Sunday, October 28, 2012

GOP's Good News: "Americans Slightly More Racist"

Wow, now here's a headline you don't see every day: "Americans Slightly More Racist." This is referring to the results of a new poll conducted by the Associated Press which compared a similar poll taken in 2008.

Here's the Washington Post's take:
In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell. 
Most Americans expressed anti-Hispanic sentiments, too. In an AP survey done in 2011, 52 percent of non-Hispanic whites expressed anti-Hispanic attitudes. That figure rose to 57 percent in the implicit test. The survey on Hispanics had no past data for comparison.
There are immediate political implications, of course. And, unsurprisingly, there are differences in how racist adherents to the political parties are.

Overall, the survey found that by virtue of racial prejudice, Obama could lose 5 percentage points off his share of the popular vote in his Nov. 6 contest against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. But Obama also stands to benefit from a 3 percentage point gain due to pro-black sentiment, researchers said. Overall, that means an estimated net loss of 2 percentage points due to anti-black attitudes. 
The poll finds that racial prejudice is not limited to one group of partisans. Although Republicans were more likely than Democrats to express racial prejudice in the questions measuring explicit racism (79 percent among Republicans compared with 32 percent among Democrats), the implicit test found little difference between the two parties. That test showed a majority of both Democrats and Republicans held anti-black feelings (55 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans), as did about half of political independents (49 percent).

Read that again. "Republicans were more likely that Democrats to express racial prejudice in questions measuring explicit racism (79 percent among Republicans compared with 32 percent among Democrats)." Discuss!

Andrew Sullivan makes the connection, in case it is not as obvious to you as it is to me:
Close to 80 percent of Republican voters expressed "explicit racism." Maybe that's why they are comfortable with a candidate from a church whose theology remains based on white supremacy and that barred African-Americans from full membership as recently as 1978.
I was struck by the connection between the two stories as I read that Iowa's largest daily newspaper, The Des Moines Register, after endorsing every Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 (including Obama in 2008), has endorsed Mitt Romney for president in 2012. The results of the poll showing Americans are more racist in 2008 is clearly good news for the Republican Party's goal to re-take the Presidency, which is why I decided to lead this post with the stylized (hagiographic) portrait of Mitt Romney.

Reading the Register's reason(s) for endorsing Romney is like entering bizarro-world. They basically endorse all of the Republican's talking points regarding the rationale for his presidential run and ignore the President's. They attempt to divorce Romney's economic positions from his extremist views on social issues. When a decision is made that literally is not rationally related to the facts on the ground, I believe one can look to external reasons for the decision, and often times one can see an animating force for the decision fueled by animus. I hope that is not the case in this situations, but it's hard to think otherwise when you see things like this:

(Photo: A supporter of Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan waits for a campaign
event to begin on October 12, 2012 in Lancaster, Ohio.
By Jamie Sabau/Getty Images.)

Hat/tip to Political Wire and Andrew Sullivan.

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