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Politics

November 7, 2008

Obama Loses! (to Kerry among Whites in the South)

Though liberals had a lot to celebrate on Tuesday, not all is suddenly right (or wrong, depending on how you look at it) with America. (Nor will it be once Obama takes office, but that's another matter entirely.) Aside from gay-marriage bans passing in three states—including, surprisingly, California—and a gay-adoption ban passing in Arkansas, the most dispiriting aspect of the rather spiriting 2008 election comes from exit polls from the Deep South.

Obama Holds Rally In Charleston
See, the Deep South is still Deep Red Country, even though its states have the highest proportions of African-Americans in the country. That's because the higher the percentage of black people a state has, the more conservative its white population tends to be. (Kerry drew about 20% of white support from the five states with the most African-Americans, and more than 40% from the rest of the white American population.) While that's fine, what's worrying—and frankly smacks of racism—is that far fewer white people in these states voted for Obama than they did for Kerry, even though Obama outperformed Kerry among white voters in the rest of the country.

Gelf ran some numbers based on exit-poll data. Here's how Obama did in the three Deep South states—Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana—that have the highest proportion of African-Americans in the country, compared to Kerry's performance. (Note that Obama received 43% of the white vote nationally, while Kerry received 41%.)

Mississippi (36% black)
Kerry: 14% of white vote
Obama: 11% of white vote
Obama/Kerry ratio: 0.76

Louisiana (32% black)
Kerry: 24% of white vote
Obama: 14% of white vote
Obama/Kerry ratio: 0.56

Alabama (29% black)
Kerry: 19% of white vote
Obama: 10% of white vote
Obama/Kerry ratio: 0.53

Caveats: Obama outperformed Kerry among white voters in two of the next three most African-American states—Maryland (1.02) and South Carolina (1.11)—and tied him in Georgia. Exit polls have pitfalls and margins of error.

Still, it seems likely that many Southern white voters who were comfortable voting for Kerry couldn't bring themselves to vote for Obama. We're guessing that that's not because Kerry was a more appealing candidate.







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Comments

- Politics
- posted on Nov 09, 08
Southerner

"That's because the higher the percentage of black people a state has, the more conservative its white population tends to be." Ohhh, so that explains Alaska.

- Politics
- posted on Nov 09, 08
Southerner

"Still, it seems likely that many Southern white voters who were comfortable voting for Kerry couldn't bring themselves to vote for Obama. We're guessing that that's not because Kerry was a more appealing candidate."

Indeed, very depressing.

I thought we had come further.

- Politics
- posted on Nov 10, 08
Vin

Southerner:

While Alaska is hardly liberal, Obama did got 36% of the vote there - in a state with virtually no African-Americans. That a lot more than, say, heavily black Alabama.

Though I don't touch on this much in the post, my personal opinion is that, with some exceptions, states with middling black populations usually have the most liberal white populations. However, states with very few African-Americans tend to be less conservative than state with very large numbers of African Americans (witness Obama's relatively good numbers in places like MT and ND). As with any generalization, there are exceptions to this, but I think it mostly holds true.

- Politics
- posted on Oct 08, 12
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- Politics
- posted on Oct 14, 12
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