Monday, September 22, 2008

Open Discussion: How Much Will Racism Hurt The Obama Campaign?

I'm pretty busy at the Day Job today, but there's no way I couldn't present this weekend's controversial AP/Yahoo poll results to you guys for consumption and discussion. I report, you decide.

Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them "lazy," "violent," responsible for their own troubles.

The poll, conducted with Stanford University, suggests that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004 — about two and one-half percentage points.

Certainly, Republican John McCain has his own obstacles: He's an ally of an unpopular president and would be the nation's oldest first-term president. But Obama faces this: 40 percent of all white Americans hold at least a partly negative view toward blacks, and that includes many Democrats and independents.

More than a third of all white Democrats and independents — voters Obama can't win the White House without — agreed with at least one negative adjective about blacks, according to the survey, and they are significantly less likely to vote for Obama than those who don't have such views.

The findings suggest that Obama's problem is close to home — among his fellow Democrats, particularly non-Hispanic white voters. Just seven in 10 people who call themselves Democrats support Obama, compared to the 85 percent of self-identified Republicans who back McCain.

The survey also focused on the racial attitudes of independent voters because they are likely to decide the election.

Lots of Republicans harbor prejudices, too, but the survey found they weren't voting against Obama because of his race. Most Republicans wouldn't vote for any Democrat for president — white, black or brown.
I should note, the above survey was conducted by The Associated Press, Stanford University, and, institutions that allegedly unbiased and nonpartisan. Unlike prior polls, this one was internet based, presumably because they felt respondents would be more truthful when not interacting directly with a human. So, perhaps more so than any other poll to date, this one should reflect the true sentiment of those surveyed. Take that as you will, but I'd suggest reading the entire article before you comment.

Again, no time for real opinion/analysis here, so I'll turn this one over exclusively to you for discussion.

Question: How much of a threat to Obama's campaign do those who harbor negative opinions towards blacks pose? Is this poll proof that racism still exists in America, or simply a reflection of the specific questions posed? Does McCain's age pose an equally difficult obstacle in his run for the White House? How about Palin's gender? How about Joe Biden's awful hair-plugs and mullet combo?

Poll: Racial views steer some white Dems away from Obama [AP]

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