The headline story about an AP-Yahoo poll out today suggests that Barack Obama is running up against a challenge in his bid for the presidency: Many whites don't care much for African Americans. (See questions and answers)
The poll sought to measure latent prejudices among whites by asking about factors contributing to the state of black America. One finding: More than a quarter of white Democrats agreed that "if blacks would only try harder, they could be just as well off as whites."
Those who agreed with that statement were much less likely to back Obama than those who didn't.
Among white independents, racial stereotyping is not uncommon. For example, while about 20 percent of independent voters called blacks "intelligent" or "smart," more than one third latched on the adjective "complaining," and 24 percent said blacks were "violent."
Nearly four in 10 white independents agreed that blacks would be better off if they "try harder."
The poll also disputed the contention that younger whites in America are less likely to hold fewer racist views than their parents.
The survey found no meaningful differences among age groups in whites' perceptions of blacks, although older whites appear more likely to discuss their views.
Only 20 percent of the whites surveyed have felt "admiration" for blacks either extremely often or very often. By contrast, 70 percent have felt the same way about whites.
The stories being written about the poll describe how voters feel about a particular candidate's ability to address a specific issue. What they aren't saying is that a large portion of those surveyed don't know what they're talking about.
Twenty percent of the people surveyed in this poll either don't vote or seldom vote. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed haven't been following news about the presidential campaign very much.
If the aim of the article is to influence votes of people who do vote, it doesn't amtter who they survey. The authors only need to gather some numbers and make their statement. Validity, or even truth, makes little difference in the current era of decepive campaigning. Making a statement and getting it to stick in the minds of voters is all that matters.
Can't we all just vote today and be done with it?
the aim of the article is the same as all articles here. To let you know of a variety of sources of information, consider the various views, share your own, and as a result, have more awareness of the news.
Polls DO influence how people vote (see Penny, Tim), so if a poll of presidential choices includes people who don't vote -- or are uninformed about the choices -- I contend it does matter.
I also don't necessarily believed that the uninformed and the "not voting" bloc are entirely the same.
But that's just me.
I understand that polls can and do influence (some) voters, but what I don't understand is HOW (some) voters allow themselves to be influenced.
A poll like this one comes along, and all of a sudden a voter says "Well if them folks polled won't vote for a black man, then maybe I shouldn't either"??
But I supposed that's what polls like this one are all about: swaying the easily duped.
I'd like to see a poll that asks people what they think of polling. It's a safe bet that a strong majority would express disgust. It's too bad we can't vote on whether or not to get rid of polls altogether; eradicating polls is one of the best things we could do to promote democracy.
...the aim of the article is the same as all articles here...
Bob- I wasn't referring to your post. I was refering to the Yahoo article. I agree with the rest of what you had to say. I'm just pretty pessimistic about the ability of our nation to make wise choices in elections given the huge numbers of uninformed people who are easily swayed by factors that just shouldn't matter.
Any time there is an option where no one answers ("refused or no answered" with MD1 and MD2) - I am suspicious. Well, I tend to be of statistics anyway, and perhaps even more so after being subjected to Biostatistics and Epidemiology this year.
I would easily contend that the "no answer" option was not given to the polled person. I have had telephone pollsters call with the '04 election. At least one question left me very clearly wanting neither option as an answer. After quite a while of hemming and hawing, the pollster finally said "well, how about if we put it down as no answer (or something similar, which was not offered in the initial answer options. Upon realizing this was an option, I used it for a couple other questions. It is a bit disingenuous not to present all answer options right up front.
IMG3 - "which candidate is like your neighbors" -- I'm curious to know what the poll was actually interested in learning ... is it whether people will pick McCain if the majority of their neighbors are white, or because they're Republicans?
//I don't understand is HOW (some) voters allow themselves to be influenced.
that was the Tim Penny reference. People want to vote for some they think can win. That's why third party candidates don't win; not that they aren't qualified or -- in many cases -- better choices, but that people don't think they can win and people don't want to "waste their vote."
That's what polls reinforce.
// I'm curious to know what the poll was actually interested in learning
I think the poll is primarily interested in attitudes about African Americans. But the poll never asked a question like "how do you feel about African Americans?" Instead, it tucked answers into questions that appeared to be about something else, knowing -- the supposition goes -- that people wouldn't honestly answer a straightforward and somewhat sensitive question.
Jim Moore, former IP chairman, wrote a piece a little while back (a week or so) that I found interesting. You can find it here.
Reich was spot on, most importantly number#1 as Dr. Reich mentioned, changes to current bankruptcy law, and also new WPA is absolutely necessary. We affectedly let all the large banks file bankruptcy by virtue of "too big to fail" and the tax payers picked up the tab, by default all those who were not long in real estate basically got bailed out as well! Only those that were hoodwinked by fed reserve policy and algorithms designed for disaster, they got hosed really bad !