September 22nd, 2008
02:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Race could play big role in election, poll suggests

A poll finds a small percentage of voters said they may turn away from Sen. Barack Obama because of his race.

A poll finds a small percentage of voters said they may turn away from Sen. Barack Obama because of his race.

(CNN) - A new study that surveyed racial attitudes suggests that racial prejudices could tip the balance in the coming presidential election.

If there were no racial prejudice among voters, Sen. Barack Obama would receive about 6 percentage points more support, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll, designed in partnership with Stanford University.

The results suggest that 40 percent of white Americans hold at least a partly negative view toward blacks, including more than a third of white Democrats and independents. A small percentage of voters - 2.5 percent of those surveyed - said they may turn away from Obama because of his race.

Though Obama is of mixed race - his mother was white, his father black - he is generally identified as black.

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain • Polls
soundoff (544 Responses)
  1. Dina Phila., Pa

    This is disgusting! I believe that other races other than African Americans that would not vote for Barack Obama just because of the color of his skin are just plain STUPID, IGNORRANT, DUMB, RIDICULOUS, AND IDIOTIC, need I say more!!!!!

    I know that some people would just let this country continue to go down the tubes at the hands of a White man, rather to have a Black man help this Country get out of this mess. I hope that the people that won't vote for him because of the color of his skin, never get anywhere in life, and I hope that they are the next ones to receive pink slips from the company they work for because their jobs are getting shipped to India, and I hope that they don't healthcare, and I hope that their children have the same fate! I forgot to say, and I hope that they lose their homes, or apartments and have nowhere for their families to live!

    It's not just about them and their bigotry, it's about the people that live in this country, too! The fate that they help to create in this country just because of the color of a person's skin, we all have to live with! They may be able to deal with 4 years of the same, but the rest of this County cannot! McCain is an old cancer survivor that just might not live to see 73. Then what do we have in office, a Governor with no experience in charge of this Country.

    Go ahead; make the difference for your family and the rest of us.

    September 22, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |

    We will over come... We will over come someday.... I know deep in my heart ( WE WILL OVER COME SOMEDAY! )

    September 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It ashame that people can't just look at the policies that are there presented by the candidate. Who cares how he looks. Listen to the story as to how he got there - loans and working to pay for college. That is what people should be listening to as well as his policies.

    September 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. RepublicansHateAmerica

    This IS the topic. Can YOU put aside your prejudices and vote for an African America? I can. Perhaps you someone who cannot. These are the people that need our help between now and Nov 4th. They need to see beyond color and to the vision of the future.

    September 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. mzzzrich

    Independent, the article didn't say that if you don't vote for Obama, you're a racist, which clearly you seem to be. Instead, it said that there were white folks out there who honestly admitted that they would not vote for him because of his race. This is no surprise to most of the blacks in America, who live with subtle (hidden) racism daily. I'm sick of white folks who cannot admit that they're prejudiced. Geeze!!

    September 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. Phil-Texas

    I never thought I would say I am voting for a black I mean half black man for president but I am. The way the current administration has led us into the worst crisis since the great depression.I am sure it will be remembered in the same breath as the Hoover era. Where big business just about did the country in. It is erie how much the two events are similar. Both had presidents that closed their eyes to what big business did and then had little imagination or inkling of what to do about it. Such a waste of american wealth for a few or maybe not so few greedy snakes.

    September 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. Matt of Ohio

    What anout the reverse racism? many blacks are voting for Obama simply becasue of his race and nothing more. Roland martin of CNN is a primary example of racism carried to extremes -

    September 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. Roger

    I listened to one of Obama's speeches on CNN about the bail out and I really got the impression that Obama dosen't know what he is talking about. He needs to stick to the teleprompter.

    September 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. Jude

    BO needs to put distance between himself and McSame. He will lose if the race is too close. If he doesn't lose by racism, the Repubs will probably steal the election from him. I know we don't want to acknowledge it but "race" could be the deciding factor cause it still exists in our society. Obama's just trying to be "nice" by saying he "doesn't think" race will matter.

    September 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. John Smith

    Do not forget, the color of the skin corresponds to....

    your level of intelligence

    the number of resources you have in America

    the number of dates you can have

    the extent of your social network

    the number of times you will be called upon to fight in wars and defend the other race!

    September 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. Kel in Auburn, AL

    This is the truth. The sad part about it is that so many Americans are stupid enough to be prejudiced to this degree. Our country has come so far, yet we still have so far to go.

    September 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. Mike - Texas

    The media and Nobama keep playing the race card.

    For me, race has nothing to do with this campaign. I do not like his politics.

    I was hoping for Colin Powell to run for President.

    September 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. Peter (CA)


    So how has your experienced former Texas governor doing these days? Being blinded by party is sad. I'm not sure what you mean by "lack of knowledge" but the reason why Obama is where he is now is because he is smart. Much smarter than the man now in office and, it seems, somewhat smarter than McCain also. Wouldn't it be nice to have a smart guy who makes informed decisions in the Oval Office as opposed to guys who make gut decisions, no matter the consequences?


    Be angry. But be angry at the Republicans. They started this mess, they fostered it along so that Bush could say the economy was doing fine and now they want to bail out their billionaire constituents.

    September 22, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. Susan

    America should be ashamed! If race decides this election, we deserve whatever we get with McCain.

    September 22, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. Dr. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA






    September 22, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. The Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Race is playing a big part for Obama as 90% of the blacks are voting for Obama because he is black.

    I can't believe that is fair.

    Now if the women voted for palin they would say they would be insulted to vote for a woman just because she is a woman.

    So let's vote for McCain

    September 22, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  17. Watching Closely

    Look people, this is what HRC meant when she said she was more "electable". She knew, no matter how educated, articulate, fiscally responsible, of good character and judgment Obama is, there is a good number of Americans who will not vote for him because he's black. Period. The polls the media are referring to are of those who simply admitted their biases, which is one step closer to purifying their hearts. The poll does not include those who harbor hatred behind closed doors, in shielded voting booths, in Corporate America, the education system, or the government itself. Too bad for them, because it's rather peaceful to be free from strongholds where you're able to spot good and evil no matter where it exists. My advice to them "free your mind and the rest will follow".

    September 22, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. Ariana

    Stupid racists. I hope you suffer the most when crazy McCain is elected!

    September 22, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. Trysh, Los Angeles

    And as a Black woman, I don't believe it is MOST whites; just some. I also don't believe that ANY white person who doesn't vote for him is voting against him because he is Black. I do believe that those who supported Hillary, but are now supporting McCain ARE voting against Obama because of his race. There is no logical explanation for supporting Hillary's vision which is almost identical to Obama's, then going to McCain who is almost the polar opposite of Hillary.

    Also, those who say "there is something about Obama" or "he just seems "too smooth" or "something is missing" are generally people who have a preconceived attitude about what a Black man is supposed to be and they can't wrap their brains around Obama not living down to their personal stereotype.

    If he loses, race will not be the MAIN REASON why, but it will be a small part of it. The good news will be a SMALL part of it.

    No matter what happens, this is great! We've never been this close before – and look at us now!

    September 22, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. WORD UP!

    The secret rule that only a white man can be the president of the USA needs to be broken. Obama is the clear winner in the historic contest but his race has become a obstacle for many voters. Every president since 1776 has been a white man. The time to break this trend is NOW.

    September 22, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. Tony

    How pathetic the American people are.

    At a time of the worst economic situation since 1929, unemployement at a record high, people fighting to get low paying jobs just to have a job, health insurance unaffordable, etc., people still would vote for McCain and Palin. It is absolutely mind-boggling.

    McCain, who is in large part responsible for the mess we are in by votes he has cast, BUSH and the republican party have an enormous amout to be blamed for and still people would vote to put McCain in the White House to continue doing what he has always done.

    As if that were not bad enough, he chooses some aging Barbie Doll to be his running mate simply because he thinks that the majority of women are ignoranat and apathetic enough to vote for him by doing so.

    I do not want to hear one woman who is planning on voting republican this election claim that she puts her family, her children and their futures first. A vast majority of women, especially white women who are voting republican, are exactly what the republicans count on. They are ignorant, apathetic, unaware and totally irresponsible.

    Should by some chance McCain and Palin win, at a time when things are at one of the worst periods in history, America will deserve exactly what it gets.

    September 22, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. McCain for Pres.

    If Obama loses, its because he has no experience. Sarah Palin has 10 times more experience than he does and democrats are trying to knock her. If he wasn't a black man he wouldn't have gotten this far. It is to his advantage to be half black.

    September 22, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  23. Dominique

    I think a lot of people are going to step into the voting booth and vote based on their wallets and pocketbooks. Money is green. That is the only color that is going to matter during this election cycle.

    Obama-Biden '08

    September 22, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  24. Victor

    Common racial bigots....Obama is the "whitest" black you can ever get. He's by far the better candidate in this general election.

    September 22, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. CA Felons for Obama

    We don't care what race he is. Well, normally we would, but we want a centralized government and a planned economy! Yes! Vote Obama!!!!! GIVE US COMMUNISM NOW !!! Take from the rich and give to us poor! Guarantee our jobs! Give us health care managed by our government! Nationalize our oil companies! Set wage and price controls! We want Communism and we want it now! Vote OBAMA!

    September 22, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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