Clarification: Wright controversy didn’t harm Obama’s white support

Have you heard of this man?

There’s been much speculation on where Barack Obama stands with white voters after controversial comments made by Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s former pastor, surfaced in videos on YouTube a couple weeks back. Some pundits predicted a backlash from white voters, saying his subsequent speech on race didn’t assuage voter concerns; one even called it “the beginning of the end” for the Senator. But a MSNBC/Wall Street Journal poll released last week showed no significant change in Obama’s white support. While Obama saw a decrease in white support from polling conducted two weeks earlier, it was a mere two points greater than his drop in overall support; the poll’s margin of error was 3.7 percentage points. Moreover, it turns out only a quarter of those sampled had heard of Mr Wright or the controversy surrounding his remarks.

You’d think such numbers would quell the punditry’s yarns. Sadly it didn’t. Today James Joyner of Outside the Beltway linked a story from Bloomberg which characterized Mr Obama’s white support from interviews with a misrepresenative sample of voters.

Your writer doesn’t care to comment on anything Fox News might have spun on the same story.

Advertisements

4 Responses

  1. Hm, I’d like to believe that. It’s very possible that MSNBC’s poll was correct, but I’d like to see what demographics they took their poll from. Anecdotal evidence from my spring break back in Farmington leads me to believe that it hurt him more than that poll says. I think the white people that would be most effected by Wright are the ones that live in rural and suburban neighborhoods.

  2. The (pertinent) demographic sections of the poll follow:

    ————————————————————————
    2a. For statistical purposes only, would you please tell me how old you are? (IF “REFUSED,” ASK:) Well,
    would you tell me which age group you belong to? +

    18-24…………………………………………… 6 [139-140]
    25-29…………………………………………… 7
    30-34…………………………………………… 15
    35-39…………………………………………… 7
    40-44…………………………………………… 9
    45-49…………………………………………… 12
    50-54…………………………………………… 7
    55-59…………………………………………… 9
    60-64…………………………………………… 10
    65-69…………………………………………… 7
    70-74…………………………………………… 4
    75 and over………………………………….. 7
    Not sure/refused…………………………. –
    + Results shown reflect responses among registered voters.

    2b. To ensure that we have a representative sample, would you please tell me whether you are from a Hispanic
    or Spanish-speaking background? +

    Yes, Hispanic………………………………. 9 [141]
    No, not Hispanic…………………………… 91
    Not sure/refused………………………….. –
    + Results shown reflect responses among registered voters.

    2c. And again, for statistical purposes only, what is your race––white, black, Asian, or something else? +

    White…………………………………………… 75 [142]
    Black……………………………………………. 11
    Asian…………………………………………… 1
    Other…………………………………………… 4
    Hispanic (VOL)…………………………….. 7
    Not sure/refused…………………………. 2
    + Results shown reflect responses among registered voters.

    F1. Are you currently employed? (IF CURRENTLY EMPLOYED:) What type of work do you do?

    (IF NOT CURRENTLY EMPLOYED:) Are you a student, a homemaker, retired, or unemployed and looking
    for work? +

    Currently Employed
    Professional/ manager…………………. 21 [175]
    White-collar worker……………………… 20
    Blue-collar worker……………………….. 17
    Farmer, rancher………………………….. –
    Not Currently Employed
    Student………………………………………. 3
    Homemaker………………………………… 9
    Retired……………………………………….. 23
    Unemployed, looking for work………. 4
    Other………………………………………….. –
    Not sure……………………………………. 3
    + Results shown reflect responses among registered voters.

    F2. What is the last grade that you completed in school? +

    Grade school…………………………………………………………. 1 [215-216]
    Some high school…………………………………………………… 3
    High school graduate……………………………………………… 23
    Some college, no degree………………………………………… 16
    Vocational training/2-year college……………………………. 13
    4-year college/bachelor’s degree…………………………….. 24
    Some postgraduate work, no degree……………………….. 3
    2 or 3 years’ postgraduate work/master’s degree……… 13
    Doctoral/law degree……………………………………………….. 2
    Not sure/refused…………………………………………………… 2
    + Results shown reflect responses among registered voters.

    F3. Thinking about your general approach to issues, do you consider yourself to be liberal, moderate, or
    conservative? (IF “LIBERAL” OR “CONSERVATIVE,” ASK:) Do you consider yourself to be very
    (liberal/conservative) or somewhat (liberal/conservative)? +

    Very liberal ………………………………….. 8 [217]
    Somewhat liberal …………………………. 15
    Moderate…………………………………….. 34
    Somewhat conservative……………….. 22
    Very conservative………………………… 15
    Not sure…………………………………….. 6
    + Results shown reflect responses among registered voters.

    F4. How often do you attend services at a church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship? +

    Never………………………………………….. 15 [218]
    Once a year…………………………………. 5
    A few times a year……………………….. 19
    Once a month………………………………. 7
    About twice a month…………………….. 8
    Once a week or more often…………… 42
    Not sure…………………………………….. 4
    + Results shown reflect responses among registered voters.

    ———————————————————————–

    So the most likely individual sampled was a white moderate who works in an office. More had gone to college for at least some time than those who only graduated high school but the categories of those with 4-year degrees and diplomas are nearly equal.

    There’s nothing on geography, but I’d say it’s a pretty evenhanded survey. They’re usually designed to capture a statistically representative sample.

  3. Yeah, I also encountered a lot of ignorance/prejudice on the issue. I think it hurt him pretty badly because it damages his biggest appeal, as a candidate who transcends party and race.

  4. I just find it hard to believe that those most likely to be offended were among the quarter of people who had heard of the controversy–they aren’t the ones scouring Politico or watching Chris Matthews, if you’ll forgive my generalization. To be sure, ardent Republicans who watch the news a lot were almost certain to get upset over this, and some of them might have been supporting Obama’s campaign–but again, those pundit-watching party-line Republicans are less likely to have been Obamacans than those moderates who only sometimes get involved.

    That’s not to say that this won’t hurt him in the future–I actually believe pundits when they say we haven’t heard the last of this, because we probably haven’t. 527’s, depending on how McCain and (potentially) Obama will treat them in any campaign-finance agreement, will go crazy with it. But again, hopefully there’s an agreement made between the two senators which require denunciations of the worst adds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: