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

Poll: Obama's candidacy not affected by racial divide


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(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. Obama: Carter's 2nd Term

    It is Obama that brings up race!

    Obama = 2nd Carter term. Obama said he was willing to negotiate with those enemies directly and "without precondition" that sound like Carter. This is why I say Carter’s 2nd term. Would he have done this with Hitler in 1940? Would you? I see many 3rd Bush/McBush terms and no one questions it. I had added why I think the 2nd Carter term after being asked about it. Obama backers claim to be open minded and yet some bag on views different than the one they have. I am not against Obama b/c of lack of experience. That is a non-issue IMO. I am against him for his views and lack of them.

    June 23, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. kim makoni

    i dont know why people are getting worried about race he is one of us white mother black father so why do people think he would do more for african american . you mean to tell me the man would forget to take care of people who carried him in her womb for 9 months he is closer to his mother than he is to his father , i still dont get why we call him black when he is 50%white and 50 black we have a lot of to learn and teach from this situation . i have seen more mixed marriages than we did in the past .we are better off not bringing this up we are only making it harder for our kids lets be logical about our statements about race we are all humans we all bleed the same black , white and every other race lets look at the real issues here and the future
    one love in america we have to set the example for the rest of the world
    one love to all humanity

    June 23, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. Bobby

    obama/ ron paul

    June 23, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. k. affary


    June 23, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. its character stupid

    I am in an interracial marriage and I can not stand Obama based on his lack of principles.

    Race does not matter to me... honesty, decency and convinction matter.

    Obama is a dirty politician.

    June 23, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. Phil

    That's all the GOP has to go on. McSame has nothing on Barack. What do you do when your opponent is a decent man? He has a beautiful wife, and beautiful kids. What is an oppnent to do? You try to attack his race, of which Barack is proud.

    Go Barack, we are with you. We are with you.

    Obama 08

    June 23, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. it is his lack of principles

    Race or gender do not matter to me.

    Character and honesty and conviction do.

    Obama is not what he has been pretending to be.

    He is a race baiting sexist who lies and cheats to win.

    June 23, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. Gadissa

    who cares about race? Icare about Gas, food, health school and housing. Probably a few empty minded people may worry about race.

    June 23, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Cat

    Obama is definitely not incompetent nor the people that support him, Anyone that can use that word so freely after the mentally challenged president we currently have does have a race issue. How else can you justify your arguments that lack any hard evidence? He will be our next president and just in time we need someone intelligent and can think outside the box. Any one who can raise the amount of money he has and run the campaign he has is not incompetent just the people who call him that are.

    June 23, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. Tim, MN

    This is crazy if he is half white and half black the two parts are equal! Skin color should NEVER be an issue any time any place. Not that I don't think the Democrats are stupid for handing the nomination to the person with the lesser votes, but I am puzzled why after almost 200 years have past since the civil war we STILL use the color of a persons skin to decide weather they are worthy or not. Get a life people just say no to racism and sexism it's the 21st century! Mr. Obama has single handily change multiable generations views on politics. Last but not least.........................White male Hillary supporter here. However racism and sexism leave a bad taste in my mouth.

    June 23, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. Nancy

    smile smile America...
    Your time to shine above many is here again...
    And neither hatred nor prejudice will stop it...
    it's 21Century...
    Percive the whole world and try to think out side the box...

    June 23, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  12. Phil, FL

    Shut up already about Hillary.

    Vote Barr, McCain, or Obama.

    GeT REAL

    June 23, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |

    Race has nothing to do with who becomes our President. Personally, I resent the insinuation that if I don't vote for Obama and help him make history by being the first African American to become President, then I must be a Racist. His flip flop on Public Funding has shown he is a typical politician. And I think using a "copy" the Seal of the President of the United States for his campaign is disrespectul and degrading. History is not near as important to me right now as who will best represent my beloved United States..

    June 23, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. A recovering Republican

    Surprise, surprise, surprise:conservative Republicans tend to be racial bigots.

    This is a whole new election with a whole new electorial map. Maybe the pollsters should take a break for several weeks instead of updating us daily or even hourly by polling on different slices of the same pie.

    10 years sober.

    June 23, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. Alice in Florida

    The only one who keeps bringing up race is Obama the race card player, and he is the biggest racist of them all! He sat in a hate-filled racist church for 20 years and exposed his daughters to that garbage. Obama is DISGUSTING, and I am SICK of him!


    June 23, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. lacks substance

    Black is beautiful... I should know...

    But Obama is a fake... he is advancing himself by playing the race card while pretending that he isn't.

    Also he pretends to come from humble beginnings. HuH? Raised by 2 white grandparents in Heaven-on-earth (Hawaii) and attending private schools and parochial schools. Humble?

    That is why we don't like Obama EVEN though he is black.

    June 23, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. evelyn

    Obama is the man of the moment and the White House is his finally stop and its has nothing to do with the colour of his Skin.

    June 23, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. issac

    Obama is perfect not only for united states of America but he can bring the world together. He has the ability to change the divided world.The idiology of the world at this time for America is not good. we need change.Real change!

    June 23, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. Kenneth M


    June 23, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  20. Native Opinion

    I'm Native American and can spot forked tongue.

    I can not stand the hypocritical self-serving Obama.

    Hillary Clinton has actually shown her concern for my people.

    So it ain't race... it is qualifications and character.

    June 23, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. Dinee for HRC

    I am a Navajo Woman and I support HRC and not Obama.

    Obama is just another false leader making false promises.

    Hillary is the real deal.

    June 23, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. Sam

    Obama needs to find a VP who reflects his own style and message. Biden is not that guy. Hillary isn't the right person either. Both are Washington insiders who have been playing the game for decades.
    Obama will not lose without Hillary (and it's spelled "lose" NOT "loose". "Loose" is what you are in the head, if you vote for McCain.

    McCain is his own worst enemy. He appears addled and mentally fuzzy, and his political positions are obviously being fed to him by a corporate Republican machine. If he continues to appear to be a pawn of the machine, he'll lose.

    June 23, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  23. rotten man

    People of all races and ethnicities and religions and backgrounds are seeing the true Obama- a do nothing self-serving self-impressed pandering politician who played dirtiest of all.

    He wins by cheating, lying and trashing his opponents... not on his own strengths or merits. Apparently he has none.

    Not race- it is the man that we can not stand.

    June 23, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  24. kel

    I think this racist crap needs to stop. What does the color of some skin have to with runing this country. I think Obama will make a better President and will do a good job in the white house. Also we need to stop using race a fear tactic and vote for the right man,
    OBAMA 2008 FOR President

    June 23, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  25. Leonard DiWilliams

    any chance the article can speak to the situation in the other direction? as in, how black senstivities will come into play and what percentage McCain can hope to get from the black race.

    Not quite sure why discussions of :"recial sensitivites" and wht part they will play in any election always address only if whites are fair enough to consider Obama as their man. As you can see, that is not an issue.

    However, if McCain struggles to get 10 – 15% of the black vote, what should we file that under?

    June 23, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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