In the aftermath of the New Hampshire primary one ugly truth shines through. Race is clearly still a serious problem for the Democratic Party and for many Democratic and independent voters in New Hampshire and perhaps nationwide.
How can I say such a terrible thing? It's easy. Race is the most evident explanation for the disparity between all of the advance polling, the exit polls, and the actual results of the election. Virtually every poll prior to the election showed Barack Obama with a strong lead over Hillary Clinton. Even Clinton's own campaign was predicting an 11 point loss to Obama. Yet when it came down to the voting, Clinton won by a 3% margin.
There's really only one conclusion. When people were polled before they voted, they said they were going to vote for Obama. When they were in the privacy of the voting booth, they actually voted for Clinton. They wanted to look like they were open-minded, but when it came to actually acting, they chose based on race. The only explanation is the main distinguishing difference between Clinton and Obama: race. When push came to shove in a very white, very Democratic New England state, they chose the white woman over the black man.
I guess that lying to the pollsters shows at least some awareness that they ought to be voting on a color-blind basis, but clearly that moral impulse didn't go very deep and was overwhelmed by fear or caution or plain old racism when they had to make a real commitment.
The problem isn't limited to Democratic voters. Independents seem to have faced the same choice and made a similar decision. Despite telling pollsters they heavily favored Obama right up until the start of the primary, when it came to voting, independent voters seem to have flocked to John McCain, the whitest and safest alternative they could find.