September 22nd, 2008
02:00 PM ET
6 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. noone

    why? barack has a little of all of us in his heart.

    September 22, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. offwallst

    95% of blacks are voting for obama....so whites are racist!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 22, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    With the trillion bail-out, 8 years of Bush, 8 years of Clinton antics, I look at the past 16 years as horrendous. One thing I've lost is faith that our elected officials are even listening to us–much less accomplishing anything.

    Now we are in crisis management mode–to prevent having to extend the house session–and stem the invisible economic bleeding on Wall Street. No debate...most Americans are outright against the plan (because they won't have an opportunity for any review or input before it's the law), and the remainder or dubious of it's benefit.

    Can anybody tell me how to UN-REGISTER to vote!!!

    September 22, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. Ken in Dallas

    Available evidence indicates that the estimate that 40% of the American electorate will base their votes on emotionalism is overly optimistic.

    McCain's whole election strategy is based on the idea of locking in the voters who vote their emotions instead of using their heads. This is the same strategy that won twice for Bush. It's something to really worry about.

    It would really be a great service to ourselves and our posterity to start using our heads for a change, though.

    September 22, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  5. Ron from Baltimore

    And to think, Lincoln was a Republican.

    Now his idealist descendants are using apparent push-poll tactics and related shameful practices to "remind" people about Senator Obama is not really "like us." Not Black enough, Not White enough--just right!

    September 22, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. California Gold

    McCain is still unqualified for office. Obama brings everything we need to the table and he will have my vote. He is also left handed, which I'm sure will be of some crucially significant unrelated matter to some poor slob.

    September 22, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. David, Silver Spring, MD

    I don't care that Obama's dad was from Africa, any more than I care that John McCain was born in Panama.

    I just remember back when the economy turned sour when Bush got in office. Rather than using the surplus to hire people to fix roads and bridges, thereby making an investment in the country; Bush and the Republicans pushed through tax cuts for businesses to use however they pleased.

    Seven years later and the economy is still in the tank and the roads are still bad.

    I don't care about race; I care about competence. That's why I'm supporting the Democrat, Barack Obama.

    September 22, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  8. Carol for McCain all the way

    OBAMA SET THE TONE – BY CLAIMING TO BE "BLACK" NOT AN AMERICAN CANDIDATE OF – MIXED RACE. Had he chosen to be like most american voters who's heritages are from "the melting" pot he might have avoided the stereo typy as a BLACK CANDIDATE. Hillary was stereo typed, but SHE WAS A WOMAN, just trashed by the media for being that ! Obama also doesn't have the EXPERIENCE needed to say he has the credentials for this JOB. John McCain has not only the credentials in ALL aspects of the JOB applications, but he's a PROUD CHRISTIAN AMERICAN with AMERICAN VALUES !

    September 22, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  9. Sylvia

    I am a woman, white and over 65. I would never ever vote for McCain or the political gimmick he chose to boost his campaign. If race is what is holding the Democratic campaign back then that in my opinion would be terribly wrong. I believe that Obama is exceedingly presidential and he is very capable of bringing respect back to the country. America could be great and looked up to again, please please don't make the mistake of judging a person by the colour of his skin.

    September 22, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  10. Matt in Pittsburgh

    I agree that racism will play a part in this year's election. Consider that over 95% of blacks will vote for Obama, many just because the man is black. That is racism.

    September 22, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  11. Honestlady

    @Bill who said....."What percentage of blacks are not voting for McCain because he's white? Could this also be construed as racist?"

    You would have a point if blacks didn't have a history of voting 90% democratic....in which the presidential nominees have been WHITE 100% of the time!!!!

    September 22, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  12. No Hillary = No Obama

    How ironic – CNN and other outlets have bent over backwards to give him the advantage because he's Black with special shows such as Race in America – What about Gender in America? We never saw that show did we?? You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink -

    September 22, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  13. no brainer!

    if those white idiots,

    after voting for bush twice,

    can't vote for obama,

    what else,

    other than their racism,

    would explain their decision?

    September 22, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. Rob B.

    I really have more faith in this country. I'm from Gen X. Both my folks are black and they always taught me to not judge people on color. My mom's best friend even though we lived in the city was a white girl who latter married my mom's brother and gave birth to my cousin. I just refuse to believe this country is controled by bigots. The Universe is not so poorly designed. Yes there are people in this country that won' for vote for Obama cause he's black. That's just how it is. But folks when people say Obama is a movement. To Gen Xer's who aren't bound by bigotry or raised in that inverment. This is our JFK. The more people use his color as a excuse the more I hear everyone of every race deal in to support him more. Obama is a movement ladies and gentlemen.

    September 22, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  15. RC

    This has to one of the most backward, unevolved countries on the palnet. And I am a white male country boy.

    September 22, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  16. Unity

    It has nothing to do with racism.

    Obama lost much of his own party during the primary- he proclaimed himself a uniter but then proceeded to attack, belittle, mock and ridicule fellow democrats.

    He attacked HRC and ALL her supporters.

    It is hard to imagine that people expect all the democrats Obama jeered and ridiculed and demeaned would ultimately vote for him.

    September 22, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. Xavier, Saint Louis, Missouri

    Tell me something that I don't all ready know. These same people who are so racist that they won't vote for Obama are probably the same ones who are unemployed, so broke that they can't pay attention, and probably voted for BUSH. But that's okay; continue to vote for race instead of logic. I hope you suffer so much that your heads fall off!

    September 22, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  18. Tremend18

    and this is surprising news?

    September 22, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  19. George

    What drives me crazy is that Obama’s white supporters didn’t know that one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks – many calling them "lazy," "violent," – when they picked him over Clinton in the primaries. Clearly, the university students and upper crust, white, elite, Obama fans have never been on the factory floor, or in a blue collar neighbor bar where this kind of bigot is very open about hating blacks.

    From what I’m reading here they still don’t get it – Obama needs to be about 6 points ahead of McCain just to offset the Bradley effect.

    September 22, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  20. Ian

    Just for the record I don't like Obama because he has no plans for the financial crisis that we face. Neither does John McCain for that matter.

    Third Party '08

    September 22, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  21. VIRGINIA will be blue

    Of course race will play a factor to older white Americans. But Americans between the ages of 18-40 look at race as a thing of the past. This is "OUR" election.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    September 22, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  22. Honestlady

    @Dan....come on over and vote for Obama. Yes, he's liberal...but i don't see that as a bad thing!! Do you want more of the same with McCain?

    September 22, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  23. Andy - Atlanta, GA

    I loved how John Edwards firmly said in a debate, that if you are voting for me simply because I'm a white man I DO NOT WANT YOUR VOTE. I believe Hillary & Obama have repeatedly made similar statements against voting along racial/gender lines.

    For once, it would be nice to see McCain or Palin make a similar statement. Wishful thinking I guess...

    They're more about... oh look! I'm a mum! are you a mum? vote for me! ...or...oh look I'm a POW! do you love your country? vote for me! we're the right color/religion/gender etc... vote for us!

    ...sad, but even sadder that it works.

    September 22, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  24. Issues Voter

    The sad state of our economy, 2 wars, loss of respect around the world, millions of americans without healthcare, and millions of homes in foreclosure, should be enough of an endictment of the past nearly 8 years of republican policies for voters to overcome their petty racism!! JUST GET OVER IT ...... MOVE FORWARD WITH THE REST OF THE COUNTRY..... vote for the good of the country and the future of your family. John McCain may have been a "maverick" someitme in the past, but now that he is running for president, it's obvious he is no longer his own man.....so, if elected, do not expect him to be "reforming" anything. $700+ bil bailout with no oversight?? Are you kidding me?? The choice this year could not be more clear...vote for the smart guy!! Obama/Biden 08

    September 22, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  25. Shannon

    that's right, according to Obama and his pathetic supporters, if you won't vote for him, you're racist. It doesn't matter that he supported FISA, the Cheney Energy Bill, he demeans women, he flip flopped on public financing, the surge, drilling, faith based initiatives, he played the race card with Hillary Clinton, he comes from a hate filled racist church, he took more money from Fannie Mae than any other Senator except Chris Dodd. He had the highest absentee record in the senate. He voted present eight times on issues pertaining to a woman's right to choose. He spouts hope and change and than lies in his adds. The man is a complete phony, but hey, I guess it's just easier to call people who actually know the issues racist. It shows such a lack of intelligence, and certainly a huge inability to take responsibility for your own problems. Keep whining about race Obama, it's such a turnoff! CNN is so in the tank for Obama, they seldom print e-mails with facts in them, that show Obama for what he is, an empty suit!

    September 22, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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