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September 22, 2008

Poll Shows Democrats' Racial Views Could Hurt Obama in Close Election

A poll commissioned by IRiSS and AP-Yahoo News suggests that Barack Obama could lose a close election to John McCain because of voters' feelings about race.

The poll says a third of white Democrats agreed with at least one negative adjective associated with blacks in the survey, and they are significantly less likely to vote for Obama than those who don't have such views.

The results suggest that the percentage of voters who don't vote for Obama because he's black could be larger than the 2.5 percentage points between George Bush and John Kerry in the 2004 election.

"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 survey.

Ten percent of white respondents said the fact that Obama would be the country's first black president made them less likely to vote for him. Six percent said that factor would make them more likely to vote for him, and 84 percent said it wouldn't affect their decision. Twenty-one percent of whites say black leaders have been "trying to push too fast," while 12 percent say they haven't pushed fast enough and 62 percent say they're pushing at about the right speed.

While race is an indisputable factor in the election, it's not the biggest issue hurting Obama among Democrats and independents. Those groups are more concerned about his competency, with more than a quarter of Obama's fellow Democrats doubting that he'll be able to bring the change they want.

For more analysis of the poll and to read the survey results, visit http://news.yahoo.com/page/election-2008-political-pulse-obama-race.

Posted by tanya at September 22, 2008 09:53 AM