Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them "lazy," violent" or responsible for their own troubles.As Inductivist remarks, these descriptions are presumably in comparison to other groups, and consequently can be seen as showing the percentage of whites who are actually paying attention to what their lying eyes are telling them.
Rhetoric aside, white uncertainty over a black President (who has a history of promoting black interests at the expense of whites that extends back decades) might cost Obama the election. In multiracial societies, people tend to vote less for policy positions and ideas on governance and more in solidarity with the candidate most representative of themselves. In the words of Lee Kuan Yew:
In multiracial societies, you don't vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion.As the NAM population continues to grow, quality-of-life concerns, wealth transfers, and other special privileges like affirmative action preferences will continue to be felt by a greater number of whites and with ever-increasing acuteness. The Democratic party will continue to become less white, while the Republican party's white composition holds steady at about 90%.
But what interests me is the information gathered from the survey that AP-Yahoo intentionally withholds. The responses of whites are presented, in addition to responses of "all respondents". Of course, AP-Yahoo could've also easily reported the responses of various non-white groups (Hispanics, blacks, other, and 2+ races). There's plenty of 'precedence' for it. Blacks were more likely to vote based on racial considerations than whites were during the Democratic primaries, and Obama's staggering domination over McCain among blacks shows blacks are undoubtedly more likely to be "steered" by their racial views than whites are. Inexplicably, AP-Yahoo did not breakdown non-white responses, however.
Instead, we have to work backwards and are only able to get responses for the 31% of respondents who are not white, rather than looking at Hispanics and blacks as separate groups.
Ten percent of whites report being less likely to vote for Obama because he is black (7% of non-whites share that view, see pg18 of pdf). In contrast, 16% of non-whites (and 6% of whites) are more likely to vote for him for the same reason**. So non-whites are 60% more likely to be influenced favorably by Obama's blackness than whites are to be influenced unfavorably by it. More generally, non-whites are 43% more likely to be influenced by Obama's race (23% of non-whites surveyed said they were influenced one way or the other by Obama's blackness) than whites (16% of whites surveyed) are.
Only one-third of the non-white population surveyed is actually black, so assuming non-black minorities share the same sentiments as whites with regards to Obama's blackness suggests 49% of blacks are more likely to vote for Obama because he's black while only 1% are less likely to vote for him for the same reason.
So in yet another way we see it verified that blacks are more 'racist' than whites are, and suggested that other non-whites are also more 'racist' than whites are. Although it's never reported in the major media, that's nothing new to members of the Steveosphere. Where the AP-Yahoo poll really could've provided insight is in asking the same questions about whites, Hispanics, Asians, etc that it asked about blacks, and then broke the results down by race. Why has there not been a query of the public on how McCain's whiteness influences voters? I suspect I know, but would certainly like empirical verification or refutation, particularly to see if a greater percentage of white voters are less likely to vote for a white candidate because of his whiteness than are less likely to vote for a black candidate because of his blackness. Unfortunately, this poll doesn't provide that, either.
The poll does reveal that half of non-whites resent what they see as undue white influence in politics (p19 of the pdf). Forty-seven percent of non-whites assert whites have "too much influence" when it comes to politics**. Only 5% say whites have too little influence. Whites, in contrast, are more likely to feel blacks have too little influence (24%) than too much influence (16%). I have a feeling demographic changes are driving average time preference in the US higher, but if things continue as they're proceeding now, patience is all non-whites need to realize the reduction in white influence half of them desire.
Finally, 38% of whites (and 28% of non-whites**) said they agreed at least partially with the statement that "it's really just a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if blacks would just try harder, they would be as well off as whites".
Yahoo calls this a "latent prejudice" among whites. How flattering. But what other potential answers are available for why blacks fare more poorly than whites? I see two: 1) Blacks have lower average IQs than whites do, and differences in outcomes largely reflect this, not some ubiquitious but invisible structural conspiracy (my position), or 2) Whites, who are inherently racist, are oppressively holding blacks down.
These respondents thus went with the least 'racist' response they had at their disposal. Their downfall was refusing to simply answer in the negative, since the question was yes/no rather than multiple choice.
* Putative, because the poll gauged how participants responded to various adjectives describing blacks, not how these perceptions are said to factor into their Presidential voting decisions. White America is very individualistic, especially when it comes to race. I'd feel more secure living in just about any neighborhood that is 90% white than one that is 90% black, but there are more than a couple black friends I'd ask to housesit for me before I'd ask several whites I know to do so. I'm hardly unusual in that regard.
** The percentage for non-whites is figured algebraically and consequently might vary from its true value a couple of percentage points in either direction, depending on rounding of the "white" and "all respondents" numbers by the pollsters, who present everything in whole percentages.