Some black voters say they are conflicted this year

Maybe some white voters too?

Despite a few absurd sentences like the one above, this New York Times article gets to the heart of the presidential race in North Carolina.


Tim Tyson's take on NY Times story

Timothy B. Tyson (from Facebook post today):

The faraway reporter asks, "Will NC's black voters black Obama after gay marriage thing?" Overworked, she wrote a story her editors already "knew," hoping they'd print it without fact-checking. The script says Obama is weaker because a few Bible-beating hucksters tell blacks not to support the pro-gay president. Why let the facts interfere?

Facts like: 1. Obama has registered more blacks in NC than in 2008. 2. Obama is polling better among NC blacks than in 2008. 3. Last spring Amendment One banning gay marriage passed 60-40, but if balloting had been black-only, it would have failed 55-45. 4. Finding all-black precincts where Amendment One failed is easy; finding all-white precincts where it failed is hard.

5."The real news is that Rev. Dr. Barber and NAACP made coalition with LGBT groups to fight Amendment, and this historic coalition is going to win NC for Obama."

"The Times cites no evidence beyond anecdotal for its argument. Anybody can find an anti-gay person, black or white, at a Baptist church. But that is not evidence. Is registration down? No. Is Obama polling worse among blacks in NC than in 2008? No, slightly better. There is no story, other than thick-headed Yankees are all experts on Southern culture and if you don't believe it, just ask them. But that ain't news,either.""

Martha Brock

I visited several black precincts on Election Day

I heard that many black voters were going into the voting booth intending to support Barack Obama and Linda Coleman. They weren't going to vote for Dalton, or any of the other contests down the ballot.

Even Obama pushed the 1-2-3 voting in 2008. In 2012, OFA was taking county Party slate cards out, but the big push was really for Obama in NC.

McCrory won over Dalton because McCrory started raising money and running for Gov in the 2012 race the day after he lost in 2008. Thanks to Bev Perdue waiting so long to let us know she wasn't going to run, anyone who won the Dem primary for Gov was handicapped by three years.

Having the DNC Convention didn't help us any in NC for Obama or for anyone else. Having the RNC Convention in Florida didn't seem to help Romney in that state, did it? These conventions are like tailgaters where the players are spending more time getting ready for than the actual election.

Although it did provide some nice resume building material for folks who worked on the convention and made some money for folks in Charlotte, we can see from the election results that it did nothing for our Party or our state.

From the end result - I hope we put that bit of foolishness behind us.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

I'm calling BS on this one.

I heard that many black voters were going into the voting booth intending to support Barack Obama and Linda Coleman. They weren't going to vote for Dalton, or any of the other contests down the ballot.

I'm calling BS on this. You may have heard that from someone, but the numbers tell a different story.

Compare the votes for the President with votes for the straight party ticket or Democratic Council of State candidates in Wake County for each precinct. If your comment had even an iota of truth, you would see a pattern in the election results: namely, the black precincts would have high votes for the President and Coleman and significantly fewer votes for the other Democratic Council of State candidates AND this effect would be even more pronounced than in the non-black precincts.

In truth, the results show that the black precincts were significantly more likely to vote for the President, a straight Democratic ticket, and for all of the Democratic candidates for Council of State than non-black precincts.

A similar argument was made during the primaries regarding Amendment One and was proven false.

WRAL poll: Obama's black support is slipping

Laura Leslie's story for WRAL TV included these numbers:

A WRAL News poll from October 2008 showed 92 percent of black voters in North Carolina supported Obama, while only 3 percent backed Republican nominee John McCain. In a WRAL News poll released two weeks ago, Obama's support among black voters has fallen to 87 percent, with 12 percent saying they plan to back Republican Mitt Romney.

Those results are moving in the opposite direction from overall Democratic support for Obama, which is higher this year.

Wonder if those poll numbers will be changing after the VP debate and the second Presidential debate last night? Time will tell. A lot can change in the numbers in two weeks time, when it is so close to time to vote.

Martha Brock

proof of this pudding

The WRAL poll that said only 87 per cent of African American voters supported President Obama was as silly as the stories in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, PBS News Hour and NPR, among others, that asserted that black voters in North Carolina were deserting the president over the marriage equality issue. James Protzman was mistaken, too, that the Times story cut to the heart of the election in North Carolina. All of these narratives were rooted merely in what the authors "knew" that they knew without actually doing real research; the poll, of course, did involve research--really badly flawed research. I will never even bother to read another WRAL poll.

The real story

Shrewd politicos in North Carolina knew certain things. For example, African American registration was much higher than in 2008. It certainly looked like turnout would be up, too, and it was. Early voting quickly made it clear that this would be the case; as I called around to check with friends about how things were going, everyone noted the long lines at early voting sites, lines that were sometimes nearly all-black and nearly always heavily black. To go to such places and walk up the line saying hello to people was to realize that none of these people were standing in line to vote for Mitt Romney.

But the media reported that the President was in danger of losing significant support among black voters, when those of us working in the trenches every day in these communities knew full well that was not true. In the end, as I said quite awhile ago, it appears that the President had more support among black voters than in 2008, which was visible from that distance. But on this particular story it appeared to me that neither WRAL nor the New York Times nor the Christian Science Monitor nor the PBS News Hour nor NPR news reporters checked certain obvious things before writing these lookalike stories about the President's loss of support in black communities.

Precinct returns from all-white precincts and all-black precincts on the Amendment vote; the number and especially the stature of the African American ministers involved are two things that spring to mind. More black preachers spoke out against the Amendment than for it and the ones who did support the Amendment most loudly were not the state's most respected or most able ministers; the "beat the Book and Holler" preachers like Patrick Wooden, who were not the sharpest tack in the box anyway, tended to be the loudest. The record level of African American voter registration was another clear, empirical indicator that never got noted to my knowledge. The PBS News Hour "proved" that blacks were moving away from the President by interviewing my friend Professor William Darity, who said he was not going to vote for President Obama, as if he was a representative African American in North Carolina instead of a brilliant and absolutely sui generis economist whose political views bear little resemblance to nearly all black voters.

The real news story was the historic alliance between the NAACP and the organized LGBT community well before the election. Rev. Dr. Barber's work in the African American community went almost uncovered by the press. Yet it was historic, widespread and effective; night after night, from one end of the state to the other, engaging people in a candid and substantive conversation that respected their beliefs but confronted their prejudices and reminded them of their values. At times he was at a different church every night. All of the press outlets above wrote stories without deep digging; how this historic shift came about it takes no reporting skills whatsoever to find someone at a Baptist Church who opposes marriage equality, but considerably more to learn enough about the dynamics in the largest and most loyal group within the Democratic Party, within which there is not a simple thumbs-up, thumbs-down consensus on marriage equality, but a response filled with nuances, with the consensus the most broad in agreement of who their enemies are and what the quality of their "Christian" commitment entails.

Did anyone report that Rev. Dr. Barber, with the help of seasoned NAACP leaders like Ms. Carolyn Coleman of Greensboro, managed to change the policy of the national NAACP, a shift that had been successfully resisted for years, even though some of the group's best minds--Julian Bond, for example--had advocated it. The conventional wisdom was that it was untouchable topic. Rev. Dr. Barber did that. I don't think anyone reported that, to my knowledge.

Tthe New York Times, NPR, the PBS News Hour, the Christian Science Monitor and WRAL all got this one wrong, in some measure by working in an self-referential journalism echo chamber, where stories begat stories and the stories that got it going were not solid in the first instance. The WRAL poll turned out to have put an 87 where it should have put a 95 or 96, which is pretty far off. There wasn't a shift among black voters right at the end. This has been happening for many, many months. Everybody I asked about that just laughed in my face and said, oh, no, it's a lot more complicated than that, and don't worry about it, that ain't happening, nobody listens to Wooden and his dum-dum friends. The story was a truly historic one, and different than the one that all these media outlets "knew" was true, and yet the editors "knew" the story before it was reported somehow. I think that is worth pondering. I also think the story should still be told.

Thanks for setting the record straight

And thanks to Dan B. for his comments. I certainly bought into the media reports. Now I feel as foolish as the Fox News junkies.

Martha Brock

If these reports were junk...

...then why did Obama lose NC by nearly 100K votes when he registered more African American voters than in 2008 when - presumably - he registered fewer AA voters?

Why did Dalton lose by 500K votes when Obama lost by only 97K?

Coleman lost by 6K votes - so why was the Wake County undervote was almost three times that large?

The way it looks from here - Coleman had more support than Obama and Dalton. And Coleman ran a weak campaign - taking her hands off and letting SEANC run the show.

If anything, this election shows the folly of letting the candidates or elected officials run our Party through figurehead Party officers. Because, with Bev Perdue pulling out at the last minute, there would be a scramble for who takes over her role as the string-puller.

And it still does not take away from the facts that I was in several black precincts on Election Day, and when I asked people coming out how they voted, they pretty much told me they bullet-voted for Obama. They said they didn't vote for Dalton or even Coleman, and they didn't vote straight ticket and they didn't care about the judges. All they cared about was Obama.

One could also look at the results of this year and compared with 2008, and wonder why - if OFA methods worked so well - Obama lost by 97K in 2012 and won by only 14K in 2008? What else was different in 2008 than this year?

Or what was different from 2005-2008 than from 2009-2012?

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting