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New poll: U.S. more ready for black prez than female one

January 21, 2008 |  2:42 pm

A new poll just out from CNN/Opinion Research tied to Martin Luther King Day today finds blacks and whites optimistic and pretty much in agreement -- 84% whites, 78% blacks -- that a lot or moderate progress has been made toward the civil rights leader's dream of equality in American society.

But hidden near the bottom of the survey of nearly 1,400 adult Americans Jan. 14-17 is some disturbing news for Sen. Hillary Clinton heading into tonight's Democratic debate in South Carolina and the party's primary there Saturday.

The survey's numbers show that Americans are more ready for a black president than a female president. You read that right.

In Saturday's Nevada caucuses, Clinton beat Barack Obama in the total....

vote, but Obama captured something more than 80% of the black vote from the wife of the president sometimes called "the first black president." That already augured ill for her fortunes heading into South Carolina where half the Democratic vote is African American.

But the CNN poll today shows that 72% of whites and 61% of blacks believe the country is ready for a black president. That's up from 65% and 54%, respectively, two years ago. (Both polls have a margin of error of +/-4.5%.)

But asked if the country is ready for a female president, blacks and whites both are in agreement; they're less sure -- only 63% of both whites and blacks answer yes. That's up slightly (from 58%) for whites but down among blacks from 67% since December, 2006.

Interestingly, men and women remain in agreement on this issue, too. In 2006, 60% of both genders said yes and this time it's 65% female and 64% male.

Food for thought, or maybe some debate questions in a few hours.

--Andrew Malcolm

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