Sunday, September 21, 2008

Race in the race

Keeping with the theme of the week, an article out from the AP today presents the finding of the most comprehensive survey yet to measure the effect race is likely to have on the presidential campaign. Republicans like to say that race will have nothing to do with it, that they are voting for McCain becuase of his ideology and experience. And the study found that to be true, which shold be obvious. Republicans wouldn't vote for Obama no matter what race he was.

But independents and democrats are another thing. Using modeling methods from Menlo Park based knowledge networks, researchers at Stanford measured for racial attitudes among white independent and democratic voters, and then filtered for such things as who they voted for in the primaries and who they plan to vote for now. Among the findings:

40% of white Americans harbor some negative attitudes toward blacks.

More than 1/3 of white Democrats and independents agreed with a negative adjective about black people such as "Lazy" "violent" or "boastful."

Independents are even more likely than Democrats to have negative feelings toward blacks.

17% of Hilary Clinton's white backers plan to vote for John McCain.

All told, negative racial feelings among white independents and democrats amount to a 6% handicap for Obama. That is likely enough to cost him the election.

Of course, my mom would point out that ageist attitudes are working against McCain, but I think that has less of an effect on the election. The young people who don't like McCain's age, much like republicans who don't like Obama's race, wouldn't vote for him if he were twenty years younger. Those who are saying McCain is too old are also those who are saying that we should pull out of Iraq immediately.

And now for today's favorite quote about the race: "The thing that scares me about Sarah Palin is that if anything were to happen to her, God Forbid, John McCain would be president." --Roy Zimmerman


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