During the final stretch of the Democratic primaries, exit pollsters queried respondents on whether or not race was an important factor in choosing who they voted for. In all six of the states in which the question was asked, blacks were more likely than whites to say the race of the candidates influenced their vote.
Gallup conducted a national poll after Obama had won the Democratic nomination inquiring into whether or not Obama's race would make respondents more (or less) likely to vote for him, or if it would have no influence on how they voted. Blacks were nearly twice as likely to be influenced by race as whites were (22% to 12%).
As if overwhelming black support for Obama during the Democratic primaries, when he was running against the wife of the "first black President"--an advantage as lopsided as Democrats enjoy over Republicans among blacks in general elections--didn't make it clear, polls consistently show blacks to be more racially-motivated than whites are.
It's not that the focus on white racialism is unimportant. The 12% of whites who self-describe as being influenced by Obama's blackness represent around 11 million voters. The 22% of blacks who say they are influenced come to only 3 million or so voters. Even though whites are the least racialist group in the US, white racialism is of greater absolute electoral importance than the racialism of other groups because there are so many more whites than there are blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. It's the intentional omission of reporting on greater racialism among other groups that is obfuscating (and also disingenuous).
The internet allows for those who are interested to look past the headlines created to fit the media narrative, however. The exit polling data from the Democratic primaries are what Richard Cohen looked to when lamenting perceived white racism in America, while the actual data show blacks are actually more 'racist' than whites are. The Gallup poll showing blacks to be almost twice as likely to be influenced by race as whites are headlines with "Most Say Race Will Not Be a Factor in Their Presidential Vote".
Another recent poll to require a little digging for the full picture to come into focus headlines with "Whites May Exaggerate Black-Hispanic Tensions". Whites are less likely to rate relations between blacks and Hispanics as "good" than either blacks or Hispanics are. There is some street tension between blacks and Hispanics--my observation is that it exists primarily among young black and Hispanic males--but there is also shared solidarity among them as oppressed minorities in a white America. Reminding minorities that they are non-whites (rather than blacks or Hispanics) facilitates this solidarity.
That's news enterprising libertarian white guys like my dad need to consider. The view that Hispanics will create a more tolerable working class than the blacks they will do battle with and then replace in the inner-city is mostly fantastical.
But there's a more interesting psychological insight to be gleaned from the poll: Members of an 'outside' race tend to see more tension in the relations between members of two other races than members of those two other races see among their own race and the other race. That is, whites are less likely to view relations between blacks and Hispanics as good than either blacks or Hispanics are; Hispanics are less likely to view relations between whites and blacks as good than either whites or blacks are; and blacks are less likely to view relations between whites and Hispanics as good than either whites or Hispanics are.
This is a common tendency in the US--the farther a person gets from his own life, the worse he perceives things to be. Surveys consistently show Americans to be much more upbeat on their own personal economic and quality of life situations than they are on the economic and quality of life situation of the country as a whole (this is in contrast to China, where the reverse seems to be true). While Congressional approval ratings are virtually always below 50%, Congressional incumbents win reelection around 90% of the time.
Finally, this gem from a Pew study released last February:
On Super Tuesday, Hispanics were more likely than whites to say that race was an important factor in deciding their vote--28% of Hispanics said this compared with 13% of whites. ... Blacks who said race was important (29% of all black voters) were more likely to vote for Obama than were other blacks--87% did, compared with 80% of blacks who said race was not important.* I consider the term value-neutral, much like the word "familism" to which it is related. "Racialism" is usually a better word choice, but in the common parlance "racism" tends to be used.