How Black American Voters Feel About The Clintons

Or, the right way to assess African-American voter perceptions

By Carla Murphy Dec 03, 2013

Political narratives about black peoples matter–particularly when given marquee placement in the paper of record. According to a front-page article in this Sunday’s New York Times, "Eye on 2016, Clintons Rebuild Bond With Blacks," African-Americans remain, "the constituency that was most scarred during [Hillary Clinton’s] first bid for the presidency." Why? Five years ago, "remarks by Mr. Clinton about Barack Obama deeply strained the Clintons’ bond with African-Americans…."

What’s remarkable about the article–besides attributing a teenager’s hurt feelings to millions of voters and also assuming a disturbing level of unsophistication among them–is the absence of polling data. The Times’ barometer for sampling African-American voter sentiment is instead, chats with a few elected officials and media staples, Rev. Al Sharpton and Tavis Smiley. That’s like dipping a toe in the Maine portion of the Atlantic and guessing the ocean’s temperature for the entire eastern seaboard. Here’s to deeper and more complex coverage during 2014 and in the run-up to 2016.