Presidential hopeful Barack Obama previously suffered from a surprising lack of support from black voters, but he has now surged into a virtual tie with fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton among African-Americans.
Two months ago Clinton held a 12-point lead over Obama in a Pew Research national poll. But a more recent Pew survey has Hillary and Obama in a dead heat.
In South Carolina, the first state where black voters will have a significant impact on the primary outcome, four polls show Obama leading among African-Americans, the Wall Street Journal reports.
A Rasmussen poll has Obama getting 51 percent of the black vote compared to Hillary’s 27 percent. A month ago, the two were tied among South Carolina blacks — who make up nearly half of the Democratic primary voters in the state.
As a result of Obama’s surge among African-Americans, some polls are now calling the race in South Carolina a dead heat.
“We’re in a better position today than ever before, and a significant amount is due to the movement of African-American voters,” Steve Hildebrand, Obama’s deputy campaign chairman, told the Journal.
Clinton built her lead among black voters partly on the basis of her husband’s popularity, and from dozens of endorsements from black ministers. But Obama has now won the endorsement of more than 100 black ministers.
An even bigger factor behind Obama’s rising popularity among black voters is his surge among voters overall, which has led many African-Americans to believe he can win the general election, according to the Journal.
“A lot of African-Americans in the South have questions about whether a black candidate can be elected president,” said David Bositis of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which focuses on black issues.
“Picking someone who is going to have a good chance to win is very much on their minds. If Obama shows he can win and that white voters can vote for him, there will be a lot of African-Americans who will be lining up to support him.”
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