Skip to comments.Few white voters upset about Obama victory despite lingering racism
Posted on 09/13/2010 10:08:51 AM PDT by decimon
GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Racism may be less of a factor in politics than other realms of life, according to a new University of Florida study, which found few white voters in Florida to be upset by the presidential candidacy of a black man, and many to be proud of it.
To assess attitudes among white voters in a southern state about Barack Obama's historic election to the presidency, two UF political scientists analyzed results from four statewide telephone surveys -- each involving between 449 and 829 respondents conducted in the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009. Their study was published in the August issue of the electronic journal The Forum.
"We didn't see a lot of evidence that race was paramount in the way people thought about Obama," said Michael Martinez, a UF political science professor who did the study with UF political scientist Stephen Craig. "In fact, quite a number of white Floridians both those who are Republicans and those who are Democrats took pride in a black man being able to secure the nomination and win the election."
They estimated that two-thirds of white non-Hispanic Floridians surveyed 65 percent were "proud or inspired" by a black candidate's ability to win his party's nomination for president. While that sentiment was nearly universal among those who preferred Obama 89 percent it was also shared by a substantial number of McCain supporters, 47 percent.
"I was surprised by the magnitude of the pride factor and that it extended into the McCain camp at a time when there were plenty of hard feelings on both sides," Craig said.
Despite these positive feelings, the study found that racism persists. An estimated one-third of the respondents 34 percent were upset by "blacks pushing themselves where they are not wanted," a statement used in the survey to assess racist sentiment.
"There are still racists out there, but they appear not to be applying those attitudes to a political campaign in which one candidate happens to be an African-American," Craig said. "It could be that for many of these people race is more important when it comes to who their daughter is dating or which family is moving next door to them than it is in a political context."
Part of the reason that race did not emerge as a major issue in the election may stem from Obama's biracial background and his efforts not to call attention to his blackness, Martinez said.
"During the campaign Obama went out of his way to try to overcome any anticipated problems with racially conservative white voters by noting that his mother was white and he was raised a good portion of his life by white grandparents," Martinez said. "It was no accident that he emphasized Midwestern values as a way to connect with white America."
Perhaps more important than Obama's image is the growing partisan nature of American politics and tendency for voters to see the last presidential election as a referendum on the Bush administration, illustrated by the Obama campaign's twin mantras of "change" and "no third term," he said.
"Many people judge political candidates by the state of the economy," Martinez said. "In 2008 this country's economic situation was not doing well prior to September and it was doing terribly afterwards, which really handicapped McCain going into the November election."
Measuring prejudice can be tricky because people are often reluctant to reveal socially undesirable responses, Craig said. The researchers got around this by using a technique designed to ask about racial attitudes indirectly, he said.
In each survey, participants were divided into different groups. In the first survey, for example, one group was asked to state how many of four statements, such as "the way gasoline prices keep going up" upset them but without revealing which ones. Another group responded to the same statements as well as one additional one: "a black candidate running for president."
Any difference in the average number of upset-generating statements given by the two groups was then attributed to the additional item about a black candidate, Craig said.
In two of the other surveys, respondents were asked to respond to the same four statements. In one, the additional statement was whether they were upset by "a black man being elected president," and in the other if they were upset by "blacks pushing themselves where they are not wanted."
One survey also asked respondents whether a different set of four statements, such as "American athletes participating in the Olympics" made them proud or inspired. The additional statement some respondents received was "the fact that a black candidate is able to win his party's nomination for president."
The study is accessible online at http://www.bepress.com/forum/vol8/iss2/art4/.
hunh wow. did they do a survey of “black voters” the last time a white (I mean a fully white) president was elected?
For the umpteenth time...it’s not his color, it’s his Marxism!
AL Sharpton? Jesse Jackson? Alan Keyes?
The U. S. just elected the wrong black man. Had it elected Walter Williams or Thomas Sowell, all would be right with the world.
“To assess attitudes among white voters in a southern state ...”
You want to see racism, go to New England, not “southern States.”
“.....white voters in Florida to be upset by the presidential candidacy of a black man, and many to be proud of it.”
Yeah, they are “proud” of it because it eases their guilt.
The secular LeftMedia has relentlessly ground into their psyches over the past 50 years that they should feel responsible for the “plight of the black man”.
I didn’t oppose Obama based on skin color, I voted for Alan Keyes in the GOP Texas Primary.
This meme has got to end.
IMHO I believe Obama is not only anti American but also anti white because he sat in Reverend Wright’s church for twenty years and listened to that crap that poisoned his mind and that of all his parishioners.
The majority of the racist are in the dimoKKKRAT party.
Williams and Sowell are the smartest men in America.
Indians were here before anybody. When are they gonna get a nominee? How long do they have to wait?
Cynthia Tucker simply doesn’t believe you.
Her whole universe turns on the fact she is a black woman, why shouldn’t everyone elses?
This is only a revelation to Liberals.
It’s not the color of his skin, it’s the content of his stupidity.
IF I'm willing to register and wait for access to be granted. No thanks. I'll pass.
I know a lot of people who didn’t vote for him, and not one was because he is black (well, mulatto). And I do know racist people. Hell, my grandaddy (RIP) played fiddle with Robert Byrd (I am not kidding).
And what planet was that on?
Abu Bama, the Kenyan homo, couldn’t have possibly been elected without an appreciable White vote.
What the hell is all this talk about White racism?
No more proof is needed, not that ANY proof is needed.
The main proof that the 08 election provided is that 53% of the voters are morons who dont know squat about protecting their country and themselves from destruction.
How do the 53% of voters like communism? Racial guilt and ignorance doesnt justify bringing in a communist dictatorial regime that could be quite difficult to get rid of through a fraudulent election process.
Did you morons ever think of that before being herded like sheep to the voting booths by the communist media?
Nah, didn’t think so.
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