Persily on North Carolina and Indiana Primaries

Press contact:
James O’Neill 212-854-1584 Cell: 646-596-2935
May 5, 2008 (NEW YORK) – Columbia Law School Professor Nathaniel Persily, an expert on American politics and election law, is available to speak with reporters about the implications of Tuesday’s presidential primaries in North Carolina and Indiana.
Nathaniel Persily, Professor of Law, can be reached on his cell at 917-570-3223 or at [email protected].
PERSILY: “The expected split decision in Tuesday’s primaries in Indiana and North Carolina will reinforce the trope about the differing constituencies supporting Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The media will continue to describe him as the choice of African Americans and Chardonnay Democrats (well-off and educated) while Clinton will be seen as the candidate of older voters, women and working class whites.
“This trope would be accurate if these demographic groups were, in fact, uniformly supporting one candidate. That argument can only be made with respect to African Americans, 90% of whom support Obama. It is true that Clinton wins white women, but in Pennsylvania that meant she won 68% of white women, not that they were supporting her in comparable numbers as African Americans were supporting him.
“As for college educated whites in Pennsylvania, the candidates basically split that group evenly (with Obama slightly ahead among those with a post-graduate education and Clinton with those with merely a college education). Similarly, although Obama won among those with incomes over $200,000 he only won 57% of them, while losing by about ten Percentage points among other income groups.
“The point is that the candidates do ‘better’ among certain constituencies but this race is not one that pits certain subgroups of the party uniformly against each other.
Nathaniel Persily, an expert on voting rights, election law, constitutional law, and American politics, has been a court-appointed expert for redistricting cases in Georgia, Maryland and New York, and has served as an expert witness or outside counsel in similar cases in California and Florida. He has an upcoming book on the Supreme Court.
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