Why Black Women May Be the Deciding Factor on Super Tuesday

BIRMINGHAM, AL - NOVEMBER 04:  An African-Americans woman lines up to vote in the presidential election November 4, 2008 in Birmingham, Alabama. Birmingham, along with Selma and Montgomery, were touchstones in the civil rights movement where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led massive protests which eventually led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ending voter disfranchisement against African-Americans. Americans are voting in the first presidential election featuring an African-American candidate, Democratic contender Sen. Barack Obama, who is running against Republican Sen. John McCain.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, AL – NOVEMBER 04: An African-Americans woman lines up to vote in the presidential election November 4, 2008 in Birmingham, Alabama. Birmingham, along with Selma and Montgomery, were touchstones in the civil rights movement where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led massive protests which eventually led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ending voter disfranchisement against African-Americans. Americans are voting in the first presidential election featuring an African-American candidate, Democratic contender Sen. Barack Obama, who is running against Republican Sen. John McCain. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As the Democratic nominating contest speeds up, African-American voters – especially women – have some tough, and influential, choices to make.

South Carolina was the first primary where African Americans are the majority of Democratic voters, controlling 55 percent of the vote. That made South Carolina a battleground for black votes, especially those of African-American women.

We know that victories in early primaries are important. Later voters often pick their candidate based on early primary outcomes. With Super Tuesday just ahead, the South Carolina primary is perhaps as important as the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, because it may create momentum in subsequent contests where black votes will help candidates win.

As someone who has been researching this topic for the past 15 years, I believe both candidates are attractive to African-American voters.

These voters could perceive Sanders as better equipped to handle issues related to social welfare, unemployment, and poverty, as well as affirmative action.

What may have solidified black support for Clinton is a series of symbolic gestures. Perhaps the most influential is the latest campaign ad targeting black mothers who lost their children to violence. These symbolic appeals convey a knowledge of growing discontent in the African-American community, while also expressing concern for racial justice, which could be sufficient to capture the black vote.

A critical voting block

African-American voters are the most loyal supporters of the Democratic Party. Their support for Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore was 90 percent in 2000. In 2004, they voted for John Kerry by 88 percent. Barack Obama won an all-time high of 95 percent in 2008.

According to exit polls, black voters were 13 percent of the national electorate in 2008. They represented approximately one in every 4.25 Obama voters that same year.

Sixty-five percent, or 15.9 million, of voting-age African Americans cast a ballot in the general election, compared to 66.1 percent of white citizens. But, the voter turnout rate among eligible black female voters was 68.8 percent – the highest of all racial, ethnic, and gender groups in the 2008 American presidential election. Especially in southern states with large black voting-eligible populations – including South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, and Louisiana – the black female voter outperformed in terms of registration and turnout.

Since 1996, this gender gap has been consistently present. African-American women voted at higher rates than African-American men by a range of 7 or 8 percentage points in 2008. That rate was even higher – about 9 percentage points – in 2012, which is 6 percentage points higher than other racial groups.

Click here to read more

Source: UConn Today | Evelyn Simien

When you purchase a book below it supports the Number #1 Black Christian Newspaper BLACK CHRISTIAN NEWS NETWORK ONE (BCNN1.com) and it also allows us to spread the Gospel around the world.