The Race Factor

11/07/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Hermene Hartman President, Hartman Publishing Group, Inc.; President, N'DIGO Foundation

Recently, The Associated Press/Yahoo, in partnership with Stanford University, conducted a poll via the Internet:

The pollsters interviewed 2,227 adults; 1,728 were registered voters and more than 1,000 were Democrats and fewer than 1,000 were Republicans.

The poll was widely quoted in the press, though just some of it was quoted.

The poll appears somewhat biased. However, what this poll concludes is that feelings about race in this country have improved somewhat but that in this upcoming election, there will be a 6 percent racist vote. That is, 6 percent of the American population will not vote for Barack Obama because he is black.


The demographics of the poll are: 28 percent of the people were between the ages of 45-59; 52 percent of the people were female; 31 percent had some college and 69 percent were white. Fifty-seven percent were married and 38 percent had households of two. Of those who had children, there were 14 percent with children between the age of 6-12 and 36 percent were from the southern region in metropolitan areas. The majority was employed with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000.

Most of those polled had a very favorable impression of Barack Obama with a 23 percent very favorable impression of the Democratic Party. Seventy-eight percent were registered voters. The majority of the people said they were certain to vote and had given a lot of thought to the candidates running for president in 2008.

What the Mass Media Did Not Report

Forty percent of the people said if the election were held today, they would vote for Barack Obama, the Democrat; 34 percent were undecided.

The top traits and ideas that characterized Barack Obama were: intelligence, popular, will bring about change, inexperienced and honest. John McCain's highest-rated traits were: patriotic, strong military leader, intelligent, courageous and out of touch. Forty-two percent of those polled strongly disapproved of the Bush Administration. Fifty-four percent agreed that the economy has gotten much worse. The interviewees said that 36 percent liked whites a great deal, 40 percent neither liked nor disliked blacks and Hispanics.

They said they knew a moderate amount about both candidates. Seventy-five percent said that religion would not be a voting factor. Specifically they were asked if the relationship Barack Obama had with Rev. Jeremiah Wright would influence his presidency, 61 percent said no. Forty-five percent said they would prefer Barack Obama as president and Democrats controlling the Congress. Forty-seven percent of the people said they would prefer a moderate in the White House, and the majority labeled Obama as "extremely liberal" and John McCain as "moderately conservative."

A Key Question

As for the real question of the study ... Does the fact that Barack Obama would be the first black president of the United States make you more likely or less likely to vote for him? Eighty-two percent of everyone polled said this would not affect their vote either way, and interestingly, among white voters, 84 percent said it would have no effect. Further, a key question reveals that 77 percent of the people thought wealthy people had too much influence in politics.

People were asked how often they felt sympathy for blacks. 33 percent said moderately often and 32 percent said rarely. This was the same response as answered by whites only.

The respondents described the top five black characteristics as: intelligent at school, smart at everyday things, good neighbors, dependable, keep up their property and law abiding. Thirty-nine percent said that over the past few years, blacks have gotten less that they deserved, but they also said by 42 percent the over the past few years, blacks have gotten more, economically, than they deserve.

Here is an interesting response: 62 percent said that they thought black leaders have been pushing at about the right speed. Whites thought that blacks created some of the racial tension created in the U.S., and 45 percent believed that discrimination had limited blacks' chances to get ahead.

Most of the people interviewed said that they were moderate and strong Democrats.

This interesting study is truly reflective of the country.