NYT Poll Finds Obama Can’t Close Race Divide – Big Problem In General Election
The results of the poll shows that Obama’s candidacy while generating high enthusiasm among black voters, it is not seen as evidence of significant improvement in race relations. 80% of black voters had a favorable opinion of Obama, while only 30% of whites did. 60% of blacks said race relations were bad, but only 34% of white voters did.
Indeed, the poll showed markedly little change in the racial components of people’s daily lives since 2000, when The Times examined race relations in an extensive series of articles called “How Race Is Lived in America.”
As it was eight years ago, few Americans have regular contact with people of other races, and few say their own workplaces or their own neighborhoods are integrated. In this latest poll, over 40% of blacks said they believed they had been stopped by the police because of their race, the same figure as eight years ago; 7 percent of whites said the same thing.
Nearly 70 percent of blacks said they had encountered a specific instance of discrimination based on their race, compared with 62 percent in 2000; 26 percent of whites said they had been the victim of racial discrimination. (Over 50 percent of Hispanics said they had been the victim of racial discrimination.)
Black and white Americans agree that America is ready to elect a black president, but disagree on almost every other question about race in the poll.
Black voters were far more likely than whites to say that Mr. Obama cares about the needs and problems of people like them, and more likely to describe him as patriotic. Whites were more likely than blacks to say that Mr. Obama says what he thinks people want to hear, rather than what he truly believes. And about half of black voters said race relations would improve in an Obama administration, compared with 29 percent of whites.
About 40 percent of blacks said that Mr. McCain, if elected president, would favor whites over blacks should he win the election.
There was even racial dissension over Mr. Obama’s wife, Michelle: She was viewed favorably by 58 percent of black voters, compared with 24 percent of white voters.