Before swallowing the “skip the south” meme whole hog, Democratic presidential aspirants should take a look at R. Neal’s post “The Changing Southern Demographic” at Facing South. Neal’s summary of the trend of the South’s African American demographic is especially interesting:
…While the Black population in the South is growing in numbers, the percentage of Black population as compared to the total has declined overall, presumably because of the increase in Hispanic and other minority population. The percentage of Black population decreased in Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, increased in Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi, and stayed the same in Louisiana and Tennessee. (The figures for Louisiana seem off, but perhaps the data was collected before Katrina.)
A key word in the above graph being “overall.” But Neal also provides this snapshot table:
Percentage of Black population (2005):
South Carolina 28.5%
North Carolina 21.0%
West Virginia 3.1%
Pretty much the whole south, with the exception of KY and WV (are they really southern, anyway?) has a higher percentage of the Democrats’ most loyal constituency than the nation as a whole. Five southern states have double or better the national average. Given these numbers — and a strong presidential candidate — Dems should be able to win a few southern states.