Five States Where Obama Needs The African-American Vote The Most

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President Obama’s campaign will likely need the kind of strong black turnout he received in 2008 to win re-election, particularly if some of the white independent voters who backed him four years ago opt for the Republican candidate because of frustration over the president’s tenure.

Here’s a look at five states the president won in 2008 where the black vote is critical to his chances.

1. North Carolina

Obama won this state, becoming the first Democrat to do so since 1976. But he won by only about 14,000 votes out of more than four million cast.

He combined collecting 95 percent of the black vote with a strong showing among white voters as well. (Obama received 35 percent of the white vote, compared to the 27 percent John Kerry earned in 2004 as the Democratic nominee).

With such a narrow margin of victory, Obama may actually need a higher black turnout than in 2008 to win the Tar Heel state to make up for a white vote that is likely to be less supportive of the president.

This is why Obama’s team sent campaign manager Jim Messina as well as actress Gabrielle Union to North Carolina Central University for an event last month, looking to rally both young and African-American voters.

2. Virginia

Like North Carolina, this is a traditionally-Republican leaning state Obama won through appealing to white and black voters in urban areas. Also like neighboring N.C., Obama won in part because he performed stronger among white voters than previous Democratic candidates.

But blacks were more than 20 percent of the electorate in 2008 in Virginia, a turnout that will need to matched for Obama to win there again. The president won Virginia by about 6 percent in 2008 and both parties expect a closer race there in November.

3. Ohio

In 2004, then-President George W. Bush collected a surprising 16 percent of the vote among blacks, helping him to win a very close race in this state and therefore earn a second term. Four years later, Obama won 97 percent of the black vote in Ohio, an improvement that helped him win the state.

But the state has seen a rightward shift since 2008, with a Republican winning both the U.S. Senate and the gubernatorial race two years ago.

4. Florida

The gains Obama made in the Latino vote compared to 2004 were much more important to him winning Florida than any shift in the black vote. But Florida is a state where the spate of voting laws Republicans have pushed through around the country could have some impact.

In Florida, Republicans in the state legislature and Gov. Rick Scott enacted a provision that limits the days of early voting, including barring it on the Sunday before the election, when many black churches organize get-out-the vote efforts after services. Voting rights advocates have filed suit to have the provision overturned, and it may have little effect because black churches find other days for voting drives.

Like Ohio, Obama won in Florida in 2008 but Republicans did well statewide two years ago, suggesting a slight rightward shift by voters. A strong black turnout will be very important here as well.

5. Pennsylvania

If Obama doesn’t win in this state, he will have a very hard route to re-election. And it’s pretty reliably Democratic; the last Republican to win there was in 1988.

At the same time, it’s a large swing state that like Florida and Ohio, just elected Republicans to the governor’s office and the U.S. Senate in 2010.



3 Comment

  1. […] Five States Where Obama Needs The African-American Vote The … Here's a look at five states the president won in 2008 where the black vote is critical to his chances. 1. North Carolina. Obama won this state, becoming the first Democrat to do so since 1976. But he won by only about 14000 … […]

  2. President Obama should of thought about critical states before he cost to support 2% of the gay community. It was political suicide to come out for gay marriage AFTER a key swing state North Carolina voted AGAINST gay marriage. Dumb move of the Obama Admin. to ASSume the black, straight, evangelical voters will be there come election time.

    Lol @ the gay community bringing of slavery and civil rights of blacks to support the gay marriage stance. When Dyson called blacks ” sexual rednecks” that was the nail in the coffin for me casing my vote for the president. When gays stay bringing up slavery, otherwise the media avoids having a subversive conversation about slave history, it’s beyond the pale.

  3. Obama will be re-elected. I disagree with him vehemently on gay issues, but whether or not the President thinks that sexual sins such as adultery, fornication, or homosexuality should be one’s legal choice is not going to affect my decision to vote for him again. He’s the champion of middle-class Americans and the 98%.

    Obama is for America!

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