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. David Goldman for OBAMA

    I OFFER THOSE 12% A BIT OF HISTORY.

    OTIS BOYKIN- INVENTED PACEMAKER & GUIDED MISSILE.

    CHANEY COULDN'T DO WITHOUT EITHER.

    BEN CARSON- DEVELOPED PROCEDURES FOR

    PEDIATRIC NEUROSURGERY.

    JUST A FEW OF THE THOUSANDS OF CONTRIBUTIONS

    MADE TO OUR WORLD BY AFRICAN-AMERICAN SCIENTISTS.

    June 23, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. John McCain-McFlip-Flop-McBush is no "maverick"

    Tell Bill Schneider to get a real job. He was so off the mark with his polls and predictions during the primaries. His record is about as reliable as the weatherman's.

    June 23, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. j

    I suspect that his being biracial with a predominant African-American appearance will have an impact on whether some people choose to vote for him or not. They may not be willing to state that as the reason but I'm fairly sure that race will play some role in voter preference.

    June 23, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. pat

    the only one playing the race card is obama he wants you to think the mccain camp is doing it the same way he did to the clinton camp and it worked. but i know where it stems from, so don,t be fooled buy him claiming fowl. thats there game plan to get your sympathie. im a person who votes for experiance an i know in my heart john mccain would not do anything to hurt this country an help the people.

    June 23, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. janice

    Anti-Obama is totally race driven

    We are supposed to be a Christian nation, after reading so many of the above comments so full of hate it saddens me. What I know is that God is going to hold American accountable for its' hard-heartness.

    There are too many of you that would rather the US suffer and go further down economically and spiritually than make changes that could once again put American back on top as a super power.

    You are aware of the scandalous White House of the Clinton years
    The lawless driven White House of Bush2
    and Bush 1 was the chief in the CIA with Ollie North with the Iranian-Contra affair

    Total corruption and yet you would rather that again than let a man who really loves and wants to bring about positive reform for the people of America.

    June 23, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  6. Citizen Sane

    I don't care if he's purple plaid or lima bean green-

    if he's working to stop this ridiculous and expensive war, get my gas prices back down, then he or she has my vote

    And a lot the contributors to this blog? Your true colors are showing-
    If you think Obama's keeping the racial meme going? You're truly delusional (and maybe a tad racist)

    You're not fooling anybody, except perhaps yourselves

    June 23, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Anthony

    Every time i watch CNN, it seems you as well as FOX NEWS always
    trying to bring it up as a weapon to use against senator Obama. Please put it aside we already know that some white people just like some black people will not vote for Obama.

    June 23, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. mCBUSH

    ok i got it. people think oBama will help black people. Did you ever think we had white president for years!!!!!!!!!!!! people get back to real issues we have now

    June 23, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. Jamal Jackson

    Can you people shut up already with Obama? The more you have his face on CNN's homepage and articles about him, the more I'm beginning to dislike him.

    There are a lot of real news out there that should be on the headlines, not this arrogant man.

    June 23, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. Stephen H

    Why is it that people are not acknowledging that the racial attacks that Sen Obama spoke of had already begun before he spoke on the issue? We saw it here recently in Texas and for bloggers to ignore that fact is ridiculous. Of course the GOP will use race as one of many fear-based issues. Thats how Republicans win elections, by playing on the fear, hatred, and ignorance of the uninformed and uneducated. History, and empirical data show that negative attacks work on this demographic and the Republicans know this all too well.

    Speaking the truth about racism is not playing the so-called race card (I hate that term since it minimizes the real issue). Those of you who have dont understand this are either not paying attention or simply dont want to own up to it. Racism is an ugly evil in our society and I hope one day we can get past this as a legitimate issue that impacts the political arena. Yes, we've made progress, but we still are not there yet and dont get defensive for me pointing it out. We've still got plenty of work to do building and mending fences.

    God bless American and both candidates as we seek new leader for our country.

    Obama '08

    June 23, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. Jacob Spradlin

    And you think people are going to tell the truth on a survey like this. Usually the deep seated fears that people have don't come out in conversation. They will vote out of fear and ignorance not out of some well thought out survey response driven reason.

    June 23, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. Kuilor2k

    More hate from Mr. Flip-Flopper. Barak Obama (the selected nominee). Come on Flipper! Tell us another lie that you can get caught in before the general election. When will the stupid DNC realize that they cannot select a candidate for us. I thought the fake candidate days were over, looks like Kerry Juinor is going to be the next LOSER!

    June 23, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. cnn won't post or report this

    mccain thinks another attack on american soil will help him win ... you will see it on huffington, that is exactly what black said

    June 23, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  14. Enlightened voter

    Barak wants it to be about Race. That is why he fired a preemptory attack so that when the issue comes up and it will, he will complain about the Republicans using the Race card. and he will continue to get 90% of the Black Vote and young voters with no clue as to how race affects decisions in America.

    Fortunately for us older more mature voters that went through the civil rights era and experienced the affect of race in our careers.

    We will not vote for Obama because of his inexperience, his hidden agenda and his lack of respect for the white and jewish people that made it possible for him to attend Harvard Law.

    June 23, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. Michael

    I cannot believe some of the comments I am seeing on this blog, some of you should be ashamed of yourselves. It is hard to fathom that there are still people in this day and age that are still blinded by color and ethnicity. It is hard to believe that some still hold on to this outdated and discredited ideology that one race is superior to another, that there is such a thing as pure white or pure black. It would seem that some refuse to take the blinders off, refuse to step out of your comfort zones, and refuse to educate yourselves to the facts of race, culture and ethnicity. It is a sad testament to how immature this country is when it comes to race and cultural acceptance, sad indeed.

    June 23, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. scotty

    I dont care if hes purple he still is a empty suit. connected to not big oil but E85 the new oil if he has his way this is not a good thing. Obama is the only one that brings up the race issue and claims not to He can call us typical his followers can call us racist if we dont believe what he sez. He has brought us back on race 40 yrs. no one elst just the man of change. he just wants someone to call him a -N- but thats not a issue the real issues are the things he doesnt talk about. Wonder when he will get more free airtime to do another I have a dream reprise speach.. And another thing on race is what percent of the blk population voted Hillary in the Prime. that pretty much sez it all Wright there. this Guy is alll glitz and image look at his new Logo. all image and show with no go unless its for his own good.

    June 23, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. SIMP

    Wow you people are Obama Haters. It's sad that this country has so many racist that enter and leave comments. I'm sick and tired of you all bringing up the race, that's all you idiots do is sit back and type these hateful comments and blame Obama because you are ignorant. shut up and use this hate energy for something productive, like maybe get a job or finish high school.

    Obama

    June 23, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  18. William, from Cali!

    If only you could get a "True poll", of the people, that are really telling the truth, when asked......................that is the question.................Liars! are we all................

    June 23, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. 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!

    PUMA

    June 23, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. Ben

    American negroes have an ancestery reaching farther back in American history than 95% of any other race. How long do you have to be a decendent of American ancestors to be called American?
    They are not African Americans! They are American negroes!
    What is wrong with being a negro? The word"negro"means black.
    there is nothing demeaning about this.This is what they are called everywhere in the world in any language based on latin
    The American negro is no more African that I am!
    I .want to add one more thing. I will vote for an American. I will vote for Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh yes,I AM WHITE

    June 23, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. no one cares

    We are all so intermarried anymore that NO ONE cares about race.

    It is Obama who is creating a false divide just to drum up votes by running on the race card that he claims he does not keep pulling.

    He outsted HRC by playing up race and instigating a divide in the democrats... now he tried it again with the Republicans.

    June 23, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. jane

    WHY IS EVERYONE OBSESSED WITH RACE. LETS GO ON QUALIFICATIONS ALONE. THIS IS A FACT OBAMA SIMPLY ISN'T READY FOR AN ENTRY LEVEL POSITION. SOMEDAY HE MAY BE A GREAT PRESIDENT BUT NOT NOW. IF HE IS SO QUALIFIED WHY IS HE KEEPING IT A SECRET. AS FAR AS HELPING BLACK PEOPLE WHOEVER IS PRESIDENT SHOULD HELP ALL THE PEOPLE. I AGREE THE BLACKS HAVE BEEN ABUSED OVER THE LAST 100'S OF YEARS BUT THAT ISN'T A REASON TO REWARD ONE UNEXPERIENCED BLACK MAN THE MOST POWERFUL JOB IN THE WORLD

    June 23, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. Just Obama's ploy

    Obama is a farce... he uses race both as a shield and as a sword depending on what is working to his favor at any given time.

    We are a mixed race society. I hope he doesn't fool anyone with this transparent ploy.

    June 23, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  24. Diane

    I hope Barack will give Hillary something to do in his administration. Something where she can't do any damage and create drama because she is good at drama.

    June 23, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  25. Obama plays the race card

    I love all races and all religions.

    I celebrate the diversity of America.

    But Obama will never get my vote back after all the tricks and race baiting he has done just to trash his opposition out of the running.

    June 23, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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