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Obama Carries Momentum into N.Hampshire

Posted January. 08, 2008 08:16,   


The biggest issue in the U.S. presidential race is if Democratic Senator Barack Obama, the winner of the Iowa caucuses, can keep his momentum going into the New Hampshire primary Wednesday.

Obama is leading New York Senator Hillary Clinton in the polls. Consequently many experts say Obama will win New Hampshire on the strength of his victory in Thursday’s Iowa caucuses, and will likely be the first major black presidential candidate in U.S. history. So what is behind his popularity?

Independent Voters Hoping for Change Back Obama

An increasing number of independent voters who say they hope for change are putting their weight behind Obama. According to a recent CNN poll, independent voters in New Hampshire make up around 45 percent of the electorate. Among them, 34 percent support Obama and 29 percent Clinton.

Obama also appears to be leading Clinton in the campaign trail. At a rally Sunday in Nashua, New Hampshire, around 3,000 supporters gathered to support Obama. By contrast, a Clinton event held in Concord drew only 750 people.

Is a Black President More Favored than a Woman President?

Obama is also taking advantage of the public’s preference for a black president over a woman president.

In a survey conducted by the New York Times and CBS in early December last year, 60 percent of voters nationwide said they are open to voting for a black candidate, while 25 percent said no. In the meantime, about 49 percent said they could vote for a woman candidate, but 40 percent said they would not.

A CBS survey at the end of June last year said 56 percent supported a female president while 34 percent did not, so the drastic shift in voter sentiment is a great burden to the Clinton camp. Female voters in Iowa also chose Obama.

Obama’s Popularity Gaining Momentum

Obama’s camp believes that if he wins the New Hampshire primary, he will silence Clinton’s presidential bid and secure victory in the election.

Black voters are likely to support Obama. Unexpected results are likely in upcoming primaries including those in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, where black voter rates are high.

Other experts, however, predicted that Obama’s easy sail will end up being in a storm in a teacup. Since becoming “public enemy” for many candidates, he is expected to face many challenges in the campaign. In addition, some say even if he wins the Democratic nomination, he will likely lose to a white Republican candidate representing Christian conservatives.

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