Patterico's Pontifications


South Carolina Democratic Exit Polls (Updated x3)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 5:58 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

UPDATE 3 @ 11:45 PM EST – Here are the final CNN South Carolina exit poll results. They’re interesting but too lengthy to reproduce in full so here’s my summary:

— Obama’s voters were gender neutral while more women voted for Hillary and more men for Edwards.

— As to age, under-60 voters preferred Obama while over-60 voters preferred Hillary.

— When you add race and age, all black voters preferred Obama and non-black voters over 60 split between Hillary and Edwards. Non-black voters 30-60 picked Edwards.

— Voters who attend church, even those who only attend occasionally, voted for Obama.

** End of Update 3 **

There is some interesting information in the preliminary data from exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and television networks in today’s South Carolina Democratic primary. Here’s my abbreviated version:

— 1/4 of whites voted for Obama.
— 40% of white women voted for Hillary.
— Bill’s last-ditch campaigning made a difference.
— Edwards surged at the end.
— Black men and women voted overwhelmingly for Obama.

Here’s the long version reprinted at The State:


Black voters in South Carolina voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama, with eight in 10 supporting him. Nearly all the rest voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton. While a quarter of whites also voted for Obama, three-quarters of whites split their votes between the two white candidates, Clinton and John Edwards, about evenly. Edwards’ support came almost exclusively from white voters.


In the historic battle that pitted a black man against a white woman, the question on many minds was how black women would vote. They went overwhelmingly for the black man, in the same eight in 10 proportions as black men. Nearly all the rest voted for Clinton.

Clinton wasn’t even able to win a majority of white women, a group she won with just over 40 percent of the vote. Edwards was not far behind Clinton among white women, and Obama won about 20 percent of them.


Three in four voters said the country is ready to elect a black president, and about the same said the country is ready to elect a woman. Nine in 10 Obama voters said the country is ready for a black president, but fewer Clinton voters said the country is ready. Nearly all Clinton voters and two-thirds of Obama voters said the country is ready to elect a woman president.


Just over half the voters said they were looking for candidate who could bring about needed change, a group Obama won handily. Fewer than 15 percent of voters said they were mostly looking for a candidate with experience, the only candidate quality that Clinton dominated. Edwards and Obama split the votes of those who want a candidate who cares about people like them, and Clinton and Obama split the votes of those few voters who were looking for a candidate who can win in November.


Given three choices, half the voters said the economy was the most important issue facing the country, up from 38 percent in the New Hampshire primary in early January. Economy voters lined up behind the candidates in a similar fashion to the overall result, with Obama winning about half, Clinton coming in well behind and Edwards in third.

About a quarter of voters said health care was the most important problem facing the country. Obama won their support by an even greater margin than he won economy voters, with Clinton getting just a quarter of their support. The war in Iraq was judged most important by only one in five voters, and they also voted mostly for Obama.


Given the choice, 6 in 10 voters said the issues were most important to their vote, and they voted for Obama. Clinton did a little better among those who said leadership and personal qualities were most important, but Obama still won that group as well.


Over half of those white voters who decided within the last three days voted for Edwards, with the rest going to Obama and Clinton about evenly. But this late shift in support was not enough for Edwards to win convincingly among whites. Slightly fewer blacks said they made up their minds in the last three days, and nine in 10 late deciders who were black went to Obama.


It appears that Bill Clinton’s campaigning for his spouse helped her in the state, but not enough to get her the win. Nearly six in 10 said former President Clinton’s campaigning in the state was an important factor for them, including a quarter who called it very important.

Blacks who said his campaigning was important were almost 10 times more likely to vote for Hillary Clinton than those who said it wasn’t important, although Obama still won most of those blacks who said it was an important factor. Clinton also did better among those whites who said Bill Clinton’s campaigning was important, while Edwards won among those whites who said it wasn’t important.


After the contentious Democratic debate Monday night, three in four Obama voters said Clinton had attacked Obama unfairly and slightly fewer than half accused their own candidate of attacking Clinton unfairly. Edwards voters were more likely than either of the other candidates’ supporters to say Clinton and Obama attacked each other unfairly.”

UPDATE 1 @ 9:50 PM EST: Mickey Kaus and Tom Maguire both point out that Obama got 25% of the white vote compared to Jesse Jackson’s 5-10% in 1988. From Kaus:

“Attempted Ghettoization: Now that Bill Clinton has explicitly belittled Obama’s South Carolina victory by comparing it to Jesse Jackson’s, how does Obama’s share of the white vote compare with Jackson’s in 1988? Obama got about a quarter of the white vote, according to exit polls. … Was there even an exit poll of the 1988 caucuses? I can’t find one. … Update: Alert emailer L finds the following in a Christian Science Monitor story from March 17, 1988:

Although Jackson’s white support was significantly higher in South Carolina than in 1984 – it is estimated this year at between 5 and 10 percent of the voters – he has not made much headway with populist, blue-collar whites … [E.A.]

25% vs. 5-10%. It looks as if Bill Clinton’s comparison will not work to his wife’s advantage.”

UPDATE 2 @ 10:40 PM EST – CNN exit polls show Bill Clinton didn’t do Hillary any favors: [EDIT: Sorry, I forgot to add the link earlier. — DRJ]

“Bill Clinton’s aggressive campaigning in South Carolina in the days leading up to the state’s primary may have had a net negative effect among South Carolina’s Democratic primary voters, CNN exit polls indicate.

Roughly 6 in 10 South Carolina Democratic primary voters said Bill Clinton’s campaigning was important in how they ultimately decided to vote, and of those voters, 48 percent went for Barack Obama while only 37 percent went for Hillary Clinton. Fourteen percent of those voters voted for John Edwards.”

Joe Gandelman is not impressed with Bill, either, and labels him “the MOST UNDERSTOOD man in America” in a ‘Read the whole thing’ post.


4 Responses to “South Carolina Democratic Exit Polls (Updated x3)”

  1. Good piece, DRJ.

    Can you imagine the exploding heads if Bill said the exact same things, but had an R after his name?

    JD (fc7319)

  2. well actually, i am for the billary nomination because it sets up a republican path to victory in nov.

    james conrad (7cd809)

  3. JC you are so very correct! I’ve said as much for a very long time.

    Right or wrong, so far this is being played as Morris said it would, another day or so should confirm it.

    We now have a RACE Race!

    So who ya gonna vote for, the woman or the black?

    Actually the Morman flipper is looking very strong.

    TC (1cf350)

  4. Yes We Can!!!

    CE (1dff36)

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