Wednesday, February 28, 2007


From Taegan Goddard's Political Wire:*

Update: A new CNN poll finds Clinton leading Obama by 15-20 points among black voters.

Er, no. From that CNN link:

Among blacks, Obama's chief rival for the Democrat's 2008 presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, polls 15 to 20 points better than Obama and benefits from name recognition and deep Clinton roots in the black community.

What new poll? There's no poll cited at all -- this is just an estimate gleaned from other unnamed polls. (And, of course, according to the new Washington Post poll, Obama has wiped out that deficit and now leads Clinton among black Democrats.)

Which brings us to a problem with the (up to now) very popular do-blacks-support-Obama? story hook: The mainstream press doesn't seem to know exactly what it is that blacks are saying about him. From that CNN story:

George Wilson, the host of XM Radio's "GW on the Hill," hears doubts about the Illinois Democrat, the only black currently serving in the Senate, all the time from his black audience.

"There is this doubt 'But is America ready for a black president?' " Wilson told CNN. "And the overall consensus from my callers is that America is not ready for an African-American president."

Even at a rally for Obama in South Carolina you hear it:

"I'm being honest," Akyshia Gantt, an African-American, said. "No, I think -- which is bad -- that America is not ready for that, but I don't think they are."

Are these doubts about Obama? Or are they doubts about the rest of America? The two may be interrelated, but it would be nice if CNN's Candy Crowley and Sasha Johnson could grasp the fact that they're not the same thing.

To be fair, the story does go on to cite Wilson's belief that there may be African-American mistrust of a black candidate praised by whites (although the new Post poll suggests that blacks are rapidly putting aside any such mistrust).

But this comes only after blacks' doubts about the electability of a black candidate are presented as if they're doubts about that candidate himself. Not the same thing, folks.


*UPDATE: The CNN reference has been deleted from Taegan Goddard post. (I'm not sure that was necessary -- the two stories are related, but one uses old poll numbers and one uses the latest numbers.)

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