Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Will Racism Decide The Presidential Election?

A Stanford University poll quantifies something we pretty much knew: that a not insignificant percentage of white Democrats are sufficiently racist that they might not vote for Barack Obama.

Details are in this article from AP (hat tip to MJ).

The poll, of more than 2000 adults taken at the beginning of September, found that a number of white voters who self-identified as Democrats were likely to associate certain negative adjectives with blacks in general.

"Given a choice of several positive and negative adjectives that might describe blacks, 20 percent of all whites said the word 'violent' strongly applied. Among other words, 22 percent agreed with 'boastful,' 29 percent 'complaining,' 13 percent 'lazy' and 11 percent 'irresponsible.' When asked about positive adjectives, whites were more likely to stay on the fence than give a strongly positive assessment."

In total, one-third of white Democrats cited at least one negative adjective about African-Americans in general, but that didn't mean they wouldn't support Obama: of those who cited a negative adjective, 58% still said they planned to vote for Obama. That's good news and shows that many whites, whatever they think about blacks as a class, still view Obama differently. That makes sense, because whether Obama was black, white, yellow or green, his personal achievements clearly mark him as someone special.

Nonetheless, statistical models derived from the poll suggested that Obama's lead would be another six percentage points absent the race factor, which is more in line with what you would expect after eight years of disastrous Republican rule.

We don't pretent to be surprised. Racism is still quite alive in the U.S. We try to look on the good side, which is the tremendous progress made, to the extent that Obama could get nominated by a major party.

And just look at the progress on the sexism front--now, evidently ANY woman is fit to be at least Vice President, as long as her political views comport with those of the right-wing chattering class.

No comments: