Mother Jones blog: AP Poll: Obama Loses 6 Points Due to Race

Mother Jones blog (9/22/08)

AP Poll: Obama Loses 6 Points Due to Race

If you haven’t read about the AP poll on race and the election, go take a look.

To be frank, it’s pretty disheartening. And not just in terms of Obama’s electoral chances. It says some pretty awful things about America. Did you know that more than a quarter of white Democrats feel that “if blacks would only try harder, they could be just as well off as whites”? And that nearly four in 10 white independents feel the same way? When given an opportunity to label blacks, 22 percent of whites agreed with the word “boastful,” 29 percent reach for “complaining,” and 13 percent go with “lazy.”

Update: Just saw something over at TNR — 42 percent of white Democrats agree with the following statement: “Italians, Irish, Jews and other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up; blacks should do the same without special favors.”

Wouldn’t you think Democrats who feel this way would support Obama, because he has done exactly what they think all blacks should do? If they honestly believed in an up-by-your-bootstraps worldview that was devoid of racism, they would applaud a man who has — through hard work, talent, intelligence and no special favors — beaten the odds. But in reality, just 61 percent of these Democrats back Obama, indicating that there is either (1) a distaste for blacks at the root of their answer, or (2) a suspicion on their part that no matter how well Obama hews to the “rugged individualism” ideal, he will begin dispensing undeserved handouts to blacks as soon as he takes office.

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