Mississippi has the highest African-American population of any state in the union but on Tuesday’s GOP primary around 8 in 10 Mississippians voters were white evangelical or born-again Christians, the largest share measured in any state, according to the Associated Press.
“As in Georgia and Michigan, the African-American participation level in the GOP primary was so low that it was impossible to determine whether Romney, Santorum, Gingrich or Paul was favored,” wrote John Nichols on TheNation.com.
The AP also reported the state has an unusually high numbers of voters without college degrees, a characteristic that is widely used to measure blue-collar voters, a constituency that the GOP normally dominates in the general election. Six in 10 Mississippians did not have degrees, more than any other state so far, while Alabama had nearly that many.
For insiders who follow the election cycle closely Rick Santorum’s victories in Alabama and Mississippi don’t come at a surprise.
“I don’t think these stats/demographics are out of the norm for Mississippi and Alabama,” said Brentin Mock, who reports on Colorlines.com’s voting right’s blog.
“We can probably glean, at least for Alabama, that Romney’s previous sympathies toward immigrants is probably what did him in; while for both states, the fact that there were so many without college degrees, those voters were probably endeared to Santorum’s “snob” comments about college. Maybe that was a dogwhistle as he approached these Southern states. But I’m not sure there’s much else to say. Mississippi had a chance to elect it’s first black governor last November, and these stats below show what he was up against,” Mock went on to say.