The numbers aren't flawless. Most unsatisfactory is the lack of exit polling data for most of the caucuses, where Obama has dominated. But these votes only represent about 5%-6% cast thus far for a Democratic candidate. Included in the totals without blemish are the results from the Nevada and New Mexico caucuses (the latter essentially being a primary).
I also included Iowa numbers in the calculations. Because state delegates are officially recorded (rather than actual votes received for each candidate by the participating public), I estimated the total Democratic voter participation by looking at Missouri voter registration numbers and turnout. This probably inflates the total Iowa turnout (and thus Obama's white numbers), since primaries tend to draw more people than caucuses do. On the other hand, the long campaign in Iowa and the hype surrounding its results probably meant Iowa's turnout was higher than would otherwise be expected for a caucus.
The other caucus states are not included. Michigan is also excluded due to the fact that 41% of the vote was 'uncommitted'--essentially a vote for either Obama or Edwards. As the demographics of those two candidates' supporters are disparate, it seems imprudent to hazard guesses as to how the uncommitted vote split between the two.
Following are the 'total' votes (figured by taking a state's exit poll results and comparing the percentages to total votes) cast in the states included by gender, in thousands. Green shows the percentage of the candidate's total base the category represents; Blue shows what percentage of that category each candidate garnered relative to the other candidate.
|Hillary's males||Hillary's females||Obama's males||Obama's females|
|2,826 (37.6%) (44.8%)||4,685 (62.4%) (53.4%)||3,483 (46.0%) (55.2%)||4,090 (54.0%) (46.6%)|
Hillary is the putative woman's candidate. And of course she does enjoy a heavy advantage among women (white women, that is. Black women have overwhelmingly backed Obama in every contest--only a few points less firmly than black men have). But testament to just how much of a harpy's nest the Democratic party has become, the majority of Obama's supporters are also women.
If you're wondering what percentage of the Democratic nominating process voters have been male, the above table suggests 41.8%. Actually, it is a bit higher than that, because the other candidates (Edwards most notably) are not included. I'm going to break each party down demographically (at least by race and gender together) after the state contests are all wrapped up.
The racial breakdown is trickier, because every state but California has at least one category not included in the exit polling data due to lack of a sufficient number of total voters for that category. To arrive at estimate totals, in the states for which exit polling data were not available, I computed an average for each candidate based on data from the states where there were ample data for that category. This was based on vote totals only for Obama and Hillary, so votes garnered by other candidates do not factor into the estimates at all (a good thing).
For example, of black votes received either by Hillary or Obama in states with enough information for exit polling data, Hillary took 16% of the total (and Obama the other 84%). These percentages are then used to come up with estimates for actual black votes in states with insufficient numbers of blacks for exit polling purposes. Say 5% of the voters in a state were black, and the total votes received by Hillary and Obama came to 10,000. To come up with Hillary's estimated number of black votes: 10000*.05*.16 = 80.
National totals (from states with exit polling data) up to and including Super Tuesday, in thousands of votes cast. Again, green shows the percentage of that candidate's total base the category represents; Blue shows what percentage of that category each candidate garnered relative to the other candidate. Asians and 'others' (Native Americans), totalling a few percent of the Democratic total, are not included.
|5,165 (73.5%) (57.2%)||461 (6.6%) (15.6%)||1,397 (19.9%) (63.8%)|
|3,858 (54.0%) (42.8%)||2,489 (34.9%) (84.4%)||793 (11.1%) (36.2%)|
Blacks made up one-fifth of John Kerry's support in the '04 election. They comprise less than one-fifteenth of Hillary's support in this nomination contest.
While there were more than three white Democratic voters for each black Democratic voter in '04, there are fewer than two full white Obama supporters for each black backer (that easily holds even if liberal estimates regarding turnout and white support for Obama are made for the states lacking exit poll data; additionally, Obama's probable support in Michigan adds around another 90,000 to his black total that is not included above).
Obama has managed to dominate the black vote (almost as overwhelmingly when in competition with his Democratic rivals as Democrats beat Republicans among black voters in general elections) without snapping up the white vote and without becoming the Black Candidate (in most states and in the eyes of whites, anyway).
The putative essentiality of the Hispanic vote gets an inordinate amount of attention, but if Obama pulls the nomination off, the black vote will have been the deciding factor*. Without black voters, Hillary clobbers Obama, 57%-43% (that generously assumes Obama outdid Hillary 2-to-1 among whites in the states without exit polling data). She beats him more soundly than Kerry beat Bush in California.
If Obama becomes the 44th President of the US, it will be fair to say that African Americans put him in the Whitehouse.
That'd be a potentially ironic outcome: Obama spent so much of his adult life struggling to be black enough. Then, after failing a test of that blackness in 2000 and leaving the struggle behind to become a raceless leader (at least publicly), he rides into the most powerful position in the world on the shoulders of black America.
*I realize one vote is one vote, and you might also say "Hillary lost because she only took 57% of the white vote instead of 67%. Tautologically true. But that would clearly render Obama the Black Candidate who went down to a white flurry just as other black leaders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have in the past. You might also say that if Hillary had won all of the Hispanic vote, she would've gotten the nomination, and so the Hispanic vote was really the deciding factor. Or you might say that if she would've gotten more votes than Obama, she would've had the nomination, and so a lack of votes was the problem. Fine, whatever. My point is that, in the face of opposition from most whites and most Hispanics, black support may be enough to take the nomination and by extension the Presidency. Can't you just ponder this modern demonstration of black empowerment without being so difficult?!