Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 17, 2008 / 14 Sivan 5768

The race factor in the 2008 presidential election

By Michael Barone


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Noemie Emery does me the honor of quoting me at length — and improving on my work — in the current Weekly Standard. Like me, she dissents from the view that Barack Obama is being rejected because of his race. Rather, some voters don't like the particular kind of person he is.


Skeptical? Try this thought experiment. How large is the class of American voters who (a) would not have voted for Colin Powell in 1996 (you'd have to look back on fall 1995 polls to get an idea of this) and (b) would not vote for Barack Obama this year? I would submit it is not very large. Virtually all Republicans and Republican-leaning independents were ready to vote for Powell as a Republican against Bill Clinton. Virtually all Democrats and a very large majority of Democratic-leaning independents are ready to vote for Obama this year.


What categories of voters would not have voted or would not vote for either of these two black candidates?


Voters who have become more conservative in the intervening 12 years. A small number, I should think: Republicans won a narrow plurality of the popular vote for House of Representatives in 1996; they're not doing that well so far this year, to say the least.

Voters who would have chosen Bill Clinton as a check on the Republican Congress in 1996 and would choose John McCain (or a nonvote for Obama) as a check on the Democratic Congress in 2008. Again, a small number. It was far from clear to voters which party would win the House in 1996, while a large majority of voters today believe Democrats will win a majority in the House.

Conservatives under the age of 30 who could not vote in 1996. Again, a small number: Polls show the Democrats with a big party identification edge with young voters and Obama with, if anything, a bigger edge in general election pairings.

Voters who would have voted for Powell as an independent but not as a Republican in 1996 and would not vote for Obama today. Again, a small group.


Voters who will not vote for a black candidate under any circumstances. Given the changing age structure of the population, we have to assume that they are fewer in number and a smaller percentage of the electorate today than in 1996.


My instinct is that the universe of voters who would not vote for either of these two black candidates is considerably less than 10 percent of the total electorate — let's say 6 percent. Voters in the first four of the five categories above are clearly motivated by something other than a refusal to vote for a black candidate under any circumstances. Each may amount to 1 percent or 2 percent of the total electorate. That leaves a vanishingly small percentage of voters unwilling to vote for a black under any circumstances: 1 percent, 2 percent, 3 percent, maybe 4 percent, tops. If you remember what American opinion was in the 1950s, that's a huge contrast.


I can think of two objections to this argument.


First, Colin Powell was not typical of Americans of African descent. He was the son of Jamaican immigrants, a career military officer, a Republican. So willingness to vote for Powell is not a true test of willingness to vote for a black candidate. But the same thing can be said of Obama. He is the son of an African man (not even an immigrant but a visa-holding resident alien) and a white woman, and he was educated at Columbia and Harvard, a law professor (or at least adjunct professor or lecturer). But they're both clearly and proudly (read their widely read autobiographies) of African descent.


John Kennedy was not typical of American Irish Catholics, either. He was the son of a multimillionaire, educated at Harvard, with a sister who was married to the Marquis of Hartington. Nevertheless, there were plainly many more Americans unwilling to vote for a Catholic in 1960 than there are Americans unwilling to vote for a black candidate from 1996 through 2008.


Second, the Bradley effect. Polls in the governors races in California in 1982 and Virginia in 1989 showed black candidates (Tom Bradley in California, Douglas Wilder in Virginia) winning by far larger margins than they actually won by (Bradley was ahead in Election Day votes but lost because the absentee voters went heavily against him). Those polls didn't tend to overestimate the percentages of the black candidates, but they did understate the percentages for their white opponents (which you might expect to at least some extent because both of them, George Deukmejian and Marshall Coleman, had lower substantive name identification).


Some argue that we have seen the Bradley effect in the Democratic primaries this year. But Obama has tended to win percentages about what one might expect from pre-election polls; it was the exit polls that often (not always) overstated Obama's support. That could have happened (and I think did happen) because of respondent bias. Only about half the voters approached by exit-poll takers agree to take the poll. I think it's entirely plausible that Obama voters were more willing than Clinton voters to take the exit poll, for the same reasons that Obama supporters were more willing than Clinton supporters to take the trouble to attend caucuses. (See the results from the primaries and caucuses in states that had both: Washington, Nebraska, Idaho, Texas.)


I guess I can't say the case is entirely closed. But in my view, we're dealing this year with an electorate with only an exceedingly small percentage of voters who will not under any circumstances vote for a black candidate. Almost all voters who are rejecting Obama are doing so because of specifics about him and his issue positions, not his race.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

BARONE'S LATEST
The New Americans  

Now, more than ever, the melting pot must be used to keep America great. Barone attacks multiculturalism and anti-American apologists--but he also rejects proposals for building a wall to keep immigrants out, or rounding up millions of illegals to send back home. Rather, the melting pot must be allowed to work (as it has for centuries) to teach new Americans the values, history, and unique spirit of America so they, too, can enjoy the American dream.. Sales help fund JWR.

JWR contributor Michael Barone is a columnist at U.S. News & World Report. Comment by clicking here.




Michael Barone Archives

© 2006, US News & World Report

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles