Making the Rev. Jeremiah Wright the issue of the presidential campaign for the last several weeks has apparently worked (in Clinton’s favor — a feather in the cap, no doubt, for the right wing talkers who have been pushing the controversy 24/7 for all their obvious reasons).
Initial exit polling for North Carolina and Indiana have found that the rogue pastor is weighing heavily on voters’ minds — nearly half of those heading to the polls today. In Indiana 33 percent said it was “very important,” to their vote, while 15 percent said it was “somewhat important.” Those saying “very important” went 62 percent for Hillary.
In North Carolina, 48 percent said it was either very important or somewhat important, and they went heavily for Hillary too.
Now, this could mean those voters who were already going for Hillary also have issues with Wright. But it wouldn’t be surprising if Wright is somewhat responsible for Hillary’s stronger showing among white men in both states. In Indiana, according to the polling, she leads Obama among these voters 58 percent to 42 percent and in North Carolina, 54 percent to 40 percent for Obama.
UPDATE: Considering the huge — unexpected — win for Obama in North Carolina, thanks in part to a 92 percent boost from black voters, maybe the “Wright effect” was in fact a backlash in Obama’s favor. He got the same numbers among African Americans in Indiana — though they made up a much smaller percentage of the total vote (about 15 percent). Its hard to gauge at this point the real impact of Wright on this nomination fight. Could it have been overstated? Or would’ve Obama “closed the deal” already if not for the domination of the Wright issue in media coverage and on the campaign trail?
UPDATE II: Wright on, Leon!