will not be Oprah that needs to really speak to black women, it will be the candidate Obama who will need to speak to black women and the needs of the black family. Anything less, and it will be, unfortunately, see you in 8 years Obama.

PS: Let's not count out John Edwards, at least not YET.

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