22 September 2008

Race & The Election

Not long ago I posted on the Democratic Convention and, in passing, mentioned this column from Slate in which the author, Jacob Weisberg, suggests that should McCain beat Obama - given an unpopular war and a economy in the hopper, among other things - the only plausible explanation would be racism. I agree. There are simply lots of white people who cannot bring themselves to consider voting for a black man. And they are apparently don't mind admitting as much. Here from the hardly left leaning New York Daily News:
Poll: Barack Obama could lose six percentage points on election day for being black

Updated~ Monday, September 22nd 2008, 10:13 AM

Six percentage points is the price Barack Obama could pay on election day for being black.

That disturbing calculation was found in a groundbreaking new Associated Press-Yahoo News poll conducted with Stanford University which probes the effect of the Democratic presidential candidate's race on his historic campaign for the White House. "There's a penalty for prejudice, and it's not trivial," Stanford University political scientist Paul Sniderman told the AP. In a close contest, racism "might be enough to tip the election," Sniderman said.

Still, the Illinois senator seems to be making some headway even with white Americans who don't have much good to say about African-Americans. Among the white Democrats who think blacks are lazy, or violent, or boastful, two-thirds said they will vote for Obama over Sen. John McCain, a white Republican.

The poll of 2,227 adults was conducted Aug. 27-Sept. 5, and was designed to probe people's racial attitudes and how those attitudes affect voting.

It shows that when it comes to race, there has been some progress in America: Most white people have positive things to say about black people.

Still, pollsters found that a substantial portion of white Americans have very little contact with African-Americans - and many still harbor negative feelings toward them.

Whites also have a rosier view of race relations than blacks. When asked "how much discrimination against blacks" exists, 10% of whites said "a lot" while 57% of blacks said "a lot."

Asked how much of the nation's racial tension is created by blacks, more than a third of whites said "most" or "all."

Meanwhile, nearly three-fourths of the blacks polled said while people have too much influence in U.S. politics.

Also, the perception that voters in their 20s and 30s might go for Obama because they're less racially biased than their parents might be wrong.

The survey found no meaningful differences in the way younger and older whites viewed black people. But older whites were more likely to say when they really think of blacks than the younger generations.

Not surprisingly, racial prejudice tends to be lowest among college-educated whites living outside the South, the pollsters found.
I've posted the Daily News headline & story here just to suggest that this is not left-wing hyperbole. I urge yo to follow the link I've supplied above and check out the poll results directly. The picture is not pretty. Nor is it much of a surprise. I will also add that Paul Sniderman is a first rate political scientist, so I have confidence in his analysis of the results.

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Blogger Public Squalor said...

As has been pointed out elsewhere, reporter Ron Fournier is a purported Republican and this AP story may represent an attempt to move race to the forefront of the campaign.

23 September, 2008 19:10  

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