President Obama’s campaign will likely need the kind of strong black turnout he received in 2008 to win re-election, particularly if some of the white independent voters who backed him four years ago opt for the Republican candidate because of frustration over the president’s tenure.
Here’s a look at five states the president won in 2008 where the black vote is critical to his chances.
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1. North Carolina
Obama won this state, becoming the first Democrat to do so since 1976. But he won by only about 14,000 votes out of more than four million cast.
He combined collecting 95 percent of the black vote with a strong showing among white voters as well. (Obama received 35 percent of the white vote, compared to the 27 percent John Kerry earned in 2004 as the Democratic nominee).
With such a narrow margin of victory, Obama may actually need a higher black turnout than in 2008 to win the Tar Heel state to make up for a white vote that is likely to be less supportive of the president.
This is why Obama’s team sent campaign manager Jim Messina as well as actress Gabrielle Union to North Carolina Central University for an event last month, looking to rally both young and African-American voters.
Like North Carolina, this is a traditionally-Republican leaning state Obama won through appealing to white and black voters in urban areas. Also like neighboring N.C., Obama won in part because he performed stronger among white voters than previous Democratic candidates.
But blacks were more than 20 percent of the electorate in 2008 in Virginia, a turnout that will need to matched for Obama to win there again. The president won Virginia by about 6 percent in 2008 and both parties expect a closer race there in November.
To see the rest of the five, go to theGrio.