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Black support for Obama waning in NC

Posted October 17, 2012

— Historically high turnout by black voters helped President Barack Obama win North Carolina in 2008 by 14,000 votes, which was his narrowest margin of victory nationwide.

Polls show Obama's support among black voters this year is weaker, which only heightens North Carolina's status as a swing state in next month's presidential election.

A WRAL News poll from October 2008 showed 92 percent of black voters in North Carolina supported Obama, while only 3 percent backed Republican nominee John McCain. In a WRAL News poll released two weeks ago, Obama's support among black voters has fallen to 87 percent, with 12 percent saying they plan to back Republican Mitt Romney.

Those results are moving in the opposite direction from overall Democratic support for Obama, which is higher this year.

David McLennan, a political science professor at William Peace University in Raleigh, said the weaker support among blacks in North Carolina is probably due in part to the economy.

The nationwide jobless rate among blacks in September was 13.4 percent, which was almost double the overall rate. The Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, projects that 19.4 percent of blacks in North Carolina will be unemployed at the end of this year, which is more than double the statewide rate.

"It's also some social issues, like gay marriage," McLennan said of Obama's waning support. "That's a very divisive kind of issue, particularly in the black churches."

Black voter, voting generic Economy, social issues wedging between Obama, black voters

The day after North Carolina voted in May to amend the state constitution to define marriage as being solely between one man and one woman, Obama announced his support for gay marriage.

That angered some amendment supporters, including Rev. Patrick Wooden of Raleigh's Upper Room Church of God in Christ. He recorded an ad accusing Obama of turning his back on black values.

"If some say, 'No more' by not voting for him, then that's their prerogative," Wooden said recently, adding that he isn't surprised that the president has lost some black support.

Social issues like same-sex marriage and abortion should sway voters, he said.

"I think what drives people should be their ideology – what they believe and what they think – versus color or something like that, because what if everybody in America did the color game?" he said.

Rev. William Barber, state president of the NAACP, said critics like Wooden are trying to distract voters from other issues, including the economy, education and civil rights.

"There were people, even ministers, who stood up against Dr. (Martin Luther) King and tried to stop the civil rights movement. It didn't work," Barber said, adding that he believes black voters will turn out in force this election.

"The black community is not monolithic," he said. "You may have one or two pastors that may say, 'Don't vote' or 'Vote for this person on one issue,' but even in their own churches, people are not going to just listen to them. They're going to evaluate the candidates very intellectually, very thoroughly."

198 Comments

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  • marchelleclark Oct 19, 1:41 p.m.

    I would say that you should vote for the person who you believe will steer this country in the right direction whether they are black or white. But we also have to remember that our economy was sliding in the direction that it is in before this individual became President and we as Americans cannot blame everything on this person when we know as Americans we contributed to the downfall of our economy by allowing those who have been in higher positions make questionable decisions that have clearly set our nation on this course of destruction. We have to look at ourselves and see where we can make better decisions concerning our economy and be willing to make the hard choices to change what we are doing instead of passing the buck and sharing in the blame game.

  • lessismore Oct 18, 5:34 p.m.

    If you want a welfare state....vote for Obama, again. Smart people know what his agenda is....to bankrupt America. The ignorant continue to support him....

  • lessismore Oct 18, 5:33 p.m.

    The only people that have prospered since Obama was elected is his campaign donors...and most of their companies went bankrupt with the billions upon billions that Obama gave them.

  • ncouterbanks69 Oct 18, 4:56 p.m.

    (please Ohio...don't do it),

    All states should be voting for President Barack Obama. You will not go wrong there.

    That depends on who you are talking about. The working man will go way wrong voting that way. It's sad we have as many lazy in this country now that we do working.

  • ConservativeVoter Oct 18, 4:52 p.m.

    Blacks should not be voting for Obama due to his job performance.

    Black unemployment up since Obama took office.

    Black savings and assets have shrunk since Obama took office.

    Black average wages down since Obama took office.

    More Blacks unemployed and on welfare since Obama took office.

    Blacks should not be blindly voting based on the race of the candidate.

  • Nancy Oct 18, 4:13 p.m.

    Read an article in the N&O today that says enthusiasm among the youth voters that pushed him to a win in NC in '08 aren't there this time around - some of them saying nothing has changed in 4 years, nothing improved.

  • kmengineer08 Oct 18, 3:56 p.m.

    hrcn65 - your not voting for Mitt because you are in that 47% who's votes are bought by liberal politicians.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Oct 18, 3:48 p.m.

    Romney do not care for the 47%. So please be aware of this. President is for all 100% of the American people.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Oct 18, 3:44 p.m.

    Who took this poll ? I'm in that 47% pay taxes on my social security and pension and I will not be voting for Mitt, a man who changes his mind at a drop of a pin or what the makeup of the people at the time, this man has a problem and can' t be trusted .

    hrcn65

    I am that 47% too. I will be casting my vote for President Obama. Good comment.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Oct 18, 3:32 p.m.

    If people who voted for him the first time and the second time is moved by what someone is telling them; I suggest you pray for them. They should never be swayed by anyone and use their brain in the right way.

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