Monday, May 5, 2008

Race and the Democratic Race

As I noted in an earlier post, the Democratic contest has been cast in terms of a White-Black racial divide and a blue collar-white collar class divide. In this post I will show you that while little mention has thus far been given to the voting patterns of other ethnic groups during this contest, the evidence suggests that members of other ethnic groups appear no more disposed to vote for Obama than are White voters. The inescapable conclusion is that Barack Obama's electoral base is incredibly narrow while that of Hillary Clinton's cuts across all ethnic and gender groups with the exception of Black voters.

To make this analysis, I have used the same exit polling data used in a previous post but have extended the analysis to every state (with the exception of Michigan and Washington State) that has thus far held a primary as of this post's date. For the state level data, I have used election data from Dave Leip's website. I have used CNN's website for exit polling data. Exit polling data is available for all primaries with the exception of the District of Columbia. Actual election results across the 29 primaries, excluding Michigan and Washington State, thus far suggests that the contest thus far is overall astonishingly close:

Obama 14,632,409 50.01%
Clinton 14,624,325 49.99%

Although it is commonly supposed that Obama has a clear lead across the primaries held thus far (especially by Obama supporters), in fact, he is at this point ahead by only about 8,000 votes out of more than 29,000,000 cast.

A bit less than two-thirds of the Democratic electorate are White, just about one-fifth are Black and a bit less than one-fifth are members of another ethnic group:

Note that the "other" group includes all voters in the District of Columbia since no exit poll was available there. Since roughly three-quarters of voters in the District were probably Black, the overall percentage of Black voters in the Democratic electorate would be about 19.5%.

White voters support Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama by a comfortable 16 percentage point margin:

Black support for Obama is nothing short of monolithic:

Roughly six of every seven Black primary voters are Obama supporters. It is fair to say that Black support for Obama is racially based.

Among other ethnic groups (primarily Latino voters and, to a lesser extent, Asian voters), Hillary Clinton's overall level of support appears to be about the same as that among White voters:

Since this "other" group includes all District of Columbia voters, the adjusted level of support for Clinton among "other" ethnic groups would likely be about 59%. Thus, across more than 80% of the total electorate, Obama's support is tepid and his razor edged advantage overall is based on an overwhelming level of support across a 20% sliver of the electorate.

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