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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Potentially troubling news in Clinton's Nevada win

Hillary Clinton did poorly among African-American voters in Nevada, according to entrance polls. (Photo Credit: AP)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — African Americans overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama in the Nevada caucuses, just as they did in the Michigan Democratic primary last week — a trend that could hurt Hillary Clinton in next Saturday’s South Carolina primary, where black voters are expected to make up half the electorate.

Black voters made up 16 percent of Democratic Nevada caucus-goers — and roughly 80 percent of them voted for Obama, according to entrance polls. Clinton won support from 16 percent of black voters.

In Michigan's Democratic primary Tuesday — a contest that was rendered meaningless after party sanctions — roughly 70 percent of African-American voters did not cast their votes for Clinton, choosing the “uncommitted” option instead. According to CNN exit polls, those voters overwhelmingly favored Barack Obama, whose name did not appear on the ballot.

Had Obama’s name been on the Michigan ballot, CNN exit polls showed that he would have won an overwhelming 73 percent of the African-American vote, in contrast to 22 percent who say they would have voted for Clinton under those circumstances.

If South Carolina’s large African-American community votes as Michigan's and now Nevada's, Hillary may not be feeling much ‘southern hospitality’ in that state.

African-Americans have long been firm supporters of both former President Bill Clinton — dubbed the first 'black president' by author Toni Morrison — and Hillary Clinton. But a high profile spat earlier this month between the New York senator and Obama over the issue of Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy may have done some damage to Clinton's favorability numbers among some in the African-American community.

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

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