Read and Watch: Independent Iowa Voters May Give Obama the Edge

Read and Watch: Independent Iowa Voters May Give Obama the Edge

Published February 11, 2008

Posted Jan. 2, 2008 – There is no doubt Barack Obama has appeal with large numbers of White Voters -- just think about the crowd he draws whenever he's in Iowa or New Hampshire.  But does he have what it takes to win over the brothas and sistas in the Demorcratic primary?

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While the Illinois Senator insists that his candidacy has nothing to do with race, he's still courting Iowa's relatively small number of Black voters.

The state is about 95 percent White, which is the reason why the majority of his supporters are White. But within the last ten months, the Obama campaign built it's own database of Black voters in Iowa since the state doesn't keep a record of Black voters. And while his appearances in Black churches have been few, he's made sure that's he made it his business to find support among Iowa's 60,000 Black residents.

“I do believe he can win in the state of Iowa because I see a lot of white people following his campaign, and it will carry him over to South Carolina and all Southern states,”  Wyome Powell, 64, told the New York Times in an interview before Sunday services at Union Missionary Baptist Church. “They need to know he can win at this day and time and age.”

With two days before Iowans go to the polls, significant support for Obama from political independents is putting rival Democrats on edge, challenging the traditional model of the state's caucuses as a low-turnout exercise dominated by partisan insiders.

The senator received big boost in momentum late New Year's Eve, when the Des Moines Register's final Iowa poll showed him leading Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) by 32 percent to 25 percent, with former senator John Edwards (N.C.) at 24 percent, reports the Washington Post. Just as striking were two findings that suggest Obama may be winning at one of the trickiest plays of the Iowa campaign: persuading non-Democrats to participate and vote for him.

The survey found that more newcomers than regular participants could turn out to the polls on Thursday: Overall, 40 percent of likely Democratic caucus goers identified themselves as independents, the poll said, double the percentage from 2004, and 60 percent said they would be attending a caucus for the first time.

Both groups preferred Obama. Do you? 

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Written by BET-Staff

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