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. Roger

    A 34 year old white man here. I'm not voting for Obama, I'm voting for McCain. I'm not listening to any race cards, so don't even bother. McCain is the change that this country needs. Not some new entry in "Great Moments in Black History".

    September 22, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Find out the facts....

    Like Senator Obama said last night on 60 Minutes.
    "There will be people that do not vote for me because I am black and there will be black people that vote for me because I am's a wash."
    It is very sad that some in our country still cannot see beyond the color of skin. I am hoping with the next generation starting to vote, they vote with their minds and not with hate of someone merely because they are not "like" them.

    September 22, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. Poor bammy

    Wow... every week or so, someone plays the race card of sympathy for Obama.

    Anyone who does not vote for Obama is a racist.


    And EVERYONE who did not vote for HRC and will NOT now vote for Sarah Palin is a SEXIST.

    At least racism is not the same evil that sexism is. That is the worst hurdle for any good candidate. No sympathy voters for women.

    September 22, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. James

    Who does this article surprise? It can only be the people who do not want to acknowledge that race and racism is still a factor in America.

    The polls in West Virginia said over 20% of the Democrats would not vote for Obama because he was Black. In Kentucky it was between 15-17%. And those were just the ones bold enough to admit it.

    You don't have to be a racist to not support Obama. But to deny that there are people who are specifically voting against a Black man is juvenile and immoral.

    That is the reason he is not 15-20 points up in the polls, apart from the fact this is almost a 50/50 country between Dems and Repubs.

    Race does matter. So there are millions of people who will continue to vote against thier own self interest to spite a Black man.

    September 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. White Mother for Obama!!

    Sick of the Economy
    Sick of Racism
    Sick of Lobbyist
    Sick of Oil Prices

    Sick of Republicans

    I am white and I am for Obama!!!
    My Husband is white and he is for Obama!!!

    Whites for Obama!!! Is that a racist statement???

    September 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. ZEPPO

    Opompous can’t win. If you look at the AOL straw poll (where McCain is winning every state) and match it against the electoral map and you give Obama every state where he got more than 39 percent of the vote, even then he still looses by a landslide.

    The Dems picked the wrong candidate.

    OPOMPOUS thought his 3AM text mesage to tell Hillary she is not picked was cute.

    OPOMPOUS thought that playing ADDICTED TO LOVE after Bill spoke at the convention was cute.

    OPOMPOUS thought that he can call Palin a pig and McCain an old fish and noone would notice because he is sooo cute!

    OPOMPOUS thought there was 57 states!

    OPOMPOUS has never had a real job!

    September 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. brownie

    inuk of the north September 22nd, 2008 2:38 pm ET

    Obama will lose because he is the new Jimmy Carter.

    And we all remember how good that was, as if.

    McCain will lose because he is the new/old George Bush.

    And we all remember how good that was ....

    September 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. Jatovi, NC

    It's sad but this is the world we live in. A lot of people only see color. Obama has offered much more than McCain yet the race is close. The world is 80% in favor for Obama, yet here in America many people are so focused on the color of his skin that they will not listen. I think it's really sad when people say "Obama stole the nomination due to reverse- racism," or "Obama played the race card" because then what are you doing when you say that? You are focusing only on his race and even worse trying to tell others to do the same. Listen to what he says. Yes he is black, get over it. He is a very intelligent guy who has great ideas, brings people together, listens, and can lead. If you are one of those who sees Obama only as a black man, then close you eyes and listen to what he says and do the same for McCain, then make you decision. My guess is that you'll vote for Obama if you do this.

    September 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  9. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    If this is the case, then why isn't McCain ahead?

    September 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. College Students for Obama University of Michigan

    Since Senator Obama is both black AND white, those too ignorant to
    vote for the black half, can always vote for the white half.

    (See how stupid prejudice sounds?)

    DEMOCRATS 08. Go Blue!

    September 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  11. Palin has more experience than Obama

    The race card has been OVER PLAYED so much. If Obama does not win it does not mean it is due to race. It might mean people saw he has no experience!!!!

    September 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. Stupid Hockey Mom

    "his credentials and resume are non-existent"= RACISM; DENIAL AT ITS BEST

    As for HRC people claiming "reverse racism"- that would wash if sexism wasn't an issue- and she milked that one all the way. Find a new one, traitors!

    September 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. Susan Thatcher

    I won't vote for Obama because I don't believe that he has the experience or personality to lead the country in these times, not because he is black. My ideal candidate would be Colin Powell. He has the military background, demonstrated leadership abilities, and experience in dealers with foreign leaders and affairs. Were he the candidate I'd vote for him in a heartbeat

    September 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  14. Cindy from NC

    IGNORANCE = BLISS....Those types of people don't care about the economy nor America. They just care about their closey held dimented views.

    And for those of you that don' t know...Hillary's campaign threw race in the mix, so knocked it off w/ the nonsense because I was one of those people who were supporting Hillary at first until they pulled that mess because we don't need that kind of division right now and never will.

    September 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  15. R.I.P. RUSH

    Its sad that in 2008 there are people who still believe those sterotypes about blacks, what's ironic is that most other cultural feel the same way about whites, as whites feel about blacks. ( Mostly lazy thought)

    September 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  16. Biff

    I love how people like "yeah right" and "race baiting works" can just BRUSH ASIDE EVERY FINDING THAT DOES NOT FIT INTO THEIR NARRATIVE....

    it is SELECTIVE to dismiss FACTS. PERIOD.

    it is a fact in America. IT IS A FACT IN AMERICA....



    September 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. Big Bill from Brooklyn

    In many respects, The Civil War completed the first phase of The American Revolution. In many respects, The Civil Rights movement completed the second phase of The American Revolution. In many respects, the willingness of a predominantely white nation to elect a black President would complete the third phase of The American Revolution. I know it is difficult for many Americans - white, black and brown - to contemplate a black President. But Americans do the difficult all the time. We are a great nation, and no matter what the outcome, will be a better nation for having gone through this exercise.

    September 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. Linda, NY

    I would be interested to know if there are an appropriate number of younger voters being polled. I'm trying hard to be optimistic here but I do believe that there may be a group of white people out there who would not admit to their families and friends that behind the curtain they pulled the lever for an American man who happens to be a man of color. If racism brings McSame/Palinator into office we will all be suffering the hangover even if we were not at the party.

    September 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. ryan

    This is a silly survey. National percentage points mean nothing. Even if we would be up by 6 percentage points nationally, I'm pretty sure 5.5% of those point can be accounted for in notoriously red states. That's the beauty of the electoral college!!!

    September 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. Ted:Canada


    I am impressed with the amount of white people who support Obama despite his mixed ancestry.


    Without a single word being said – watching the white people and mixed race people that have come out to support Obama has sent an

    An extremely – PROFOUND MESSAGE !!!!!

    Coming from a white older Canadian – well done! my friends!


    September 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. barbara

    The American people are to smart to vote against the best candidate because of race. We have to have confidence. We can't afford 4 more years of the same.

    September 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. wow!!!!!!!!!

    GOD SEES NO COLOR.....evangelicals: sinners and racist

    September 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. Stephen

    No one has mentioned that 97% of blacks voted for Obama in the primaries. Racism has been kept alive by the minorities...I know I'm ready to let it die, but every time I'm called a racist because I'm not voting for Obama, it comes right back up.

    September 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. YoungGrad

    This couldn't be any more pathetic on America's part.

    I'm really upset by this. Really upset.

    September 22, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  25. Mike

    I heard Sean Hannity on the official station of Racism and Ignorance,Fox News. Gushing over Sarah Palin and her wonderfull town of Wasilla Alaska. He spent at least ten minutes going on and on about her beautifull (all white) town that she ran as Mayor. I lived in Alaska for three years. granted Wasilla is pretty in that it is surrounded by beautiful mountains. Wasilla is also the Methamphetamine Ilegal narcotics Capital of Alaska. It has a worst Meth Drug problem than the large city of Anchorage. Now if spin master Sean wants to fawn all over Palin thats fine but if Fox wants to be fair and balnced. then ask Sarah what she did as Mayor to address the horrible drug problem in tiny Wasilla. Sorry Repugs, I am a white guy who drives a pick up truck and lives in a trailer. However I am not ignorant.

    September 22, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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