A generation gap among black voters could be critical for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday, when Democrats vote in 11 states.
Older black voters, a reliable primary voting bloc, are coalescing around Clinton. Millennial black voters, young adults energised by groups like Black Lives Matter, appear torn between the former secretary of state and the Vermont senator.
For Sanders to have any hope of overall success with black voters, who overwhelmingly supported President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, he’s going to have to not only win motivated young black voters, but persuade older voters who’ve supported the Clintons for years to defect to him.
“Bernie has been able to appeal to younger voters based on many of the issues he has raised in his platform,” said D’Andra Orey, a political science professor at Jackson State University in Mississippi.
But, Orey added, the question is whether older blacks believe Sanders “is a viable candidate.”
Clinton is hoping her popularity with older black voters pays dividends on Super Tuesday. Black voters make up 15 per cent of all voters in the Super Tuesday states, according to the Pew Research Center, with African-American voters making up almost 1 in 3 voters in Georgia and Alabama.
Those voters helped Clinton win the South Carolina Democratic primary handily with 8 in 10 voting for her, and are expected to be difference-makers for Clinton throughout the South.