“Race” Will Affect Senator Obama’s Chances. A Gallup Survey

Over at the Gallup website, Frank Newport reports that “Most [Americans] Say Race Will Not Be a Factor in Their Presidential Vote.” In a recent Gallup phone survey of 1,102 “adult” respondents nationally (plus an extra sample of Black Americans), Gallup reported this chart on how people feel about the impact of Senator Obama being Black on votes for him:



The largest percentages of both groups are guessing there will be little effect, with about a fifth estimating some gain. It seems likely that Blacks and whites have different groups in mind too when they are thinking about “gains” here. The “cost him votes” position is chosen by 28 percent of Blacks and 26 percent of whites. It is my educated guess that this 26 percent of whites is likely the minimum percentage of whites who will actually vote against Senator Obama in November just because he is Black. The percentage is much lower when whites are asked directly about whether his being Black might affect their vote (just 6 percent in this survey), but social desirability likely kicks in when whites are responding about personal racial views to a stranger over the phone. New research on backstage racism (see also here) certainly suggests there is a very high level of antiblack thinking in much of the white population today, and this is certainly going to affect voting patterns in November 2008.


Gallup also presents another chart from this national survey that indicates respondents’ choices on a question about whether the Republican Party is likely to use “race as an issue” this November. That pattern is thus:

Some 70 percent of black respondents think the Republican Party is very or somewhat likely to make use of “race” in the campaign, compared to a still sizeable but smaller 49 percent of whites.Well, actually, this has already happened, just to take one major example, in the widely discussed case of Dr. Jeremiah Wright, whose story has been widely circulated by various Republican groups and sympathizers in the mass media. These attacks are usually straight out of a white racist framing of African Americans and their leaders.We have also seen recently overtly racist attacks on Michelle Obama from Republican Party activists and their right-wing sympathizers in the media (like Michelle Malkin who defended Fox in the “baby mama” slur).

(Note: These Gallup respondents are not registered voters, so that makes interpretations of their possible voting behavior somewhat less clear. Gallup also asks quite weak questions on these racial issues and voting, apparently with no follow-up questions asking about why people give such answers. Given how central racism is to the election this year, it seems yet another sign of the white racial framing, that many relevant questions are not asked and answered. Also, why do they not do some focus groups to get at how whites and others articulate these views in their own words?)


  1. Seattle in Texas

    White supremacy. On a similar note with relation to Obama there is an email currently circulating in Idaho and surrounding areas with a very racist video that plays on the fears of particularly the white communities in so many ways (particularly those who do not want to be associated with white supremacy and their ideologies and want absolutely nothing to do with it). If you watch it—imagine in particular how most of those folks in the white communities who never went to college or who have never been confronted with teachings of what racism is, how to detect it, etc. (outside of the extremes they are surrounded by) would view it. So, this video (and other similar types of emails) get circulated, some people watch it (or read them) and get scared, then send it to everybody they know, then everybody else gets all paranoid, etc.

    Here is the video that is in the email along with several anti-Obama videos below. The reason I attached the link is because Racismreview could take things such as these help point out why the suggestions and arguments made are misconstrued, invalid, and even false in some cases–as already done earlier with Dr. Wright. This is so totally “Northwesty” what they do in the video–the fundamentally white (oh so patriotic) supremacist creators use white supremacist imagery and language to twist and manipulate vulnerable minds of the vieweres (who in many cases are searching for just the truth about the candidates) in a way that makes it look as though they (the creators of this video) are actually being “Antiracist” and pro-Israeli, etc. Here’s that video that I wished I never watched as I just stay away from this stuff. However, because I watched it, I can have discussions with others about it who don’t know what in the hell to believe:


  2. Seattle in Texas

    and if there’s anybody who could present a mindblowing to the point analysis on the video–it’s definitely GDAWG. So, GDAWG if you watch it–tear it up and take it away if you so please! WOOT WOOT!!

  3. Joe Author

    That video will get wide use, and so will similar videos, even though most of the charges have been refuted again and again on the Obama website and by dailykos.com bloggers. It is not about truth, but about stopping a black man from the presidency, as with all swiftboating. There will be a lot more to come, sadly. No black person will be elected without much struggle in this country.

  4. Seattle in Texas

    I know it. However, the one thing that keeps me optmistic is that there are several millions throughout this nation facing it head on in a variety of ways and working very hard. But it is very clear what a challenge the right and perhaps even some of the left present. I agree wholeheartedly that it is about keeping a black man from becoming our next president as you suggest. But some of these videos and email circulations are smooth (I didn’t find that video particularly smooth–but for many up there it is…I’m sure they get worse), which I think pose the greatest threat (the smooth ones that is) because the majority of particularly white Americans are not taught to be anti-racist and don’t know how to recognize the signs–even if they are plain obvious for many. They live in a world engulfed with racism that travels in so many different ways and in so many different guises. To them racist people are those that are in hate groups…. And as you get closer to the West side, the more Liberal racism kicks in–night and day. But, one difference is that the West side of it all will keep the West Coast blue–no question. I still believe there is great hope that Obama will be our next president. 🙂

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