Default
The "Imaginary Hip Black Friend" Voting Bloc
Thumb sailer
February 07, 2008, 04:47 AM
A+
|
a-
Print Friendly and PDF
Shelby Steele argued that Obama can`t win because he couldn`t simultaneously be both a race man to black voters and an anti-race man to white voters tired of race. But Shelby is a lot smarter and more realistic than the average voter (or the average pundit, for that matter). Most people just believe whatever they want to believe about Obama. So, in reality, reality doesn`t much matter.

So, what we`ve seen are blacks, after a long period of initial apathy, flocking to their tribal standard-bearer in large numbers; and whites voting for Obama as their "imaginary hip black friend." Obama thus does well in states with lots of blacks and in states with few blacks, like Idaho, (where he won 79% of the small number of Democrats), Alaska (75%), Kansas (74%), and Colorado (67%), but not so hot in-between. Audacious Epigone reports:

Blacks overwhelmingly backed Obama, Hispanics favored Clinton (with the anomaly of Connecticut, where, comprising 6% of the total, they apparently preferred Obama by a narrow margin [I presume that Obama looks like more like the typical Hispanic in Connecticut than the typical Hispanic in California), and the larger the black share of a state`s voting population, the more likely whites in that state were to flock to Clinton. Looking at all the contests that have taken place so far, there has been an inverse correlation of .35 (confidence just a hair outside 90%) between the percentage of a state`s voters who are black and the amount of support Obama garners among whites in that state.That`s quite rigorous actually, given that obliterations like Illinois are outliers that attenuate the statistical relationship. Further, the real relationship is likely stronger than that, as I computed the results of all contests thus far (including those before Super Tuesday) as though only Hillary and Obama were running—in reality, most of Edwards` (overwhelmingly white) supporters in the southern states would have gone to Hillary if it had been a two horse race at that point. And I gave all the white undecideds in Michigan to Obama (neither he nor Edwards was on the ballot there), so he looked better among whites in that 23% black state that he would`ve in reality.

In the eyes of whites, Obama is only the Black Candidate when there are lots of blacks rallying behind him.

Among Democrats, Hispanics and Asians appear so far to be resistant to Obama`s mythos:
In California, the only state in either party with a sizable enough number of Asian voters to adequately report exit polling data on, Hillary outdid Obama by almost 3-to-1 (71%-25%). In New Jersey, extrapolating from the other racial categories, the best estimate for the Asian vote (which comprised 4% of the Democratic total) suggests 59%-41%, in Hillary`s favor.