Obama Set To Have A Good Night

CNN’s reporting directly after the polls closed in Mississippi is a little curious.  Usually you have one of two things; either the exit polls are so grossly skewed that the major networks project a winner based on exits alone, or they aren’t, and the networks sit on the exits for the most part as they wait for the results to come in.

CNN’s kind of walking the yellow line on this one tonight, saying that the exit polls are widely in his favor, just not quite enough to actually call it.

(Note: During the course of writing this piece, MSNBC has declared Obama as the winner of the Mississippi primaries.  We still need to see how large the margin is and what the pledged delegate net will be.) 

In general though, it would seem as though the polling leading up to Mississippi has held and Obama is poised to take in another state by a very respectable margin.  There will be more through the night as we learn more.

As I write this, though, I’m listening to David Bender’s broadcast on Air America, and there’s something that’s bothering me, and that is how he marks that a broad majority of Clinton supporters say they won’t support Obama in the General Election.  He has portrayed this as a major problem for Obama should he win the nomination.

And here’s something to take into consideration.  When we take a look at demographic breakdown in Mississippi, one thing that jumps right out in the face is that Obama has an uncharacteristically low approval rating among white voters.

Now, we have to sit and think on this for a moment.  It is true that among white voters, Obama has not performed as well as Clinton in some states, but especially in the more recent contests, Obama has made significant inroads amongst the white vote, enough to outright win the white vote in a number of states.

So what one has to do is understand that the Mississippi numbers are rightfully skewed.  These are not exactly what one might call representative of what’s going on throughout the rest of the nation.  This is made most obvious during what one could call low racially tense states, those states that have a low percentage of minority, more specifically African American, voters.

Obama has done quite will in states such as Iowa, Wisconsin, and Wyoming for instance.

So, introducing this idea as sensitively as I can, one can reasonably assume that Obama’s poor performance among white voters in Mississippi is a result of high racial tensions.  A little more bluntly, I don’t think anyone will accuse me of exaggeration in making the claim that Mississippi is at the heart of a culture of racism, and it is natural to expect the white populace to not be particularly amenable to a black presidential candidate.

I’m not pointing the fingers at one presidential candidacy or another, nor am I going to go on a bigotry rant which is very much my style.  I’m simply making the point that this is a dynamic that is not unexpected, and one that I don’t think extrapolates very far beyond the gulf states and the deep South.  Further, I don’t think that this significantly hurts Obama’s electability considering the fact that other states where such a dynamic may exist are typically very deeply embedded in Republican territory anyway.

The entire point behind all of this is that there are going to be those who are going to point to the exit polls in Mississippi and point to a new electability problem for Obama called racism.  This claim simply just doesn’t follow through.  Again, Obama performs very well in states that exhibit near homogeneous white populations, so I don’t expect the Mississippi model to extend too far out into other states, especially not states that are going to in anyway put in jeopardy his hunt for electoral votes.

In other news, Air America is reporting that Obama will win the Texas caucuses, and do so by a bigger delegate margin that Clinton won the primary.  In other words, after going a week as the loser of Texas, Obama comes up the big winner with a caucus win that awards him the delegate lead in the Lone Star state.

All in all, not a bad night for a candidate that the media seemed to be declaring on the decline as of March 5th.

4 Responses to “Obama Set To Have A Good Night”

  1. Alan says:

    Looking at the exit polls, it would appear that a good chunk of the white voters are Republicans voting for Hillary. That can explain the low percentage of Hillary voters saying that they would vote for Obama.

  2. Hmmm…. I thought Mississippi had a closed contest… Maybe I’m wrong. It gets a little tricky keeping track.

  3. Alan is right, Mississippi is open.

    I will repeat my mantra from this weekends discussion – Obama is fighting a proxy campaign against the GOP. If he wins the primary then he will have already defeated the worst the GOP has to throw at him. Take that to the bank.

  4. The problem with the exit polls from Mississippi: They didn’t poll in urban areas, where Mississippi is most racially diverse (and progressive.) On the other hand, they polled few people with incomes above $100k. So we’re looking at Mississippi from suburban and rural eyes.

    Our capital city is a highly diverse urban area, and none of my friends were approached by pollsters, saw pollsters, etc. Hinds county went 77% for Obama. It’s all about the narrative.

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