FEBRUARY 5, 2008
Over at The Plank, John Judis is brooding a bit about the racial split in Delaware. John writes that:
By contrast, Clinton won the white vote by 56 to 33 percent (with nine percent to favorite son Joe Biden). She won whites over 60 years old by 62 to 25 percent (with 14 percent to Biden). Did race figure in this vote? I think so. According to the exit polls, 33 percent of Clinton's supporters thought that race was "one of several important factors" in determining their vote for Clinton. Add to that 19 percent of Biden's voters who said race figured, and you have a lot of Delaware whites making their decision who to support partly on the basis of race. That's a chilling figure and should give pause to those pundits who think that Barack Obama would have an easy time winning in November.
That is a chilling number. On the other hand, I'd caution about generalizing too much from the racial dynamics of Delaware. As Joe Biden was fond of saying on the campaign trail, much of southern Delaware is basically the South. I'd add that it's the South without the cosmopolitanism. In the actual South, there tend to be large cities with affluent, educated urbanites, surrounded by (to varying degrees) moderate white suburbs. Georgia is a great example of this, as are North and South Carolina and Virginia. So while you'd rather not see a split like this, it's not altogether surprising or, for that matter, alarming.
Update: John tweaked his original item, so I've updated the link here. I think the basic point still stands.