06/11/2008 - A solid majority of Americans say it as at least somewhat important to the country that an African American has won the presidential nomination of a major political party. But there are wide political and racial divisions over the significance of Barack Obama's history-making achievement.
Overall, 36% of the public says it is very important to the country that an African American won a major party's nomination, while another 27% see this as somewhat important. A third of Americans say it is either not too important (15%) or not at all important (18%) that a black candidate has become a major party nominee.
About half of Democrats (51%) say it is very important to the country that an African American has secured the nomination of a major party; that compares with a third of independents (32%) and just 20% of Republicans. Republicans are evenly divided over the importance of this milestone: while 50% view it as either very or somewhat important, nearly as many (48%) say it is not too important (16%) or not at all important (32%).
Nearly six-in-ten blacks (59%) say the nomination of an African American is very important to the country; just 32% of whites express this view. Nearly four-in-ten whites (37%) believe it is not too important (17%) or not at all important (20%) - roughly three times the percentage of blacks (13% not too, not at all important).
Read the full report Most Americans See a Black Nominee as Important for Country on the Pew Research Center Web site.