THE BLOG

Was Race a Strong Factor in Clear Clinton Win in Pennsylvania?

05/25/2011 12:30 pm ET

I blogged on this issue yesterday -- and a GOP leader's claim that John McCain will have a big edge on Obama because of the rae-based vote in November. It drew a wide and varied response from readers. Some claimed that Clinton suffered from gender bias, or pointed out that Obama was getting 85% of the black vote. Others objected to bringing up this issue at all, or praised me for doing so.

Long before that, I had suggested that many understate the number of older Democrats who are (still) racist and who would tip many contests to Clinton. But I closed yesterday's post by saying that if Obama won or came close in Pennsylvania that might put the issue to rest.

Didn't happen. And the exit polls show, again, that one in four Clinton voters claim they would not vote for Obama in November -- for whatever reason. And she got 70% of the white, blue-collar vote in most regions, including the area of central Pennsylvania where I spent a lot of time growing up and heard many a racist remark.

Here's the money quote from a New York Times analysis of the exit polls: "Sixteen percent of white voters said race mattered in deciding who they voted for, and just 54 percent of those voters said they would support Mr. Obama in a general election; 27 percent of them said they would vote for Mr. McCain if Mr. Obama was the Democratic nominee, and 16 percent said they would not vote at all."

And once again, the old phenomenon of exit polls proven wrong, because people with racist views do not tell pollsters the truth on election day, again reared its head. The final exit polls today indicated only a 4% Clinton win. Now it looks like 10%. That difference is largely the racial vote, I'd guess. I call them the true "late deciders" -- they decide to show their bigotry in the privacy of the voting booth.

Tim Russert reported tonight that the GOP in North Carolina is now going to play the race card against Obama in primary ads there, which can only help Clinton.

Anyway, I will leave it at that -- you guys and gals go at it, and thank you for that. As I've said before, I am just putting this all out there, not to suggest, at all, that Obama should not or can not be the nominee. Let's just say that I am very sensitive to the continuing problems of race and racial prejudice in society.
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Greg Mitchell's new book is So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits -- and the President -- Failed on Iraq. It is the first five-year history of the war, has been hailed by Bill Moyers, Glenn Greenwald, and Arianna Huffington, and features a preface by Bruce Springsteen.