American Voices: African-American Voters


Tony Maciulis is a producer for the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.

It was Katie's idea. "Let's talk to real voters, and hear what they have to say." We decided in a story meeting we'd focus on some key demographics, critical groups that could have an impact on the midterm elections.

My colleagues Matt Lombardi, Caroline Horn and I divided up stories. We talked to independent voters who were steadily slipping away from the Democrats in polls from the summer into the fall. We talked to unemployed people who have a personal interest in seeing the jobless numbers fall below the 9.6 percent mark where they've been hovering. We also spoke to the young people who helped make President Obama's historic victory possible. Are they still inspired to vote today?

More "American Voices" Reporting:

American Voices: Young Voters in Boston

American Voices: Independent Voters in Philadelphia

American Voices: Unemployed Voters in Ohio

Finally, tonight we'll bring you the last piece of our series...African-American voters.

It would take a geek who followed the 2008 race from start to finish to remember some of the early polling, but luckily we have them by the boatload at CBS News. I guess I'm one of them, because I remembered a game changer moment from the spring of 2007 when both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama appeared on the same day in Selma, Alabama. They went to commemorate the 1965 voting rights march. At the time, Senator Obama trailed Senator Clinton by a wide margin among black voters. Within in a month, they were tied. By early 2008, it was no longer a contest.

CBSNews.com Special Report: Campaign 2010

It's interesting to note that black voters continue to support President Obama in huge numbers. As others fall away, nine out of 10 African-Americans approve of the job Barack Obama is doing today.

But will they feel motivated to head the polls and support Democrats on November 2? We'll discuss that tonight. Historically, African-Americans have had significant impacts in the midterm elections, namely in 1986 and 1998.

Will this election be another 1998, or will Republicans party like it's 1994 all over again?

It remains to be seen, and I'm looking forward to an exciting election night.

Be sure to join us for Katie's broadcast tonight, and for all of our coverage, brought to you by, as we called them during the 2008 webcasts, "the best political team in the galaxy."

  • Tony Maciulis

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