November 5th, 2008
08:37 AM ET

Just who elected this man?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/05/art.voters3.copy.jpg]
Soledad O’Brien
CNN Anchor and Special Correspondent

Think the campaigning was challenging? The hard work begins today.

Here's what people have to remember. Black people didn’t elect Barak Obama. Yes, African Americans turned out in overwhelming numbers - 96 percent of African Americans nationwide voted for Obama.

But it was the Hispanic vote, too, that put him over the top. People debated whether Latinos would vote for an African American - they would and they did. 67 percent of Latinos who voted, voted for Obama.

Young voters turned out for Obama - 66 percent of voters under the age of 30 - voted for Obama.

New voters - who made up 11 percent of the electorate in this highly anticipated election year - 68 percent voted for Barak Obama.

And white voters... 43 percent of them, that's tens of millions of white voters, voted for Obama.

The promise of America is a promise for everyone–not just for "Joe the plumber," but all Americans who represent the diverse and changing face of our nation.

Filed under: 2008 Election • Barack Obama • Raw Politics • Soledad O'Brien
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Rodney San Jose Costa Rica

    It would be logical to think that it was the 96% African Americans, the 67% of the Latino vote, the 66% of voters under the age of 30, the 11% of new voters and the tens of millions of white voters, who elected Senator Obama as the 44th President to the United Sates of America.

    No, in reality, the true credit goes to all those who died on the battlefields during the nations Civil War. To that one person who did not sit in the back of the bus.To all those who marched on to the Washington Monument. And finally, to all those who have tried but have not succeeded but give others hope to keep trying.

    That is who got this man elected.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  2. deborah king

    I agree with your analysis, but it irks me when others comment that we voted for Obama because he's black. I did not vote for Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. I could've cared less about their political platforms. They weren't "presidential" to me.

    Initially, Obama appealed to me because I had become very tired of listening to the divisive talk . And he was sick of it too. Next, I grew to love and respect many more things about him.

    And, I, like millions of black people, have voted for white Americans
    for eons. I have never heard any black person complain that Reagan, Nixon, Bush, etc were elected because they were white!

    November 5, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  3. hilly

    To say that 92% of blacks voted for Obama solely because they share the same skin color is simply inaccurate and sounds like the remark of a bitter voter. The REASON Obama won the popular vote is that people who felt forgotten by our government and our country finally found someone (regardless of skin color) who gave them hope not only for their future but for their country’s future. Skin color is not what made people who had never in their lives voted suddenly decide to get out of their house on a Tuesday and stand in line in the rain and cold for hours to cast their ballot. Last night after Obama was announced the President Elect, I went outside to the streets of Washington, DC and saw people of all different races, age, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicities unite under the common banner, not of an African American, not of a Democrat, but of an individual who can lead an America that doesn’t just say all things are possible but actually live the creed.

    So, Jim, still sound racist?

    November 5, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  4. Nicole in Birmingham

    To Jim,

    I know you are hurting being that McCain lost and I have to believe that for this reason alone caused you to make that very ignorant statement. Since you mentioned Jimmy Carter, Why don't you go back and see what percentage of blacks folks voted for him and Clinton. You might be surprised to know that in almost in every election held in this country we blacks folks have always voted Democrat. It just feels really good this time around to vote for a Democrat that looks like us.

    And I want to let you know that you are correct! We black folks do not agree with all of Obama positions or views but compared to what McCain/Palin was offering I would rather take my chances with Obama.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  5. Faye Tibbs/ Illinois


    It is with you that I hope to begin to help in the process of change. I have voted for white presidents all of my life, is that racist? The fact is none of them could have won as some desired without my black vote. Join me today in celebration of this historic time accept the outcome speak positive and trust me you'll feel better about life and yourself. In other words now that you have tried on my shoes I ask you to keep them and make them fit comfortably, and walk with me and the rest of the America in Unity as we make this journey and live up to the name it holds. United States of America

    November 5, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  6. Sheen Ali

    Obama also got the Pakistani and Indian votes, they are a big minority in America, and if Pakistani's can put aside his comments about Pakistan. I think that is a great victory for Obama. He is the only candidate that I was personally involved in. It took some doing, but I think I did good.
    Woohoo Obama

    November 5, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  7. Rachel

    I am a white, senior, grandmother and I am extremely proud of America who not only gave Obama the popular vote but the electorial vote. Now maybe we can all set aside our differences. The young people will see how study, schooling and faith in God has moved this man into being the most powerful man in the world. This is not by chance he won this election. He's learned well the lessons of life and will be able to know our plights and have empathy. God Blessed him with a good mind, his Grandma and Mom gave him gentle loving care and violla.....we have something wonderful. I feel the winds of change and it is wonderful.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  8. jim

    I believe 92% of blacks voted for Obama. That is racist. There is no way that many blacks could agree with Obama's position. They voted for him because he was black. The white voters will realize their mistake after 4 years of the Obama. He will be what I call a black Jimmy Carter who was the last Democrat president to campaign on Change.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  9. Mitch

    I am Asian American and this choice was clear for me from the beginning. My eyes were overwhelmingly flooded with tears seeing my African American brothers and sisters speak about the struggles to get here today. I became extremely proud to an American today, and I think many ethnic and minority groups feel the same way. My gay Caucasian friends feel the same. It is such a ubiquitous feeling of pride and joy to know that the face of America will never be the same after yesterday. This is what President Obama has done and will continue to do. For the first time, we are all truly unified as one.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  10. Mark

    I am very proud of my country and hope that this historic election really does ring in a new era for all of the people who call America home. As the father of a bi-racial son, this election is personally important and gives me hope that I can raise him in a world where the color of his skin really is less important than the character of his person.

    As a gay man in America, I can't help but feel some sadness as well. As long as bigotry, fear and hatred continue to suppress gays and lesbians, of all races, religions and creeds, we can't claim to fully be a land where all people are treated fairly and equally. I'm certain that many lgbt citizens voted faithfully for the Democratic party and Barak Obama.

    And yet, we continue to support a party that is only slightly more tolerant and slightly less discriminatory of who we are. In fact, many of those who voted for Obama in California must also have voted for Proposition 8. How disappointing.

    I hope President Obama can indeed heal the nation. But I hope he realizes that it is more than just McCain supporters who need to know that he hears their voices. Hearing him mention "Gay Americans" in his victory remarks felt good. Now let's see what more he brings to these 10% of Americans.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  11. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Soledad, this election has shown that white America can rise above race, while black America is still stuck in it. With 96% of blacks voting for Obama please don't tell us that race was not a major factor for them. If the black vote had split 85/15 instead of 96/4 the results today would have been different. So please don't tell us America has risen above race when this election was decided by racism.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:23 pm |
  12. George Jones

    When is someone actually going to negatively comment on the 96% black pro-Obama vote? McCain had good points. Nearly half of America voted for him, but only 4% of blacks. Racism obviously was a huge factor in this vote. I'm white, and voted for Obama. McCain, financially (given his tax plan), would have been a better selfish choice for me. But I voted according to how I think everyone should vote. Who is the best man for the country, not necessarily just for me? I understand this was a huge steppingstone for blacks, and thus their vote is partly justified. But still, racism is racism, and someone should call them on it.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:16 pm |
  13. Ty Williams

    I'm a 26 yr old bi-racial female in AZ. I thought really long and hard about my decision to even vote this year. My main purpose was to vote on the Prop. to keep marriage, male & female (The way God intended it to be). I didn't agree with everything either canidate had to offer. The abortion issue is what made me not so sure about Obama. The war in Iraq that McCain supported really bothered me as well. But, after looking at all of the issues on both sides, I came to the terms that Obama would be a better president. And after watching everything last night, I was proud to be apart of history. It never started out as a race issue for me. But, to be honest it ended that way (I saw the bigger picture). I cried so much last night and even this morning. Tears of joy!!! I thought about how far black people specifically have come to make it this far. The history of our ancestors speaks for itself. I am so proud of my decision!!!!

    November 5, 2008 at 1:10 pm |
  14. Nancy Merriman

    For all the break downs and statistics you generate, would some body please break it down to the real bottom line. Americans who bought the fear tactics voted for McCain. Americans who were fearless and believe we are all equal voted for Obama. It was the right thing to do.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:09 pm |
  15. Liz

    What is wrong with “Joe the plumber”? He could be Black, Hispanic, new voter, young voter. I think the connotation of “Joe the plumber” is that all working, hard working Americans could be “Joe the plumber”. Of course, just like anything else that came from McCain, the media twisted this one too. Obama could have been a terrorist and he still would get elected by how the media represented him. There was no stopping him. History shows us that these kind of people, charismatic people, were the worst kind of leaders and dictators in the world. Ideology is not a good thing.

    Please post my response.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:07 pm |
  16. Leah Farrell

    And I'm proud to say that I am one of those white voters that voted for Barack......

    November 5, 2008 at 1:05 pm |
  17. Lisa

    Today is the happiest day of my life. I am one proud American Hispanic woman. Barack has opened the doors for all of us!!!Yahoo!!!!

    November 5, 2008 at 12:58 pm |
  18. JC- Los Angeles

    As an Independent, white, male, voter, I couldn't bring myself to vote for anyone other than Barack Obama.

    His flawless campaign and determination to lead our nation to a better tomorrow, had nothing to do with race, religion or creed and everything to do with bringing a polarized nation together.

    I'm hopeful this is the end of smug leadership within the White House and corporate america, and the media's fascination with race over character.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:46 pm |
  19. John

    It's amazing, after so many years a half-white man has been elected president! What could be next? A one-third white woman?

    November 5, 2008 at 12:42 pm |
  20. Liz

    What is wrong with “Joe the plumber”? He could be Black, Hispanic, new voter, young voter. I think the connotation of “Joe the plumber” is that all working, hard working Americans could be “Joe the plumber”. Of course, just like anything else that came from McCain, the media twisted this one too. Obama could have been a terrorist and he still would get elected by how the media represented him. There was no stopping him. History shows us that these kind of people, charismatic people, were the worst kind of leaders and dictators in the world. Ideology is not a good thing.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:39 pm |
  21. Larry

    Soledad, I thought you were a person interested in the genealogic background of african-americans. If you really were, then you would know that POTUS-elect Obama is of Arab-African descent on his dad's side and that going further back you would see that he is actually descended from Arab slavers who bought and sold Africans.

    I admire Roland Martin for seeking out his family tree, thru use of DNA. its really important to know where you come from so that you know who you are and can relate all the connections that had to take place to arrive at you.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:37 pm |
  22. solange

    Congratulation America(USA)

    Now, don't be too disapointed or too happy, remember to be Realistic and Patient.

    May God Bless You with Wisdom for this new Era you decided to follow!


    November 5, 2008 at 12:37 pm |
  23. Madeline Carrasco

    Why isn't NC being called for Obama? He's leading by 12,163 with 100% reporting. I can't find an explanation anywhere.


    November 5, 2008 at 12:36 pm |
  24. Jeremy

    Could you please explain how you do these 'projections', sometimes with less than 1% of the vote counted? I noticed one state you projected for the candidate who was behind at the time the projection was made with very few votes counted. Thanks.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:29 pm |
  25. Liz

    What is wrong with "Joe the plumber"? He could be Black, Hispanic, new voter, young voter. I think the connotation of "Joe the plumber" is that all working, hard working Americans could be "Joe the plumber". Of course, just like anything else that came from McCain, the media twisted this one too. Obama could have been a terrorist and he still would get elected by how the media represented him. There was no stopping him. History shows us that these kind of people, charismatic people, were the worst kind of leaders and dictators in the world. Ideology is not a good thing.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:28 pm |
  26. So. Texas

    I'm one of the Hispanic Voters for Barack Obama. I listened to his message– Skin color mattered not!!

    I've never judged anyone by their skin color, but rather on their character -how they treat others... I believe MOST of Americans believe that people are in fact, CREATED EQUAL. White Supremists out there are greatly outnumbered!!!

    Thank God Martin Luther King's Dream has been realized.

    (I am extremely disappointed in Texas, however– RED STATE– count me out of that one!)

    November 5, 2008 at 12:28 pm |
  27. john

    As I see it the economy won it for Obama, but his plan to tax the rich will bring us back to Jimmy Carter days, double diget inflaion and job loss. it will take four years off tuogh times, for America to think straight.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:17 pm |
  28. Donna Gromer

    Please don't make this election a racial issue. It's so much more than that!
    We the majority of the people have elected not a black man but an extreamly qualified man whom I believe will go down in history as the best president we have ever had. So many people showed up to vote this election and we sent a strong message not only to our broken government and our own country but also the whole world. We are tired of talking about petty issues. We want results. We want fair and just leadership for our own country and also fair treatment for forein countries. We want to be known as a country who governs with wisdom instead of the big bully who pushes for what he wants regardless of who suffers in the process.
    I am so proud to be an American now.

    November 5, 2008 at 10:40 am |
  29. Sheree Hawkins

    Dear Soledad,

    I don't know if there are any words that can describe the present feelings in the hearts of so many Americans. Although I am a young African American female, I refused see Barack simply as a Black presidential candidate. I am immensely proud that Barack is African- American, but the fact is, Barack represents us all. Last night Barack did not simply pave the way for African Americans, but Barack knocked down the door for EVERYONE!

    Thank you America for being on the right side of history!!

    November 5, 2008 at 10:35 am |
  30. Michael Priller

    I was born in America, I was raised in America, I pay taxes in America,
    and today I am proud to be American. The future of our children for the first time in a very long time shows hope. The World looked upon the American people last night in hopes that we would do the right thing and we did!!!!!
    My ten year old daughter sat next to us watching the events unfold, Mattie asks about not only the events of the U.S. but that of the world such as economic issues, military strife in Georgia,issues in Africa, and the overall viewpiont of the world in relation to the U.S. This is our future a ten year old that follows current events, a ten year old that knows the time for Global change is now....

    Thank You Barak Obama for taking the challenge, thank you Barak Obama for reaching my daughter and so many other young people, THANK YOU MR. PRESIDENT....

    November 5, 2008 at 10:29 am |
  31. Dee Charles

    It is disturbing. We do not vote simply to whom we can relate to because of race...The issues mattered. On Education and Healthcare, McCann did not represent me....I am a teacher, some of the issues he proposed to resolve the problems were not not answers at all....A Big Overwrapped Band-Aid.

    November 5, 2008 at 10:22 am |
  32. M Arthur

    President elect Barack Obama won both the electoral and popular vote. However the percentage discrepancy between the two counts leads one to question if our electoral election process is broken. I think this would be a good topic for our experts to explore.

    November 5, 2008 at 9:57 am |
  33. Donald White

    We The People Of The United States Of America ! And by the way where's Joe The Plumber Now? LOL

    November 5, 2008 at 9:55 am |
  34. Diane - IL

    I read that 52% of people who make over $200,000 voted for Obama. Also, let's not forget the Asian-American vote. The West Coast and Hawaii have heavy Asian populations that helped to carry Obama. This is a historic election, not only because an African-American was elected, but because Americans of all races and ethnicities could think beyond race. This is the real America. Some day, I hope to see an election where race, religion and gender are not part of the campaign.

    November 5, 2008 at 9:48 am |
  35. Jen McG

    I am wondering why all of America is referring to Obama as the first African American President or Black President. It seems when the media refers to Obama as Black , when he is a Mulatto,they are justifying the "one drop of black blood rule" from the slave days. In my eyes Obama is not black .... if I were to think of him as black ... that would justify the blood rule from the slave days. Please let me know why everyone refers to him as black when in reality he is mixed .... a mulatto?

    November 5, 2008 at 9:39 am |
  36. Ananth

    Whoeever Voted this MAN, it turned out to be Good for USofA. He has Solid Demeanor, Peaceful Composure despite several unsavory attacks by GOP ticket being a 'Socialist' a friend of 'Extremist' and so on... However, it was heartening to listen both Sen McCain and Sen Obama after the results. As usual Obama was ELOQUENT and in few sentences he narrated the path of a certain Georgia Woman of 106 years age!!. In Contrast, McCain was VERY Graceful in Defeat conceding. Only blemish, I could find was, he used the term " my COMRADES"- a term commonly used by the Socialists! What a Turn over!!!
    Good Luck to President Elect Obama

    November 5, 2008 at 9:28 am |
  37. Cindy

    Who elected this man... THE MEDIA!!

    A nonpartisan study of the media baisness showed that the media was very biased in favor of Obama and very negative on McCain. So much so that they ran positive stuff 78% of the time on Obama yet ran negative stuff 74% on McCain all of the time. So we can thank the media for electing our next president. It surely wasn't us that did it.


    November 5, 2008 at 9:06 am |
  38. Michelle

    I'm a African-American. And I didn't want him to win. Even thought I didn't voted. He is not going to make in the White House.

    November 5, 2008 at 8:33 am |
  39. Adrianne

    This is a good day for all people. We the people have had enough of broken promises. Promises that only reward the affluent. Today with a lot of work ahead we can recapture our country.
    However, I am reminded of Ms. Wilhite my 3rd grade teacher, when asked what do you want to be when you grow up? I said "I want to be the first female President. She looked me squarely in the face and said that will never happen because you are black.
    You see, I had a grandmother and many other powerful strong women in my life who told me I could be anything I wanted to be.
    So this is for all the Ms. Wilhite's in the world: Barack Obama first Black President of the United States of America nothing is impossible.

    November 5, 2008 at 8:29 am |