This February 2007 column from the Chicago Sun-Times looks very prescient today:
You "experts" assume that just because viable, credible black candidates end up winning overwhelming majorities of black votes that polls currently showing Hillary Clinton leading Obama among African Americans are somehow important.
In Illinois, at least, large numbers of black voters tend to take their time making up their minds. In political parlance, they ''break late.''
Ten months before the March 2004 U.S. Senate primary (about where we are now before the Iowa caucuses), Obama's own polls showed him winning just 34 percent of the black vote. About a month before the primary, African-American voters began ''breaking'' in large numbers to his candidacy. As they began focusing on the campaign, black voters saw he was viable, liked his message and a significant percentage finally realized he was African American. He ended up winning just about all their votes.
Rich Miller blogs Illinois politics here.