Barack Obama squeaked out a narrow win on Super Tuesday to expand his small lead in the pledged delegates. While many of the exit polls were off as predictions, these polls do provide us with one of the best national tests of to what extent voters will admit to racist or sexist motivations. And they also tell us an important fact: Obama was hurt by race-based voting, while Clinton was greatly helped by gender-based voting.
More Democratic voters admitted to racist motivations in opposing Obama (an average of 2.88% of the voters) than admitted to sexist motivations in opposing Clinton (an average of 1.83%). Overall, the racist vote outweighed the pro-black vote for Obama by an average of 0.5%. By contrast, the pro-woman vote for Clinton outweighed the sexist vote by an average of 5.0%. That's a 5.5% swing in each state. The continuing significance of racism (beyond the expressed levels of sexism) was a key factor in why Obama didn't win a decisive victory over Clinton on Tuesday.
The Democratic exit polls asked voters, "In deciding your vote for president today, was the gender[race] of the candidate a) The single most important factor; b) One of several important factor; c) Not an important factor."
Here is the average of 15 states and the views on race of those opposing Obama (note, this is an average of the states, not an average nationwide):
2.87% Super racist (race is "the single most important factor," voted against Obama)
6.61% Partly racist (race is "one of several important factors," voted against Obama)
9.49% Total of racist vote (super racist plus partly racist)
Here's is the average of the voting based on race by Obama supporters:
2.0% Super pro-black (race is "the single most important factor," voted for Obama)
6.99% Partly pro-black (race is "one of several important factors," voted for Obama)
8.98% Total of pro-black vote (super pro-black plus partly pro-black)
Here is the average of the 15 states with exit polls on their response to the question of voting based, on gender, against the female candidate:
1.83% Super sexist (gender is "the single most important factor," voted against Clinton)
6.08% Partly sexist (gender is "one of several important factors," voted against Clinton)
7.9% Total of sexist vote (super sexist plus partly sexist)