June 23rd, 2008
10:45 AM ET
14 years ago

Poll: Obama's candidacy not affected by racial divide

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[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/05/art.obamamc.gi.jpg caption=""]
(CNN) — While the issue of race may be front and center this election cycle, a new poll suggests that Americans’ racial attitudes may have little overall impact on Sen. Barack Obama’s historic candidacy.

An ABC/Washington Post poll conducted June 12-15 indicates that roughly three in ten Americans express “less racially sensitive views,” such as having some feelings of prejudice or generally believing that African-Americans in their communities do not experience discrimination. Sen. John McCain holds a 26-point advantage over Obama with this group of voters.

Of the 32 percent of white voters who admit experiencing feelings of racial prejudice, 31 percent think Obama would “do too much” for African-Americans if he is elected president.

WATCH Bill Schneider's analysis of the latest poll

Among the roughly 2 in 10 white voters with “high racial sensitivity,” however, Obama leads McCain by 19 percentage points. (This group of voters is most likely, among other things, to have interracial friendships and/or believe that African-Americans experience discrimination.) Among white voters with a “medium” level of racial sensitivity, McCain leads Obama 18 points.

The overall result? McCain is favored among all white Americans by 12 points (51 to 39 percent). According to CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider, McCain’s edge among white voters is consistent with how well Republicans have done in several of the most recent presidential elections.

In 2000, Al Gore lost white voters by 12 points. In 2004, George W. Bush had a 17-point advantage over John Kerry among whites.

Schneider notes that, if Obama is going to win in November, he will most likely have to do as well as Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton did among white voters.

In 1976, Carter defeated then-President Gerald Ford in part by only losing the white vote by five points. In 1992, Bill Clinton lost the white vote to George H.W. Bush by only one point.

The poll, conducted by telephone with 1,125 adults for a sampling error of plus or minus three points, found that while the overall prevalence of prejudice hasn’t changed much in recent years, Obama’s candidacy has improved voters’ outlook for the future of race relations.

60 percent of African-Americans and 38 percent of whites believe that Obama’s candidacy will help heal the country’s racial divide.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (216 Responses)
  1. Kareem Rashad From Hampton, Va

    I think the racial divide affects RATINGS more than anything!!

    June 23, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    The racial non-sense has started in Texas!

    Wait until it cranks up in the heart of Dixie!

    Remind people that McCain wants to continue the Bush Farce, aka The Iraq War! That should be enough, dontcha think?!?!?!

    June 23, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. Wake Up

    oooooo, looking forward to these comments!
    Will you keep it even CNN?
    Or is even this question too extreme for your tastes?

    June 23, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. 123456789

    Hey Democrats for McCain.......Thank you for voting with us, However we feel you are laughing stock of politics and could never truely welcome you turncoats......we will enjoy your votes and "USE" you to the fullest. Do you expect anything from us in return.......LMAO

    McCain 08

    June 23, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Ryan

    No Obama EVER – Hillary or will stay home, along with Millions who will do the same. My vote, my choice.

    June 23, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. Mike

    To me, Obama's race has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    It is his politics that I disagree with.

    June 23, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. BROOKLYN

    GOD!!!!!
    What a baby... He is HALF BLACK people!!!! This is yet another "poor me" I came from nothing political formula!!!!

    What ever happened to no more "Politics as Usual"???????? I actually believed him... What a joke.

    June 23, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. Demorat to the bone

    And why shouln't he help out african americans? they took him in when he was to black to be white. We accepted him when the "typical' white person wouldn't. Obama is a great guy. He is bi-racial. please don't be afraid of him. He is for all people. He is not racist at all. Remember his mother is white. God love us all.

    June 23, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  9. Marge Hibbing Mn

    It is effected by incompetency and obama has a heck of a lot of it....But then we see by the record the incompetents who support him.

    June 23, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. puff

    The only racial divide is sitting right with obama's mouth. He is the one to keep bring it up. Give it a rest.
    He knows he can't win straight out. This is just one more of his smoke and mirrors.
    Go back to Chicago, I hear your dear friend Pflaeger is back in town.

    June 23, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. Enlightened Voter -

    Let's be honest here folks, racism is alive and well. Sadly, there are plenty of bigots in this land of ours and we all know someone who is a racists. There are some people who although they know Barack is the better candidate and that john mcwar as our president would ruin this country, just couldn't bring themselves to vote for a black man, even if it is for their own good. That's not only ignorant, it's pathetic.

    June 23, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. Wake Up

    You white people make me laugh. It's politically correct for you to say that the race was stolen from Hillary or that Senator Obama is inexperienced, or that HE is pulling the race card, or that a white man, one Father Pfleger, told the truth on all of you. However, let the year be 1908 instead of 2008 and white people would have called the spade the spade. Its too bad none of you can be honest with yourselves.

    Too extreme CNN?

    June 23, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. Cathy in MD

    Just wondering … What moderation criteria does CNN use to deem a comment “appropriate for posting?” Some of the comments I’ve read (as in response to “Clinton fulfills girl’s graduation wish”) – which are not worthy of repeating but apparently met this criteria – seem to suggest that CNN is encouraging and facilitating an atmosphere of hatred, bigotry and ignorance. This only helps to fan the flames and makes you, CNN, part of the problem.

    June 23, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. Yes.We.Can.

    Its a new day! Congratulations America for getting past this enormous shameful hurdle. We aren’t there yet. but getting there fast!

    June 23, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  15. dee

    Come on guys, look at these pictures...McCain bright and smiling...Obama dark and worried...CNN is this another OJ picture made to cause concern with white people...How can this not be about race when you in the media are adding fuel to the fire...People will have enough bias unreadinesses without you helping...Can you all just be fair and let the outcome be whatever it is??????

    June 23, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. james smithington

    Racism is alive and well in America, but I don't believe it can define us as a nation. It is hate & hate is repulsive, let those in the minority who embrace it, wallow in it!

    June 23, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. Angel

    To say race will not play a huge role in this election is a fairy tale. To say you'll vote for a person and to actually vote for them are two completely different actions. This year, the polls mean nothing.

    June 23, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. Brian

    I don't think any kind of polling is going to give you an accurate idea of what voters will do once they're alone in the voting booth with nothing but their ballots and their beliefs.

    We can only hope that America has come far enough to see a minority candidate not only trusted to act on behalf and in the best interests of all fellow Americans, but also elected to the presidency.

    Obama '08!!!

    June 23, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  19. Cyp

    I believe, McCain is a more balanced and sincere candidate.
    Besides his service to the country has been outstanding.

    June 23, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. Wake Up

    You white people make me laugh. It's politcally correct for you to say that the race was stolen from Hillary or that Senator Obama is inexperienced or that HE is pulling the race card, or that a white man, one Father Pfleger, told the truth on all of you. However, let the year be 1908 instead of 2008 and white people would have called the spade a spade. It's too bad none of you can be honest with yourselves.

    June 23, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. Jasmyne

    The media can be blamed for about 90% of the racial overtones of this election. There is no integrity in the media. Journalists will try and create hype over the most non-issues to try and make a story. CNN along with other news sites should be ashamed of themselves for consistantly trying to force a racial wedge between Americans

    June 23, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  22. Down with Obama

    It will be more effected by Obama being an empty suit!!!!!!!!!

    June 23, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  23. Justin (ny)

    I don't understand how this poll shows that obama's "candidacy not affected by racial divide"... seems to me that this poll proves the opposite.

    thanks cnn. wonderful headline.

    June 23, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  24. ProundToBeRepublican

    MIke stop lying His race matter to you and most white people. Stop lying to your self .

    June 23, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. Wake Up

    You white people make me laugh. It's politically correct for you to say that the race was stolen from Hillary or that Senator Obama is inexperienced or that HE is pulling the race card or that a white man, one Father Pfleger, told the truth on all of you. However, let the year be 1908 instead of 2008 and white people would have called the spade a spade. It's too bad none of you can be honest with yourselves.

    June 23, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
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