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Monday, September 22, 2008

Racism may cost Obama election, poll shows

Washington - 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 harbour negative views toward blacks — many calling them “lazy,” “violent,” responsible for their own troubles.

The poll, conducted with Stanford University, suggests that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004 — about two and one-half percentage points. Certainly, Republican John McCain has his own obstacles: He’s an ally of an unpopular president and would be the nation’s oldest first-term president. But Mr Obama faces this: 40 per cent of all white Americans hold at least a partly negative view toward blacks, and that includes many Democrats and independents.

More than a third of all white Democrats and independents — voters Mr Obama can’t win the White House without — agreed with at least one negative adjective about blacks, according to the survey, and they are significantly less likely to vote for Mr Obama than those who don’t have such views. Such numbers are a harsh dose of reality in a campaign for the history books.

Obama, the first black candidate with a serious shot at the presidency, accepted the Democratic nomination on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a seminal moment for a nation that enshrined slavery in its Constitution. “There are a lot fewer bigots than there were 50 years ago, but that doesn’t mean there’s only a few bigots,” said Stanford political scientist Paul Sniderman who helped analyze the exhaustive survey. The pollsters set out to determine why Mr Obama is locked in a close race with Mr McCain even as the political landscape seems to favour Democrats.

President Bush’s unpopularity, the Iraq war and a national sense of economic hard times cut against GOP candidates, as does that fact that Democratic voters outnumber Republicans. The findings suggest that Mr Obama’s problem is close to home — among his fellow Democrats, particularly non-Hispanic white voters. Just seven in 10 people who call themselves Democrats support Mr Obama, compared to the 85 per cent of self-identified Republicans who back McCain.

Meanwhilwe, Mr Obama has accused Mr McCain of wanting to gamble with the retirement savings and health care of Americans by subjecting them to the uncertainty of open markets. As the government prepared another costly bailout of the reeling US financial system, Obama said McCain’s support for privatizing Social Security and opening up the health care system to market forces would put Americans at financial risk. He attacked McCain for supporting some degree of privatization of Social Security retirement funds, a proposal President George W. Bush made a centerpiece of his 2004 White House campaign but was unable to push through Congress.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Who said racism in America is dead? And let's be on the lookout; they are sure to assassinate Obama. They killed Martin and Malcolm for much less than the "audacity" to run for president.