From today's LA Times poll
African Americans would vote overwhelmingly for Obama, the first black candidate with a realistic chance of becoming president. In the poll, he carried 79% of African Americans, with 3% supporting McCain.
In 2004, Bush got 11% of the black vote, which is likely the highest a Republican will receive for the next century. My guess is that the best McCain will be able to muster is 5%. And that might be mighty generous because within the black vote there will be a ton of people who are new voters and especially voters who have just not turned up before. Some of them would have been motivated already by the prospect of a post-Bush post-Katrina presidency, but the vast majority of them are going to want to be part of the history - which the media and punditry have paid lip service to - but I simply cannot communicate with words to you how big a deal this is.
I can only use my own family as a barometer and like most normal people they rarely talk politics. Ever since Obama got in the race, and especially after Iowa, it constantly comes up. And this is from my grandparent's generation, my mom's and my own. I'm pretty sure the same thing is going on in black families from coast to coast now. John Kerry, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, were all great guys and black Americans were glad to vote for them (I sure voted for all three) but it just ain't the same. To paraphrase an exchange I've had several times with a friend of mine (who is white):
Friend: Dude, can you imagine?
Me: I know.
Friend: The president's name will be Barack Obama?
Me: I know.
Friend: And he's black.
Me: I KNOW.
And then I get a crazed smile.