Mon., October 11, 2010 2:43pm (EDT)

Black Voters Crucial For Democrats
By Melissa Stiers
Updated: 3 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
Barack Obama got black voters to turn out in record numbers in 2008, but political analysts say getting a high African-American turnout will be a challenge for Democrats this election.  (photo by Valerie Renee via flickr)
Barack Obama got black voters to turn out in record numbers in 2008, but political analysts say getting a high African-American turnout will be a challenge for Democrats this election. (photo by Valerie Renee via flickr)
African-American turnout could play a key role in how the Democrats fare in the general election. But not as many are expected to go to the polls next month.

African-Americans turned out in record numbers to vote for President Barack Obama, but he’s not on the ticket this time around. Political analyst Andra Gillespie at Emory University says overall turnout will be down simply because it’s a mid-term election.

"That’s the challenge for democratic candidates this year. They need to have every black vote in order to have a hopeful win in the governor’s race," says Gillespie.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes has gotten key endorsements from black leaders in the state. That will help him, says Gillespie, along with his past stance on Georgia’s once controversial flag which featured the stars and bars emblem of the confederate flag.

"The fact that this man lost an election in part because he took an anti-racist stance," says Gillespie, "is something that has not been forgotten amongst African-American voters."

Still, she says all this doesn’t mean they will be energized to go to the polls for him.

Black voters make up about 30 percent of Georgia’s electorate.