Newsweek has published the details of a new poll examining white, anti-Black resentment. According to Newsweek,

...participants were asked to answer questions on a variety of race-related topics including racial preferences, interracial marriage, attitudes toward social welfare and general attitudes toward African-Americans. Respondents were grouped according to their answers on a "Racial Resentment Index".

The article reporting the poll findings goes on to suggest that these poll results may pose problems for Obama in November, but, more importantly, that Obama's candidacy has greatly increased the degree to which Americans now believe the country is 'ready' for an African-American president:

In 2000, only 37 percent of voters thought the country was ready for a black president. Now, 70 percent of voters think a black candidate like Obama could win the White House.

Among its findings, it reports:

Among white Democrats with a low Racial Resentment Index rating, Obama beat McCain in a hypothetical match-up 78 percent to 17 percent. That is virtually identical to Clinton's margin in the category, 79 percent to 13 percent. But among white Democrats with high scores on the Racial Resentment Index, the picture was very different: Obama led McCain by only 18 points (51 to 33) while Clinton maintained a much larger 59-point lead (78 to 18).

And who are the 'high racial resentment' voters and where can they be found?

A majority, 61 percent, have less than a four-year college education, many are older (44 percent were over the age of 60 compared to just 18 percent under the age of 40) and nearly half (46 percent) live in the South.

Some thoughts and comments.

First, by directly asking questions on race and racial resentment, it would seem that this Newsweek poll goes some way in answering the 'why has Obama suffered amongst older, blue-collar whites in some parts of the country?' question. Clearly, as has been noted by many here and, indeed by [Karl Rove himself:

Racism is still very much an issue that is driving these folks' response to the Obama candidacy. We should drop all pretenses and simply state the obvious - a sizable chunk, but by no means all or even a majority of Senator Clinton's base consists of individuals who would not, under any circumstance, vote for a black man for president.

The question is, what to do about this? The establishment consensus seems to be to ignore it. That these people are unreachable and so should be ignored because drawing attention to this racism will only hurt Obama in the fall by exacerbating the race issue even further. He can, in other words, rise above it and so defeat it.

A second opinion, often seen here at DK, is, if not to ignore it, then to paint it as a symptom of economic deprivation that can be ameliorated through a RFKesqe 'poverty cum listening tour' of places, like Appalachia, where he did not do very well during the nomination contests.

A third, minority sentiment, suggests that the best option is to address  the racism head on on the theory that shining a light on it makes those sentiments illegitimate - thus undermining Hillary's continued efforts to win the nomination despite the statistical impossibility of being able to do so...AND preparing the ground ahead of time for the fall election.

Thoughts? Opinions?    

Originally posted to Benito on Sat May 24, 2008 at 04:18 PM PDT.

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