Attitudes toward African-Americans have worsened since 2008, research finds
(Phys.org)—This might not be a "post-racial" era after all.
Many people described America as accepting of all races after Obama was voted as the country's first black president in 2008. However, a new poll shows that anti-black sentiments became more common in the last four years.
Since 2008, explicit racism was more common among Republicans than Democrats. In 2012, the proportion of people expressing anti-black attitudes was 79 percent among Republicans, 48 percent among independents and 32 percent among Democrats.
If the findings hold during next week's presidential elections, Obama's race may play a factor in voters' choices.
The study's authors include Josh Pasek, assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Michigan; Jon Krosnick, professor of communication and political science at Stanford University; and Trevor Tompson, director of the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago.
"It appears that the Obama administration has not been a time of decline in anti-black attitudes in America," the researchers wrote. "Indeed, these data suggest that anti-black attitudes have become slightly more prevalent over those years, especially during the last two years."
Using data from surveys done in 2008, 2010 and 2012, the researchers found that:
- Sizable proportions of both Democrats and Republicans manifested anti-black attitudes, though anti-black attitudes were more common among Republicans than among Democrats.
- People who identified themselves as Republicans in 2012 expressed anti-black attitudes more often than did Republican identifiers in 2008.
- People with more negative attitudes toward African-Americans were less likely to approve of Obama's job performance.
- If both anti-black and pro-black attitudes had been converted to be neutral, the proportion of Americans disapproving of Obama's job performance would have been 1 to 3 percentage points lower in both 2010 and 2012.
- In 2012, holding negative attitudes toward African-Americans increased the likelihood of voting for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and not voting at all, and decreased the likelihood of voting for Obama.
- When testing for implicit attitudes, the scores for anti-black sentiment increased from 49.3 percent in 2008 to 51.1 percent in 2010 and 55.7 percent in 2012.
"In an election projected to be this close, the two-point margin we attribute to prejudice may play a critical role in determining our next president," he said.