A new AP-Yahoo News poll about the elections included a whole section focusing on the role of race.
You can read all about it here: Poll: Racial views steer some white Dems away from Obama
. There's links there too to the poll methodology and the full poll results
Now BBB already did a thread
with a copy/paste of that full article. But what caught my attention was the graph that came with the article, which she didnt post. And it caught my attention especially because it clearly showed something that the accompanying article, interestingly enough, never touched upon. Namely, that when asked about their impressions of "blacks", white Democrats were shown to have significantly more positive impressions and associations than white Republicans and Independents.
Now the article does point out that there's still plenty of white Democrats who have negative race-based reactions towards blacks or the idea of blacks as well; that's not in question. In fact, much of the article focuses on the hurdle that this could potentially throw in Obama's way. After all, Republicans who have negative impulsive reactions on the basis of race wont vote for Obama, but not necessarily for that reason; they have many reasons not to vote for the Democratic presidential candidate. But Democrats who have negative race-based reactions, on the other hand, could end up voting for McCain even if they might well have voted for the Dem candidate had he been white.
Those are all valid points. But it still struck me that, even with all the politically topical spotlighting of potential white Democratic "deserters" crossing over to McCain because of race, white Democrats on the whole come out as less burdened by negative prejudices than other whites. And while the article may not emphasise this, it sure seems worth pointing out here, considering the endlessly repeated talking point from the right that actually, it's the Dems who are the most racist, and the Republicans are the good guys on race.
Here's the graph - since Yahoo News stories tend to disappear over time I've put a copy on Imageshack:
Now every general association with "blacks" or "whites", collectively, can be said to be racist, whether it's a negative or positive association. But it still seems to me a wholly different kettle of fish if people associate "blacks" with specifically negative traits, than if they give the nod on associating neutral or positive traits with them.
Of course, you have to keep in mind that the differences between the whites of different partisan identification here is just a gradual one. On most of the associations, the difference between Democrats and Republicans seems to be about 10%. Like, 15% of white Dems have a specific negative association, while 25% of white Republicans have it; or 15% of white Reps express a positive association, when 25% of white Dems do. So it's obviously just a question of extent rather than some kind of all or nothing, black and white thing (um, no pun intended).
But still, the fact that significantly more of the former thing (associating "blacks" with specifically negative traits), and less of the latter thing (giving the nod on associating neutral or positive traits with them) occurs among Republicans than among Democrats seems significant. If nothing else, the next time Republican supporters are groping for why blacks are still opting to vote Democratic en masse, they might keep this in mind. Maybe some part of the reason is that many blacks are aware of which party they can at least expect less
race-based hostility in.