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. BJ in NC

    Are we back on that again? What do you hope to accomplish with this.? You wrote about it yesterday (Sunday), you have it in here today, and I guess you will hit on it until the election. I ask the question again, what do you hope to accomplish? I was at the rally in Charlotte, NC and it was a compilation of all races. The Whites and Latinos were just as enthusiatic as the Black who were there. There were other races there but I am not able to specifically identify them. After all, America is getting more mixed everyday. After all America is the "Great Melting Pot" a name she has had since her founding but because of the views of a few has not lived up to. Oh yeah CNN, you have a way of deleting my posts, so I don't look for this one to make it either.

    September 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. Kami in Arizona

    Its sad that in 2008 people are so scared of other races that they woud not vote for Obama adn instead vote for McCain or a third term of Bush. I have a son who is half black so i dont see race i only see people, i was hoping that maybe finally things have started to change but this has has made me realize that maybe that havent.

    Please vote on the issues, close your eyes and dont see the color of the candiates only see the isses. Then you will see that Obama is the obvious choice if we are ever going to make our country better.

    Germany among other countries embrace Obama, why is it that USA still only sees color??? We should be a leader instead we are years behind everyone else. :(

    Obama/ Biden 08 for a better life for me and my child

    September 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. Frank

    There is no proof of this! This is playing on racial bigotry to sway blacks for Obama! Biased report, right here!

    September 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  4. CNN's poll fixation

    The AP polled people with whom race was already an issue.

    Another skewed poll...imagine that

    September 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. bob in L.A.

    This has been the elephant in the room for months. Liberal Democrats may not have a problem, but moderates and conservatives still have pockets of prejudice. Had the press been discussing this issue early on, this may be a different race...er, contest.

    September 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. Marj,Paso Robles, Cal

    What percentage of minorities are voting for Obama because of the color of his skin? It works both ways, folks. I disagree with Obama on the issues. And I'm black.

    September 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  7. TheTruthHurts

    This is no news. Race, age and gender will all be at play. We're not idiots. None of us know whether they will make the difference because they play in different directions. Age is both a positive and negative for McCain. Race is both a positive and negative for Obama. Gender is both a positive and negative for McCain/Palin.

    We don't know what will happen. Let's stop speculating and start reporting some news like how Henry Paulson is being crowned KING of the USSA.

    September 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. McHoover's Hillbillies

    We have disowned a couple of people we found out were racist in the last several years.

    We have a zero tolerance for people who judge another human being by how much pigment their skin contains.

    It is the height of ignorance.

    September 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. Matt

    Tell us something we don't know. Race is the entire backbone of McCain's campaign. He is copycatting Obama in an attempt to play up the Bradley Effect. This is why he all the sudden started claiming to be for change and reform and started calling himself a maverick. His entire platform is "Vote for me. I'll give you everything the black guy is promising to give you, but I'm safe and familiar because I'm white." There's your racism in this election. Too bad for the Republicans they seem to be forgetting about Harold Ford.

    September 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. Sarah Bell

    Race? Really? I had no idea. Is Obama black or something?? He'll be fine. There are no racists in this country. Race only plays a factor when people decide who they want to be President. Besides that, there's no race problem. White's love blacks. As long as they act white and believe in everything whites do.

    September 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  11. Shari, NY

    Forty years from now race will not be much of an issue when minorities will be in the majority. The following of Republican rallies would be interesting to see then.

    September 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. Casey Henniker, NH

    Well, I'm naive but I can't help but think that this might balance out a little with people who are going to vote for Obama because he's black.

    Also I wonder about the amount of people, normally racist, who will ultimately chuck aside their prejudices because they believe the country's on the wrong track. Maybe there are people who are racist due to some kind of peer pressure and will secretly pull the Obama lever. I know this will be a small number but there's got to be some folks like that out there.

    I refuse to accept that Americans can be this stupid for three elections in a row.

    September 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Obama is REAL Change

    TRUE, those who suffer worst then most of us are going to vote for a Republican AGAIN, when we have been through HELL for the last eight years. Sadly, because of their selfish prejudice attitude we may be looking at another four more years of OLD/with so called NEW of the SAME from Bush vote along with me over 90% of the time.

    When you care nothing about something that will have a HUGE negative impact on your life, it's sad that prejudice will take control at the voting booth.

    September 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. CitizenS

    That is ok if a person wants to cling to their own racial, ethnic or cultural backgrounds. This will ground them well when they will need all the fortitude the can get to survive a Mccain Administration. But, I think the American people are NOT stupid. They will vote for the right of their country to be the power it is supposed to be with a strong economic foundation. It is call voting for R-E-S-P-E-C-T which is what we need to survive in this world of nuclear-waiting-to-happen war. Obama/Biden – the SENSIBLE choice.

    September 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. Lisa

    This is truly sad. I hope this won't be the case. This is not about race it is about doing what is right for the country. People please be smarter than what this poll is suggesting.

    September 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  16. Anna PA

    I don't even know what to think about this. Is this country still this backwards?? What is wrong with all of you white people who can't get over skin color. Barrack Obama is the clear leader.

    John McCain can't even make eye contact with the people he is talking to or the camera he is suppose to be looking at. It's because he doesn't believe what he is saying. His message just keeps changing. What kind of leadership is that.

    Anyone who is stuck on skin color should be nothing but ashamed of themselves. Our country is falling apart and you will vote to put the people back into the white house that have created our possible destruction.

    Throughout history democrats fix the messes that republicans get us into. If you want the country to improve vote for Obama and get over yourself. Your white skin isn't as great as you think it is.

    September 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. JP

    Obama could be purple or green – I don't care what colour he is. He is brilliant and honest and has a great vision for where this country needs to go to get out of the mess the Republicans have made. They had their chance – and we all can see the outcome of their ideas.

    September 22, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. mitchell

    i put my money on the guy who plays basketball,before the guy who plays shuffleboard,anyday! barack is fast. he will win any race against mccain.

    September 22, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. Daniel va

    Peoples are not fool enough to vote for four more years of lies. Ready for change yes, for the twenty first century, yes. for the best candidate, yes.So the race have no place, when you look for the future and not the past...

    September 22, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  20. Dave , Tampa

    Voters should vote their circumstances, and not their prejudices. In this
    case, the circumstances of most Americans are similar: Job loss,
    foreclosure, bad economy, storm damage, bad Republican leadership.
    These dire circumstances so far has not discriminated by race. One
    trap that voters should not fall into is racial division by the Republican Party. The repuclicans screwed all races of people evenly. We should vote accordingly.

    Democrats of ALL races dump the Republicans 08.

    September 22, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. CAPTAIN CAPSLOCK

    wow Florida hockey mom,

    I guess you are in that 2.5% not voting for Obama because he's got some dark skin..

    "boy"? Take your racism elsewhere.

    September 22, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. FreeNLovIt

    We elected OIL-BASED politicians and this destroyed our economy. Why do you want to give 4 more years to TWO OIL-based politicans, McBushain and PalCheney?

    McCain's dad died at 71-72. If McCain dies in office. Palin will inherit the throne. She had a D in economics and her state is an oil-based state with no diverse economy. If she leads the country, our economy will suffocate. She doesnt have what it takes to move the country forward. She doesnt understand the dynamics of economics.

    September 22, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. OF COURSE, RACE IS AN ISSUE, ALTHO, I DO NOT SEE WHY!

    The man is bi-racial! For the high information voter, he is a person of color as well as Caucasian! For low information voters, he is half black and half white and for the Bubba’s he was a “swirl baby” before he grew up to be “uppity”(arrogant is another favorite word for uppity). Now, hopefully we are all on the same page as to the meaning of bi-racial,

    So unless you are a little green alien from Mars(hopefully, a small voting bloc), the cries of racist are not justified.

    September 22, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. Los

    I have a friend who's been saying that this election is no longer an election, but a census. It will count how many people are still holding on to a romanticized vision of an America that never really existed, and how many are ready to have America turn into what it has been becoming for the past 40 years. If McCain wins, then it means we're just not ready for the future.

    September 22, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  25. Duh, it's the only issue...

    You're kidding right??? The ONLY thing that will keep Obama out of the White House is old school thinking.

    If Obama was a white man this race would be over.

    Hillary lost because she is old school with old school thinking (like racism).

    Yes, racism is alive and well in this country, but better believe racism will soon die.

    September 22, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
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