Among voters lacking strong party preferences, Obama faces 20 percent handicap due to race bias

Oct 02, 2012 by Molly Mcelroy

An online study of eligible voters around the country revealed that the preference for whites over blacks is the strongest in the least politically-partisan voters. Among these voters, race biases against Barack Obama could produce as much as a 20 percent gap in the popular vote in a contest that would otherwise be equal.

"Although they may not determine the election outcome, race biases are having a strong anti-Obama effect among the least politically partisan voters," said Anthony Greenwald, a University of Washington psychology professor who conducted the survey. "If present pre-election polling is accurate, the effect of will have their effect on 's winning margin but not on the election outcome."

Most recent polls show Obama in the lead. This suggests that although race biases are a "hill he has to climb, the polls indicate that he's actually climbing it," Greenwald said. "People who have race biases against Obama may still believe he's preferable to for other reasons, and so race attitudes do not appear to be potent enough to overcome the other sources of favorability for Obama."

About 8,600 eligible voters participated in Greenwald's latest online survey, collected from July through September. Eighty percent of the were white, approximating the electorate. However, because the sample had a substantial majority of liberals it should not be considered representative of the American electorate.

The study included the Implicit Association Test to measure implicit racial attitudes, which are preferences that people may not realize they have. In the past 10 years, various of the tool have been used to reveal unconscious attitudes about race, gender, sexuality, and other topics.

In addition to implicit and self-reported measures on race attitudes and , Greenwald included various measures of , including stances on policy issues such as taxes on the wealthy, immigration and health care.

In his sample of voters, Greenwald found that 25 percent of the most ideologically polarized voters appeared to be already settled on their preferred candidate. In this group, race attitudes appeared to influence votes for only about 2.4 percent of participants.

"These people strongly favor one candidate over another, and race attitudes have only a relatively small effect on their vote," Greenwald said.

But then he took a closer look at the race attitudes for the 25 percent who were least polarized—having no strong affiliations with either political party. The research showed that race attitudes were influencing the choice of candidate for nearly 10 percent of these voters. If 10 percent of voters switched their vote for or against a candidate, that would cause an increase of 20 percent in the gap between candidates.

"Our method was like putting a magnifying glass on the distribution of voters, allowing us a close-up look at various segments," Greenwald said. Those at the far ends strongly favoring Obama or Romney were relatively little affected by racial attitudes. But those closer to the middle of the distribution showed a considerably greater influence of racial .

Greenwald points out that any Democratic presidential candidate, including white ones, faces a race attitude handicap. This is because voters with white racial preferences are typically opposed to social and economic policies favored by national Democratic nominees.

Greenwald's findings are consistent with data he released in May, showing that voters' race attitudes leading up to the Republican primary already had a more pronounced role in predicting their vote than in the 2008 presidential contest.

He will continue to collect survey data as part of the year-long Decision 2012 IAT project. Data collected through October will be used to determine whether race attitudes still have as large of an effect on undecided voters.

Explore further: Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

More information: Anyone can participate in the online study, which will be available until a few days beyond Election Day, Nov. 6: implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/featuredtask.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

18 hours ago

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

Apr 17, 2014

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Apr 16, 2014

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 16

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

freethinking
3 / 5 (10) Oct 03, 2012
Bunk.. bunk... bunk....and more Progressive lies....

Race handicap my foot. The race handicap goes to republicans.... When 95% of one race vote for one candidate of the same color... who is being racist?
EverythingsJustATheory
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 03, 2012
When the other side has openly showed their disdain for that race, how can you blame them?
geokstr
1.4 / 5 (9) Oct 03, 2012
"Most recent polls show Obama in the lead."

Sure they do, especially when they are skewed to Democratic respondents by 6-15%, and then show Obama with a 2-6% lead. These are polls intended to push a narrative (Obama is winning, Romney might just as well withdraw and let him run unopposed) and designed to depress the enthusiasm for Romney's supporters.

All this is then amplified uncritically by the "unbiased" "objective" "news" media.
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (7) Oct 03, 2012
Clarence Thomas, Condoleezza Rice, Alan West, Thomas Sowell, Walter E. Williams, Mia Love, ...

Race is more of interest to the 'progressives' to keep a voting block dependent upon them.
VendicarD
3 / 5 (6) Oct 03, 2012
Last night on CNS news various posters told me that the Marxist "Nigger" in the white house needs to be deported back to his Muslim homeland.

Earlier in the day in response to my posting of the ratio of murders per-capita in Detroit vs Socialst Windsor, the overwhelming response was that Windsor is essentially murder free because "it ain't got no stinking blacks".

Now there is one thing I do credit Americans for, and that is the dramatic reduction in racism since the 60's.

But among the Tea Tards and other hate filled Radical Republicans who follow Drudge and spend their days posting hate speech directed at the current government, racism is as strong as it ever has been.

http://www.youtub...xGEQm6Qo
VendicarD
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 03, 2012
All fine examples of American Filth. Well done RyggTard.

"Clarence Thomas, Condoleezza Rice, Alan West, Thomas Sowell, Walter E. Williams, Mia Love," - RyggTard

Does Clarence still think that those pubic hairs he imagines on those coke cans he drinks from come from their vaginal insertion during masturbation?

And is he still infatuated with Long Dong Silver, and video's of anal and vaginal fisting?

Only a Republican would nominate such a man for the supreme court.

Don't you agree?

As for Rice. Do you think her $10,000 shopping spree in NewYork while Americans were dying in New Orleans was the correct thing to do?

And what about her perpetual lying to the American Public about Saddam having WMD, when she knew he didn't?

She is a fine piece of Republican filth, isn't she?
VendicarD
3 / 5 (6) Oct 03, 2012
We are sorry to hear that you find reality so repulsive.

"Obama is winning, Romney might just as well withdraw and let him run unopposed" - GeokTard
VendicarD
2.3 / 5 (6) Oct 03, 2012
Clearly you are.

The very question you pose, and the indignation with which you post it, proves your status.

"When 95% of one race vote for one candidate of the same color... who is being racist?" - FreeTard
VendicarD
3 / 5 (6) Oct 03, 2012
Republicans don't exist in a reality based universe.

They live in a magical land, devoid of logic, self consistancy, or any connection to reality.

"Bunk.. bunk... bunk....and more Progressive lies." - FreeTard

As long as these Conservative Liars have any significant power in America, America will continue on it's current trajactory to third world status.

http://www.youtub...xGEQm6Qo
ValeriaT
2 / 5 (4) Oct 03, 2012
Among voters lacking strong party preferences, Obama faces 20 percent handicap due to race bias
Such a finding doesn't appear quite logical for me - because most of people, who exhibit strong preference are convionced republicans - so that the remaining liberals, who are often undecided would vote Obama instead, because he's a democrat. At any case, in my country, just the people who aren't pronounced commies or nationalists or supporters of religious parties tend to remain more liberal and tolerant to minorities in average. These people have no strong party preference just because they're more liberal and tolerant.
freethinking
2.1 / 5 (7) Oct 04, 2012
Well after last night debate, You see how the first President elected because of liberal white guilt, black racism, and affirmative action does in a real debate without a telepromter.

We see the result of having the elected such an affirmative action president. Bad economy, waste, world in a mess, allies abandoned, enemies emboldened, etc.

If Obama couldn't fix the economy that was bad when he took office, how can we trust him to fix an economy that is worse now than 4 years ago?

Lie and call me rascist bigot, but Progressives are the racists bigots! Conservatives hire the best person for the job. Progressives its all about race, sexual orientation, etc. etc. And if a person of these subjected groups actual is a conservatives, rape isn't rape anymore.
CapitalismPrevails
3 / 5 (4) Oct 07, 2012
Bunk.. bunk... bunk....and more Progressive lies....

It's Regressive, not Progressive.
Jimee
1 / 5 (1) Oct 09, 2012
The Republi-klan and Jimmy Crow, still united for white power. Good ol' white boys will make sure there is maximum carnage on their way out.
ziphead
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 09, 2012
Clearly you are.

The very question you pose, and the indignation with which you post it, proves your status.

"When 95% of one race vote for one candidate of the same color... who is being racist?" - FreeTard


Ah, so now you have indignation-meter shoved up your rear amongst all other talents :) I trust you calibrate it regularly?

The way I understood this comment is that racism has no shape nor colour. You disagree? You believe it to be distinctively white Caucasian trait?
kochevnik
1 / 5 (2) Oct 09, 2012
@freethinking Bunk.. bunk... bunk....and more Progressive lies....
So you're free thinking yet regressive. You can't even put two ideas together without contradicting yourself.
Bunk.. bunk... bunk....and more Progressive lies....

@CapitalismPrevails It's Regressive, not Progressive.
Yes, you know yourself.
ryggesogn2
3 / 5 (2) Oct 09, 2012
"Unhappy with President Barack Obama's support of same-sex marriage, a group of African-American faith leaders have announced a campaign aimed at stripping 25 percent of the black vote that went to Obama in 2008 (95 percent).

Read more: http://dailycalle...8r4rLRCf
"

More news stories

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...