Thursday, May 17, 2007

Liberals: unduly pessimistic about racism and Obama?

I was just reading Fz's excellent post on Obama when something jumped out at me. He says:

But, there is something else to think about. As the article points out, 90% of Americans say they would be "completely comfortable voting for a qualified presidential candidate who was black;" however, only 55% of Americans say that "Americans are ready to elect an African American or black as president." 35% say no. So, that means that at least 25% of people are comfortable with voting for a black candidate, but do not think that Americans are ready. Odd.

But, even with this mystery, I don't think Obama's race will effect him. The 35% of people who say America isn't ready are almost certainly Republicans anyway, so I don't think there's much to worry about.

I'm not so sure that the people who believe this are Republicans. One thing I have noticed is that many of my Democratic friends really like Obama, but are quick to point out that they don't believe a black man can be elected president. (They are all unable to back it up with polls or any form of evidence; they simply have a gut feeling that America is too racist for it to happen.) I've yet to hear a Republican say anything of the sort.

Obviously, a few anecdotes don't prove anything, but I think this attitude might help us understand the seeming inconsistency of the poll above. How can 90% of American be ready to vote for an African-American but only 55% think that he could win? Well, perhaps many of them, liberals in particular, are unduly pessimistic about the racism of the average American at the polling booth. I, for one, am convinced that if Obama loses, it will be his inexperience, not his ethnicity, that is his downfall.