Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Will black nominee boost low rural black turnout?

With only three weeks to go until Election Day, we are getting perhaps the last big round of analysis of the voting patterns of two key demographics -- rural voters and African-American voters. Joseph Williams of the Boston Globe combines the two to look at rural African Americans, and says that voter turnout for this demographic is difficult to predict.

This uncertainty is even more pronounced in the South, where the percentage of rural blacks turning out to vote is significantly lower than among their counterparts in metropolitan areas. "People in the Southern countryside tend to have lower incomes and poorer educations, but the difference is especially pronounced when race is considered," Williams writes.

Lonnie Mosley, an African-American factory worker from South Boston, Va. (pop. 8,500), says disillusionment with politics has kept him from voting for the past 11 years. The 2000 presidential election, which centered around disenfranchised black voters in Florida, proves that whites "run the system," Mosley says. "They've got so much power over the black community. They have the upper hand."

But others see this election as a chance to change the political scene. "I talk to people coming out of the barber shop. I talk a lot about Obama. I talk positive," said Wayne Ferguson, the owner of a predominantly black barbershop in South Boston. "We have a chance to make history. We have a chance to make a difference. You never know until you try, and every vote counts. More so now than ever." (Read more; hat tip to the Daily Yonder)

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