Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said he is confident that he can capture at least a third of the country’s African-American votes, drastically cutting into a demographic President Barack Obama swept during the 2008 presidential election.
In 2008, 96 percent of black voters (13 percent of the overall voter turnout) supported Obama. Obama also won 43 percent of white voters’ bids of confidence, one of the largest shares for a Democrat in a two-man race in recent history.
“The African American vote, I am confident, based upon black people that I run into, black people that used to call my radio show, black people that have signed up on my website to support me,” Cain said. “I believe, quite frankly, that my campaign, I will garner a minimum of a third of the black vote in this country and possibly more.”
Cain’s campaign regained momentum this weekend in Florida when he won the state’s GOP straw poll with 37 percent of the vote. His closest finisher was Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who captured only 15 percent of votes.
However, some say the straw poll is unimportant, and that the support for Cain was only a backlash against the frontrunners, Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Romney and fellow top-tier candidate Michele Bachmann also skipped personal appearances at the poll, which hurt their performance. Nationally, Cain has only 51 percent name recognition among Republicans.
Obama also drew criticism from some in the black community after a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus instructing them to “take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying. We are going to press on. We’ve got work to do, CBC. “
Cain also said that it will help that Obama already breached a historical barrier by becoming the country’s first black president.
“I think that they’re over this first African-American president thing,” Cain said of black voters. “I think that is behind them.”
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Kase Wickman is a reporter for Raw Story. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and grew up in Eugene, OR. Her work has been featured in The Boston Globe, Village Voice Media, The Christian Science Monitor, The Houston Chronicle and on NPR, among others. She lives in New York City and tweets from @kasewickman.
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