Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One Voice?

"..[T]he current angst over the economy bridges racial and ethnic divides. Blacks, whites and Hispanics agree the economy and jobs should lead the new president's agenda in January...By overwhelming margins, all three groups agree that the country is on the wrong track. One third or a bit more of whites, blacks and Hispanics say they feel financially insecure."

Susan Page and William Risser, "Beyond Black and White," USA Today, September 23, 2008

This survey by USA Today, ABC, and Columbia University captured a lot of common concerns across races, although there were some clear differences on status of racial equality and affirmative action. Barack Obama is tapping these common concerns and voices.

Another poll released about the same time by Yahoo, Associated Press and Stanford University reports starker racial differences.

"It shows that blacks and whites disagree tremendously on how much racial prejudice exists, whose fault it is and how much influence blacks have in politics...When asked 'how much discrimination against blacks' exists, 10 percent of whites said 'at lot' and 45 percent said 'some.' Among blacks, 57 percent said 'a lot' and all but a fraction of the rest said "some."

Charles Babbington, Poll shows gap between blacks and whites over racial discrimination, Associated Press/YahooThis article concludes that Barack Obama's "path to the presidency is steeper than if he were white."

I was talking to a former black mayor who said that no matter if you are ahead in the polls on Election Day you have to take account of the role of race when people cast their votes. His answer was that you needed a good ground game -- getting out your vote.

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