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A Better Uniter?

Addressing a former pastor's impolitic racial remarks in a speech today, Sen. Barack Obama attempted to reassert himself as the candidate best able unite the country.

Throughout the early nominating contests Obama held an edge over Sen. Hillary Clinton as a "uniter," and in a new Newsweek national poll the Illinois senator had a 21-point advantage as the Democratic candidate more apt to "bring the country together." But Reverend Jeremiah Wright's explosive comments threatened Obama's positioning.

In a new CBS News poll out today, nearly six in 10 registered voters said they had heard about Rev. Wright's inflammatory words, and among those whose opinions of Obama changed as a result, the impact was overwhelmingly negative; 30 percent said the statements made them think less favorably toward Obama, just 2 percent had more positive views.

At the same time, nearly two-thirds of all voters said their opinion of Obama was unchanged by the controversy. Among Democrats, more than three-quarters said their views of Obama were unmoved.

Here are the data from Democratic exit polls: In 23 states that have already had presidential nomination votes, exit polls show that for the most part, voters give Obama an edge over Clinton as the candidate more likely to unite the nation (by an average of 15 points). But in Oklahoma, Tennessee, Florida and Clinton's home state of Arkansas, the former first lady held the edge. Exit pollsters have not asked this question since Wisconsin's primary on Feb. 19.

Obama also had double-digit advantages on this question among whites in many states, although white voters were almost always more likely than black voters to say Clinton would be more likely to unite the nation.

Obama's strong support from African Americans also extends to this question: in states where analysis of the black vote is possible, an average of 76 percent of black voters said Obama would be better at uniting the country.

Q: Regardless of how you voted today, which one of these candidates would be most likely to unite the country if elected president?

      Obama   Clinton   Clinton
N.H.    51%      28%      +23
S.C.    55       26       +29
Fla.    36       42        -6
Ala.    53       38       +15
Ark.    30       61       -31
Ariz.   52       36       +16
Calif.  46       41        +5
Conn.   54       36       +18
Dela.   57       34       +23
Ga.     66       25       +41
Ill.    64       29       +35
Mass.   47       44        +3
Mo.     52       37       +15
N.J.    47       44        +3
N.M.    51       37       +14
N.Y.    46       43        +3
Okla.   29       44       -15
Tenn.   41       49        -8
Utah    59       28       +31
La.     57       38       +19
Md.     67       30       +37
Va.     70       28       +42
Wisc.   63       35       +28

SOURCE: National Election Pool exit polls conducted by Edison/Mitofsky.

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  March 18, 2008; 2:17 PM ET
Categories:  Exit polls  
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Posted by: votenic | March 19, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: votenic | March 27, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

It has been made clear to me that if a candidate can't point to a solid record of work, like George W., he/she promises to "change Washington politics", "rise above partisanship" and "unite" all the people of America. This is what we got with Obama during the early months of this year. I remember him using the unite word after Iowa and from then on.

Now we find that Obama's politics is not "a new kind" but the same old, same old.

This week when Hillary exaggerated the danger in Bosnia, the media lead with this story. Ok, fair enough. It was a lie.

So are the media so in the tank for Obama that I have to hear from Karl Rove about Obama's lies?

1) Obama said his parents met at the Selma march, Reality: he was born 4 years before that.

2) Obama said he was a constitutional law professor Reality: Obama was an instructor and never was a professor.

3) Obama said he spoke fluent Indonesian as a child Reality: His teachers there say no.

4) Obama said he was involved in community asbestos and housing project for the poor Reality: Didn't happen and this was the basis for Obama and Michelle's claims that he was a community activist in Chicago. Which both he and Michelle Obama have been saying this year.

5) Obama said in his book that he received his racial awakening at age nine reading a Life/Ebony Magazine story about a black man who was scarred trying to dye his skin white Reality: Didn't happen. Both Life and Ebony say there was no such article.

So the Lie Meter is 5 Obama 1 Hillary.
AND, Hillary admitted the untruth; Let Obama do the same.

We could continue in this way, Tit for Tat or we can ask who is best qualified.
Hillary Clinton is courageous (regardless of her exaggeration), knowledgeable, tough and she is widely acknowledged as a policy expert. I am for her as I see she has the chops to do the job.

Obama is a terrific speaker and his policy chops are thin as is his good friend Duval Patrick's (read the New York Times article). He is dazzling and not much else. The books he brags about writing have falsehoods (as listed above).

What can a voter do? Either he is qualified or he is not. And all the diatribes and trash talking will not help us decide. What is worse, if he should be the nominee, the right wing will cream him in November.

Posted by: cj | March 27, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Obama is clearly going to be the Democratic nominee. Can we start putting our efforts on winning in November?

Posted by: radiocboy | April 11, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

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