[Marxism] Big gains among Latinos put Obama well ahead for now

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Tue Jul 15 23:08:48 MDT 2008

As has tended to be true throughout the campaign, Obama's support among
whites runs well into the 30s, with youth across class lines the biggest
factor. But since the end of the Clinton campaign, except as a fund-raising
tool for itself, he has made massive headway among Latinos. I don't notice
that this poll takes particular note of Asians, but I suspect the shift in
his direction here has also been significant.

His core white support has now held steady for quite a long time, and I
doubt it will be decisively shaken by the fierce right-wing campaigning that
will pick up as the campaign goes on. Rev. Wright and the comments on
"bitter" white voters didn't crack it, though they were supposed to have
toasted the fellow way back when. It looks to me like no Willie Horton ads
seem like to change the drift towards Obama decisively, much less the
satirical cover of the New Yorker magazine.

That's my read anyway. It will take a lot to block Obama's election, and I
think his ruling support -- which even disciplines how far Fox News can go
against him -- is substantial.
Fred Feldman

Full results of poll:

July 16, 2008
Poll Finds Obama Candidacy Isn't Closing Divide on Race

Americans are sharply divided by race heading into the first election in
which an African-American will be a major-party presidential nominee, with
blacks and whites holding vastly different views of Senator Barack Obama,
the state of race relations and how black Americans are treated by society,
according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The results of the poll, conducted against the backdrop of a campaign in
which race has been a constant if not always overt issue, suggested that Mr.
Obama's candidacy, while generating high levels of enthusiasm among black
voters, is not seen by them as evidence of significant improvement in race

After years of growing political polarization, much of the divide in
American politics is partisan. But Americans' perceptions of the fall
presidential election between Mr. Obama, Democrat of Illinois, and Senator
John McCain, Republican of Arizona, also underlined the racial discord that
the poll found. More than 80 percent of black voters said they had a
favorable opinion of Mr. Obama; about 30 percent of white voters said they
had a favorable opinion of him. 

Nearly 60 percent of black respondents said race relations were generally
bad, compared with 34 percent of whites. Four in 10 blacks say that there
has been no progress in recent years in eliminating racial discrimination;
fewer than 2 in 10 whites say the same thing. And about one-quarter of white
respondents said they thought that too much had been made of racial barriers
facing black people, while one-half of black respondents said not enough had
been made of racial impediments faced by blacks. 

The survey suggests that even as the nation crosses a racial threshold when
it comes to politics - Mr. Obama, a Democrat, is the son of a black father
from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas - many of the racial patterns in
society remain unchanged in recent years. 

Indeed, the poll showed markedly little change in the racial components of
people's daily lives since 2000, when The Times examined race relations in
an extensive series of articles called "How Race Is Lived in America." 

As it was eight years ago, few Americans have regular contact with people of
other races, and few say their own workplaces or their own neighborhoods are
integrated. In this latest poll, over 40 percent of blacks said they
believed they had been stopped by the police because of their race, the same
figure as eight years ago; 7 percent of whites said the same thing. 

Nearly 70 percent of blacks said they had encountered a specific instance of
discrimination based on their race, compared with 62 percent in 2000; 26
percent of whites said they had been the victim of racial discrimination.
(Over 50 percent of Hispanics said they had been the victim of racial

And when asked whether blacks or whites had a better chance of getting ahead
in today's society, 64 percent of black respondents said that whites did.
That figure was slightly higher even than the 57 percent of blacks who said
so in a 2000 poll by The Times. And the number of blacks who described
racial conditions as generally bad in this survey was almost identical to
poll responses in 2000 and 1990.

"Basically it's the same old problem, the desire for power," Macie Mitchell,
a Pennsylvania Democrat from Erie County, who is black, said in a follow-up
interview after participating in the poll. "People get so obsessed with
power and don't want to share it. There are people who are not used to
blacks being on top."

White perceptions, by contrast, improved markedly from 1990 to 2000, but
have remained steady since. This month's poll found that 55 percent of
whites said race relations were good, almost double the figure for blacks.

The nationwide telephone poll was conducted July 7-14 with 1,796 adults, and
has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. In
an effort to measure views of different races, the survey included
larger-than-usual minority samples - 297 blacks and 246 Hispanics - with a
margin of sampling error of six percentage points for each subgroup.

Black and white Americans agree that America is ready to elect a black
president, but disagree on almost every other question about race in the

Black voters were far more likely than whites to say that Mr. Obama cares
about the needs and problems of people like them, and more likely to
describe him as patriotic. Whites were more likely than blacks to say that
Mr. Obama says what he thinks people want to hear, rather than what he truly
believes. And about half of black voters said race relations would improve
in an Obama administration, compared with 29 percent of whites.

About 40 percent of blacks said that Mr. McCain, if elected president, would
favor whites over blacks should he win the election. 

There was even racial dissension over Mr. Obama's wife, Michelle: She was
viewed favorably by 58 percent of black voters, compared with 24 percent of
white voters. 

Among black voters, who are overwhelmingly Democrats, Mr. Obama draws
support from 89 percent, compared with 2 percent for Mr. McCain. Among
whites, Mr. Obama has 37 percent of the vote, compared with 46 percent for
Mr. McCain. 

After a Democratic primary season in which Mr. Obama had difficulty
competing for Hispanic votes against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr.
Obama leads Mr. McCain among Hispanic voters in the likely general election
matchup by 62 to 23 percent. Mr. Obama is viewed favorably by more than half
of Hispanic Americans, compared with Mr. McCain, whose favorability rating
is just under one-quarter. By significant margins, these voters believe that
Mr. Obama will do a better job of dealing with immigration; Mr. McCain has
been trying to distance himself from Republicans who have advocated a tough
policy on permitting illegal immigrants to stay in the country.

Over all, Mr. Obama leads Mr. McCain among all registered voters by 45
percent to 39 percent.

White voters, much more so than black voters, are divided in their political
loyalties. Mr. Obama draws significant support among white Democrats. Yet
still, among just Democrats, blacks were more apt than whites in the poll to
express positive views of Mr. Obama across a range of questions. For
example, black Democrats were 24 points more likely than white Democrats to
have a favorable opinion of Mr. Obama.

"I don't like some of his policies, like on energy," said Bob Beidelman, 69,
a white Democrat from York, Pa., about Mr. Obama. "Also I don't like
statements his wife made. She seems like a spoiled brat to me."

He added: "I'm one of those white people who clings to guns and the Bible,
and those things that Barack said kind of turned me off," he said. "This
isn't a black and white thing. If a conservative African-American like
former Congressman J. C. Watts was running, I'd have bumper stickers
plastered all over my car supporting him."

The survey found extensive excitement among African-Americans about the
prospect of Mr. Obama's candidacy, a factor that could prove important in
pushing voter turnout. The poll found that 72 percent of black voters said
they expected Mr. Obama to win.

The high levels of enthusiasm for Mr. Obama among black Americans suggested
that there was less of a divide among them about his candidacy than
suggested by occasional tension among black leaders. Last week, Mr. Obama
was criticized by the Rev. Jesse Jackson as "talking down to black people"
by going before black audiences and urging parents to take more
responsibility for their children. 

"He's got all these enthusiastic young people working for him," said James
Wilson, 75, a property manager from Philadelphia who is black. "I'm a person
who would never give money and they called on the phone and got me to give."

The poll found that Mr. McCain is yoked to the legacy of President Bush -
majorities believe that Mr. McCain, as president, would continue Mr. Bush's
policies in Iraq and on the economy. Mr. Bush's approval rating on the
economy is as low as it has been in his presidency, 20 percent; and even
while there has been an increase in the number of Americans who think the
war is going well, there has been no change in the significantly large
number of people who think it was a mistake to have invaded.

Kevin Sack, Dalia Sussman and Marina Stefan contributed reporting.

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