Clinton’s Reputation Suffers Sharp Drop among Black Voters

Posted June 6, 2008 at 10:22am

Some polls in recent days have painted a mixed picture of how Hillary Clinton and her reputation emerged from this year’s hotly-contested and often bitter nomination battle. One said her favorability rating among Democrats had remained reasonably intact while others presented a more fixed view about perceptions of her and her motives.

But according to a Gallup analysis based on data collected May 30-June 2, Clinton suffered a big hit when it came to her image among black voters. Her favorability rating among blacks had been 84 percent in June, 2007 with just 10 percent seeing her unfavorably. Now, that favorability score has fallen to 58 percent with 36 percent viewing her negatively. At one point during the campaign, South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, one of the most influential black political leaders, criticized Bill Clinton’s campaign trail rhetoric as “bizarre” for the way he took on Obama during the primaries. Many blacks felt that the Clinton campaign was at times tinged with racial innuendo and Clinton herself caused anger late in the campaign when she suggested that Obama would have a problem keeping white working class voters in the fold.

As for John McCain, his image among black voters has also worsened. In June 2007, a third of black voters had an unfavorable opinion of him, 26 percent had a favorable one and 41 percent had never heard of him or had no opinion. In the latest survey, 58 percent of blacks viewed him unfavorably, 27 percent had positive views and 15 percent had no opinion or never heard of him.