Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Not the Race Issue Again


Amy Holmes
360 contributor



Okay, so as we all saw last night, the polling was totally wacky when in the lead up to the Hillary/Obama votes. Every pollster and prognosticator got it wrong, including both the Obama and Clinton camps. New Hampshire voters were supposed to give their hearts to Obama.

Instead, they went to Hillary. So, what explains it? I don't know. There are lots of theories floating around out there. But the one that makes the least sense is the racial one. Why? Two simple facts. Women put Hillary across the finishing line. She won 46% of the women's vote, while Obama garnered 34%. Meanwhile, Obama won with men.

Are we to believe that women are more racist than men? That the fairer sex of New Hampshire harbored some deep irrational fear of a black man as president, while their male cohorts did not?

Maybe race played a part. Maybe it goes along with the theory that women voted last night with their emotions and racism was one of them. But as for me, I don't buy it. Let's be secularist liberals and wait for the science.

Posted By CNNBLOG: 5:34 PM ET
  12 Comments
Amy,
That is the stupidest thing that I have heard! There is no way that race is even an issue here! I mean if it were then it would have occured in Iowa where they are mostly white! I don't know who is coming up with this crap but they need to leave it alone and get a life!! Hillary won because she spoke and touched the most people with either her stand on issues or with her letting her gaurd down and letting people see the real her.

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Blogger Cindy : 5:43 PM ET
I think everyone THINKS too much. Most people vote for who they want.
They don't group think, don't blog and don't watch news or pundits or polls. Issues and a gut feeling of a candidate, usually is why a voter votes for a particular candidate.
Even if some voters have a bias, there's little to zip anyone can do about it. That's what democracy is...an individual vote, cast by an individual with individual opinions.

Lorie Ann
Buellton, Calif.
Posted By Blogger Lorie Ann : 6:06 PM ET
Amy,

I'm really enjoying your posts on the 360 blog and I hope you'll continue.

I have heard pundits say that the polling was so wrong in the Democratic race in NH because people did not want to tell a pollster that they were not going to vote for a black man. I think that is absolutely absurd! Is the implication that one is a racist for supporting a white candidate? Hillary won last night because many women were fed up at the playing of that tape over and over again where she spoke from the heart. Many people, including myself, felt that she was being treated unfairly. Furthermore, after all the hoopla over the Obama win in Iowa, people did not like being told that the nominees had already been decided. Don't ever tell a person that their vote doesn't count!

To say that Hillary won because people wouldn't vote for a black man does more than slander those who voted for her. It also implies that Hillary did not deserve to win and smells of sour grapes.

If this is truly a democracy where race does not matter, then we must be free to vote for whatever candidate we want. No one is obligated to vote for anyone to prove they are not racist. That's just tyranny in another form.
Posted By Blogger Barbara in Culver City, CA : 6:13 PM ET
I don't buy it either. I'm a fan of Obama's and of Hillary's but last night I found myself rooting for her. I think maybe it has to do with the fact that I really do want to see a woman as President and I do think she'll do a good job. I believe that Obama would be a good choice too and I don't really care if he's black or white. I think to say that a very liberal and open-minded state such as New Hampshire cared about race that much is just plain wrong. Why are we all so quick to jump to race as an issue? Could it be that it's easy instead of trying to figure out the 'real' issue.
Posted By Anonymous Holly from Florida : 6:17 PM ET
I completely agree with you, Amy and Cynthia.
I have high doubts these women "harbored some deep irrational fear of a black man as president"; rather, I think more New Hampshire women liked Hillary, plain and simple. Who would have thought race would play an issue? I haven't noticed it at all as the race has gone on--hardly anyone brings up a case against Obama that has to do with the color of his skin. It seems like more people are concerned with religion (and in Hillary's case, gender) than race!
Posted By Anonymous Christianna : 6:30 PM ET
I'm all for looking beyond race and gender to the qualifications of the candidates and who can best lead this nation forward in our world. Apparently everyone hasn't gotten the memo that this is the 21st century and racism and sexism are still extremely uncool. Sounds to me like people need to grow up, deal with the issues of this presidential race, and stop looking for excuses as to why Hillary reigned supreme last night on the democratic side.
Posted By Anonymous Tammy, Berwick, LA : 6:38 PM ET
Race has nothing to do with why Obama did not win in NH. I know many people including myself who would have voted for Jesse Jackson had he been running! I am insulted that CNN would even suggest that!! It has to do with the fact that Obama just doesn't have the answers. The polls were showing him in the teens before Oprah endorsed him. If anything, the only reason he got as many votes as he did is due to Oprah, and nothing to do with him. He fumbled and stuttered during the debates. We need someone who can speak clearly like Hillary or John Edwards, without Oprah by their side.
Posted By Anonymous Marie, Manchester NH : 10:53 PM ET
Amy,

Just saw the segment with you and Michael Dyson. He was so illogical and so insulting that in the end, he made himself look totally unprofessional. You used the facts as we know them to make your case. Keep up the good work. I especially appreciate your point that if this hysteria flamed by folks like Mr. Dyson continue, it makes things worse and not better. And this hurts all of us.
Posted By Anonymous Brian, Honolulu, HI : 12:17 AM ET
This is interesting. As an international viewer, why is when Barack Obama loses, there's such an attention on the issue of his race as a potential setback?
But when Hillary Clinton lost, there weren't any debate on it being a gender issue.
Most men voted for Barack Obama, didn't they?
Posted By Anonymous lpfoong, Penang,Malaysia : 12:18 AM ET
I don't think it is smart to completely exclude race, but I don't think it is fair to jump straight to the issue of race either. I think that it is strange that Amy Holmes was fighting the possibility that race played an issue. Looking to Iowa to discredit racism in New Hampshire is just not smart.
Posted By Anonymous Matthew Santa Clarita, CA : 3:09 AM ET
I am a little surprised the racist card was played so fast in this race. I think the people who are bring this up are full of s@#&. Think about it, if in this day and age they are voting based on race would they really vote for a woman? There and enough white men on the Democrat side for them to switch their vote to. Face it Hillary Clinton managed to get her point across to the voters DESPITE the bias media coverage against her. Yes CNN your editors are showing their bias.
Posted By Anonymous Kelly in Canada : 3:10 AM ET
Initially I agreed that race had no effect on the vote, but the more I thought about it the more I think it might of had some last minute effect, not that people directly thought about, but in a subtle way. The one piece of news I haven't heard any talk about that was shown on primary day, was the stories about Baracks family in Kenya. They showed his grandmother and his uncle, there house and a school. They also showed the current violence. I felt a twinge because I think when people see Africa there is still a sense of fear, chaos, violence, Hiv, poverty, etc. I think that might make people nervous to think of that in direct relationship with Obama. Whether they realize it or not. I personally think it is incredible that in the middle of his campaign he is working on keeping the peace and foreign relations in the world, but we still have hidden fears about the world outside the US.
Darrick Colorado.
Posted By Blogger Darrick : 9:47 AM ET
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