Posted by: Andy | May 21, 2008

Surprise! Race matters!

from beliefnet:

In the past few primaries, pollsters have spliced the numbers so we could see to what extent white voters said race was an important factor in their vote. Below, the first number is the percent of white voters who said race was important; the second number is Obama’s margin of victory or defeat:

Oregon: 7% — Obama +16
North Carolina: 8% — Obama +14
Indiana: 10% — Obama -2
Kentucky: 18% — Obama -35
West Virginia: 21% — Obama -41

The more white voters who think the candidate’s race matters, the better Clinton does. Sometimes it’s not that complicated.

And that’s just the people that admitted what they were thinking, I’m sure the actual number is higher.  Of course, this tiny “analysis” leaves lots of states out of the question, and thus has me questioning its validity as a statistic of note – it’s very nicely skewed to fit the curve of the author’s point.  I’d like to see all the states that have voted thus far in the relevant way (non-caucus?) tabulated like this.



  1. That’s nice, another completely racist poll conducted in an attempt to paint Whites as the bigots.

    Look up the percentages of Black voters who voted for Obama in those states and ask yourself why nobody bothered to poll them about their reasons.

  2. I don’t really see how a statistic like this in any way racist. Sure, you can make conclusions from it about people who may be racist, but the poll itself isn’t.

    One could very well put the same poll to black voters, and it might show something. But they aren’t the subject of this post, or that poll.

    Also, for most of the states in question (like I said, I think the analysis is fundamentally flawed because it includes so few states), the black vote really isn’t that strong – only in North Carolina do they even represent more than 9%, and thusI don’t think their effect on the vote is huge in the situations under discussion. In fact, if we assum a shift of black voters in their entirety one way or another, NC is still the only state where that would change anything.

    Black population percentage for the states in question:

    Oregon: 1.9%
    North Carolina: 21.7%
    Indiana: 8.9%
    Kentucky: 7.5%
    West Virginia: 3.3%

    (data from the us census).

    So I disagree with your statement, and I don’t think this poll paints “whites” (as in all of them) as racists/whatever. I note your use of the determinative “the”, as in “the bigots” implying that the writer is saying only whites are racist. That sounds like quite a bit of oversimplification and assumption on your part.

    People are examining the white vote in these cases because it’s the biggest one. I have seen plenty of examination of the black vote as well, I’m just not discussing it in this brief blog.

  3. Sorry, let me make my point more clear. I find the poll racist simply because they didn’t ask the Blacks the equivalent question and then happily published their results so the MSM could make a big deal of it.

  4. First off, what the heck is “MSM”? I keep hearing people throw it around.

    Second, I guess you can take it that way. I don’t see the author claiming one thing over another, I just see it as point out data about white people. I think you want to read into it that they are excluding blacks then you’re entitled to your opinion, but I disagree.

    Also, even if the results were exactly the same on poll of blacks, it wouldn’t necessarily mean the same thing. Why? Here’s a comment from the linked post that is useful:

    The fact that black voters are voting for a black candidate doesn’t make them racists. Black voters have demonstrated in every prior election that they will vote for white candidates. (If they were racists, they wouldn’t have voted at all when only white candidates were running.) There is not a moral equivalency between black voters affirmatively voting for a black candidate, and white voters who REFUSE to vote for a black candidate. The former is identity politics; the latter is racism. There is no hypocrisy in distinguishing the two situations.

    Posted by: Brian | May 21, 2008 4:14 PM

  5. MSM is an acronym for Main Stream Media. 🙂

    I disagree with Brian’s assertion. There is a direct moral between “black voters affirmatively voting for a black candidate, and white voters who REFUSE to vote for a black candidate.”

    Oh yes, Race does matter. We agree on that. I just wish more people were willing to publically accept that it matters on BOTH sides of the equation.

  6. Ahh. That makes sense. I don’t watch television, and rarely read papers, so I avoid that loop for the most part.

    I don’t think it matters [in this election] to the degree you’re implying it does (as much on both sides). Sure, there are black people who don’t like white people, but I just don’t think its numerically relevant in the current discussion.

    As the quoted poster said, and I agree, black voters have been voting for whites for years (on the national/presidential level). Whites have not had the reverse experience. To suddenly label all those people “racists” doesn’t make any sense. If you saw two evenly matched candidates (and lets just be nice and say they are), but you had some kind of kinship bond with one or the other, odds are you’d vote for the one you identify with. Now, I don’t think that should ever be the driving force behind your vote, but it’s a human action and can be based on identification rather than exclusion or dislike.

    Oh, side-note, I don’t have the original poll source, so I have no idea what else was in it – we are only seeing the data the post author wanted us to see. So I think that you’re labeling the poll as inherently racist is probably overkill until more info is available. The original post author made a second critical error in failing to cite his sources.

    I’m sure there is a good site out there for campaign statistics but I’m not a big fan of politics so I haven’t found one yet. Otherwise maybe if I was really bored (which I’m not yet) I’d grab the data for all available states, and see if they asked the reverse question you are looking for and try and determine if that had any statistical impact on the vote.

  7. @Jonolan: Definition of racism: power + privilege. The reason, therefore, that there couldn’t be a correlation between Black voters voting for a Black president is because there is markedly no resulting impact. As in, there’s never been a Black president before and that would imply that Black people have therefore never been involved in the political process. I appreciate that a lot of defensive White people are trying to do away with the unequal playing field by equalizing the “bigot” category, but let’s be a touch more progressive, shall we? Like not have the first Black presidential candidate with a chance come in 2008. But then we’d have to do more than quibble, we’d have to change the socio-economic-class experiences/structures of the entire nation and take a portion of White privilege to offer to others.

  8. Several very good points.
    However, I think the most upsetting thing to be examined here is that Andy doesn’t watch television.
    I, for one, am shocked.

  9. @Bethany,

    Ah, I see now; Blacks can’t be called racist because they’re powerless victims of an oppressive society. When they vote Race it’s therefor OK, but when Whites vote so, it’s perpetuating some sort of wrong.

  10. Remember, you were the one that started calling people racist, so we are having a somewhat circular debate here.

    Also, I don’t think you can label blacks “racist” using the same criteria you are using for the whites here.

    The criteria is “will not vote for person of other race”. HOWEVER, we already know blacks will vote for whites, so that’s not an issue here.

    Also, as far as this campaign goes, Hillary had a lot of support from the black community in the beginning – Barack won many of them away from her (and her negative politics didn’t help either). So those voters actually started out as supporting a white person.

  11. If anyone’s going to argue that Black Americans aren’t the victims of an oppressive society, we’re getting into dangerous eugenics territory. Which means it makes sense that only two of us have shown our faces.
    @Andy. Stop trying to make sense.

  12. i’d like to say one thing. don’t comment back to me cause I don’t want to discuss it. It’s just something I’m personally pissed about.

    white people that won’t vote for a black candidate simply because he or she IS black is one of the most aggravating things I’ve heard in a long time. and it’s true. people have admitted it.

    this is unbelievable to me that we’re living in a country where white people are quickly becoming not the majority and this is still an issue?!?

    get over yourselves. in what way does the color of someones skin define what is going on in their brain?

    I’m sorry. I can’t even express my complete thoughts, this topic makes me hulk angry.

  13. You know, there have been several times that I’ve wanted to comment on here, but didn’t because I thought I’d be basically repeating word for word what Andy and Bethany were already saying… but I just have to get this out.
    White people need to get over slavery.

  14. hey bethany, no fair-ziez, I can’t show my face cause i’m not a wordpress account holder, sheesh.

  15. Luckily, I set up these wacky little ip based faces! Because uhh…it helps if people think you are freaky geometric monster face?

  16. Firstly, only part of that was supposed to be italicized. Secondly, MEG… make comments on MY blog. (That and No Harmziez! I made the statement before your first post… can’t help it if Andy doesn’t de-spam me in a timely fashion.)

  17. Sorry, Bethany – I’m not in a good position to show my face. I’m “fairly” highly placed within the technical hierarchy of the local broadcast arm of a major media outlet. I’m a little concerned about how being recognized could effect my employment.

  18. Well, unlikely as that sounds, the point is how laughable the statement was. On a lighter note, I think that’s the same reason the KKK members wore sheets. So. Totally understand.

  19. LOL Believe what you want of me, Bethany 😉

  20. Oh, Jonolan. You silly narcissist. We’re not actually talking or thinking about you.

  21. @jonolan If you really want to be anonymous…

    Did you do some editing work on a certain Secret series?

    Might you have your own imdb page? If so, I can give you advice on anonymity. If not, good job.

  22. On racism, I have to say it looks like I agree, at least generally, with Bethany in that when I use the word “racism” I’m referring to an inherent system of power politics. Whites can oppress blacks because they have the political and economic power to do so. Blacks just don’t have that kind of clout in America, yet. (But them gaining such power & using it to turn the tables is definitely a fear of many Americans…look around for quotes from what, West Virginia?)

    I think this is why the term “racist” is most often applied to white people. Sure, other groups can hate other groups, but they just can’t perpetrate the same kind of long-scale oppression that whites (in America) have. Not gonna happen. I guess if I were talking about a situation outside of the US, I might use racist to apply in the more general way jonolan is.

    Maybe we need a new term for racist-tendencies without the social infrastructure to back them up?

  23. @ Andy

    On anonymity – That’s not me, nor am I in any way responsible for Batman Begins, though I wish I was. 😉 I’m not so much striving for anonymity as for plausible deniability and a lack of linkage between my online persona and my employer.

    On Racism – Racism is hostile or oppressive behavior towards people because they belong to a different race. I think Blacks and Whites have each shown that they can respectively meet the hostile and oppressive criteria.

  24. @jonolan:

    Batman was Christopher Nolan wasn’t it?

    At the very least I hope the info in your domain reg is bogus (or is this general locale accurate/out of date?). I was just curious if I could tie that name to anything in the NY media…*snaps* Scavenger hunts are fun. Much more of a pain in the ass these days since they changed the functionality of search engines.

    It looks like we’re just going to agree to disagree on the term usage. I agree than any can dislike another, but I think that, except for in very specific situations, blacks can’t “oppress” whites in any kind of general way. They just don’t have the social clout.

  25. LOL I hope you’ll never be able to tie my name to anything in the NY Media. 😉 Most of the info you found is completely accurate though. As I said, I’m not particularly concerned about anonymity beyond not being recognized by my coworkers or involving my company.

    “I agree than any can dislike another, but I think that, except for in very specific situations, blacks can’t “oppress” whites in any kind of general way. They just don’t have the social clout.”

    Ah, but they can exhibit hostility. I think we will have to agree to disagree on the term usage. We have different definitions.


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