When it Comes to Politics, Are We More Racist Than We Think?

Manuel 2012/06/12 18:52:02
People are usually reluctant to admit their real feelings in surveys, but there's no doubt that our experiences and our prejudices play a part in the way we vote. In order to figure out whether racial bias
affected Barack Obama's results in the 2008 presidential election, Seth
Stephens-Davidowitz, a doctoral candidate in economics at Harvard
University, passed over easy-to-manipulate surveys and looked at data
from another source: online searches.

When most people are searching for information online, they're likely to
be alone and less likely to censor their thoughts, he explains. "You
may have typed things into Google that you would hesitate to admit in
polite company," he writes in a New York Times article. "I certainly have. The majority of Americans have as well: We Google the word 'porn' more often than the word 'weather'."

He chose a common racial insult that starts with "N" and looked for
searches that used the singular and plural forms of the word. "The most
common searches including the epithet… return websites with derogatory
material about African-Americans," he writes in his study.
"The top hits for the top racially charged searches are nearly all
textbook examples of antilocution, a majority group's sharing
stereotype-based jokes using coarse language outside a minority group's

That held true for searches from 2004 through 2007 (searches for "n**ga"
led mostly to rap lyrics, which he disregarded for this study). "I used
data from 2004 to 2007 because I wanted a measure not directly
influenced by feelings toward Mr. Obama," he writes in the New York

But from 2008 on, he discovered, "Obama" was one of the most prevalent search terms in racially tinged online searches.

After gathering information on the racially charged search queries,
Stephens-Davidowitz took a look at voting data from around the country
and compared each area's 2008 results, when Obama was running for
president, to voting results from 2004, when all of the candidates were

Though many people believe that our first African-American president won
the election thanks in part to increased turnout by African-American
voters, Stephens-Davidowitz's research shows that those votes only added
about 1 percentage point to Obama's totals. "In the general election,
this effect was comparatively minor," he concludes. But in areas with
high racial search rates, the fact that Obama is African American worked
against him, sometimes significantly.

"The results imply that, relative to the most racially tolerant areas in
the United States, prejudice cost Obama between 3.1 percentage points
and 5.0 percentage points of the national popular vote,"
Stephens-Davidowitz points out in his study. "This implies racial animus
gave Obama's opponent roughly the equivalent of a home-state advantage

"Any votes Obama gained due to his race in the general election were not
nearly enough to outweigh the cost of racial animus, meaning race was a
large net negative for Obama," he adds.

Even if states that are considered fairly liberal, racism is prevalent
enough in certain areas to put the entire state high up on the list.
"Other areas with high percentages included western Pennsylvania,
eastern Ohio, upstate New York and southern Mississippi,"
Stephens-Davidowitz points out in his New York Times article.

The 10 states with the fewest racially charged searches were Utah,
Hawaii, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Washington DC, Minnesota, Oregon,
Montana, and Wyoming.

What does this mean for this year's contest? "Losing even two percentage
points lowers the probability of a candidate's winning the popular vote
by a third," Stephens-Davidowitz explains. "Prejudice could cost Mr.
Obama crucial states like Ohio, Florida and even Pennsylvania."

Any opinions on this?
Add Photos & Videos

Top Opinion

  • Bibliophilic 2012/06/13 01:10:34
    A large percentage of the US population is racist. Deep down inside (or not) they believe that certain races are inferior to others. This is something I find distressing about humanity.

Sort By
  • Most Raves
  • Least Raves
  • Oldest
  • Newest

  • Manuel captain... 2012/06/12 21:53:22
    too-shay..... HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD
  • Manuel None 2012/06/12 21:54:57
    lol...you did read captain's answer right?..... HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD
  • None Manuel 2012/06/14 14:10:48 (edited)
    Congressman West is new on the scene...so give him time.

    As for his discharge ,,,I would rather have a man of such integrity in charge than the Intelligence Leaking-DroneKilling- War Criminal-in-Chief now in power .

    Jesus...you lefties are such pussies when it come to roughing up the enemies killing our soldiers! His man walked away... the war ciminal drone kills whole households who are taken away in pieces.!


    The lieutenant colonel immediately went to his boss, woke him up, and told him what he had done, and about the information he'd gotten from the Iraqi. West didn't say anything about what his troops had done. The boss — Col. Kevin Stramara — responded only by saying something like, "Alan, we need to take the high road." Leaving Stramara, West went to the medics' area, and ordered one of the doctors to examine and treat the prisoner. The doctor found the man bruised and scared, but not injured in any significant way. The next day, West briefed his own staff about the incident, and told them he took full responsibility. And that, West thought, was that. Apparently so did Stramara, who never even reported the incident.

    obama joker
  • Manuel None 2012/06/14 17:00:23 (edited)
    West is a hot head...not good for a President to be....and he's out because it was just a circus act from the right...

    And the pussies on the right couldn't even get Bin Ladin...lol bin ladin and Obama
  • None Manuel 2012/06/14 17:04:39 (edited)
    I gotta tell you...surprised the hell out of me when he let Seal Team 6 do it.
    Still prob not enough.,,too bad he supports policies that are destroying our economy

  • Manuel None 2012/06/18 00:32:14
    that's just typical right wing propaganda...
  • Manuel captain... 2012/06/12 21:58:59
    all to true.
  • Builder None 2012/06/13 19:29:20
    Well I am glad you think highly of Alan West. I don't know to many people who does!
  • Sour Dime 2012/06/12 19:03:09
    Sour Dime
    Not in the least bit, everyone is just so sensitive about it.
  • Manuel Sour Dime 2012/06/12 19:27:16
    it depends ...
  • Sour Dime Manuel 2012/06/12 20:14:01
    Sour Dime
    On what?
  • captain... Sour Dime 2012/06/12 19:32:30
    Really? Everyone is just "so sensitive" about racism? Should we all just be racist and love it, then?
  • Sour Dime captain... 2012/06/12 20:15:23
    Sour Dime
    Everyone has a different opinion on what is or isn't racist, to be racist means to be hateful to a specific race for no reason, at least that is what it means to me. What does it mean to you?
  • captain... Sour Dime 2012/06/12 20:59:15
    Definition of racist:

    Believing that there are differences among races and that those differences determine cultural or individual achievement, usually placing one race superior to another; anything based on that belief structure.

    Why shouldn't people be sensitive to that? It's what we only recently tried to correct in this country.
  • Sour Dime captain... 2012/06/12 21:07:47
    Sour Dime
    There are differences maybe not difference that determine a superior outcome but we are all different and should be proud ones success depends on the individual differences not the race.
  • captain... Sour Dime 2012/06/12 21:35:14
    Funny thing is that we are all one race. The human race. What difference are important enough to vote on? NONE.
  • Sour Dime captain... 2012/06/12 22:18:46
    Sour Dime
    with sub races, breeds if you will; dogs are all dogs but you have different breeds.
  • just me 2012/06/12 18:57:23
    just me
  • Mark In Irvine 2012/06/12 18:54:52
    Mark In Irvine
    "we" aren't but some people sure are!
  • Balladeer-PWCM-POTL 2012/06/12 18:53:41
  • Manuel Ballade... 2012/06/12 19:29:03
    well there's a good answer of where this post proves true....lol
  • captain... Ballade... 2012/06/12 19:34:06
    Wow, really?
  • Ballade... captain... 2012/06/12 19:37:21 (edited)
    Show me a black leader that has ever been seriously charged with racism?...not even one as foam-at-the-mouth as THIS guy

  • captain... Ballade... 2012/06/12 22:27:13
    What? Who said he wasn't racist?

    He very well is a racist. And, your point?
  • Ballade... captain... 2012/06/12 22:41:58
    show me his condemnation in the mainstream news and entertainment media....SHOW ME the comments against this Black Racist that are comparable to THESE..

  • captain... Ballade... 2012/06/12 22:49:02
    Ummm... He's one guy. And, believe you me, the right has been going on about him for about 8 years now.

    It's about time you put that to rest, man. He's not an entire voting group that's trying to actively control the political framework of this nation NOR does he have the funds and backing to complete such a mission.

    The Tea Party is a whole other being.
  • Ballade... captain... 2012/06/12 22:55:28
    oh really ever hear of Sanford, Florida...imagine if the TEA party did any of THIS...

  • captain... Ballade... 2012/06/12 23:30:09
    Calling for a bounty on a man's head after they break the law isn't a race crime.

    The Tea Party is actually putting people in office. They can control outcomes of societal issues through who they put in office. The New Black Panther Party is full of little more than empty rhetoric. I'd love you to prove otherwise.

    You're also pretty hard-pressed to prove the New Black Panther Party has any ties to government officials.

    Russel Pearce and JT Ready are two people you might want to look into.
  • Ballade... captain... 2012/06/12 23:39:07
    at the time Zimmerman wasn't even charged so your statement "Calling for a bounty on a man's head after they break the law" show how stupid you truly are also...so groups are not supposed to get involved on electing people...hmmm how do you feel about the following...

    The tides foundation
    Center for American Progress
    Media matters for America
    Open Society Institute
    People for The America Way

    I will bet my guitar you APPROVE of all of them because they elect socialists to power...but the TEA party is evil

    HYPOCRITE you get the last word before i decide whether you should be in my block bin with the rest of the toxic waste
  • captain... Ballade... 2012/06/13 00:05:11 (edited)
    I guess you didn't see that prominent members in the Tea Party aren't connected with Nazis. Oops.

    You'd also be hard-pressed to connect the new black panther party to any of the groups you mention.

    Zimmerman is far from innocent.
  • Ballade... captain... 2012/06/12 23:41:43
    empty rhetoric...

    Philly Voter intmidation
  • captain... Ballade... 2012/06/13 00:04:46
    Pretty much. He's an innocent man. Never convicted.
  • Manuel Ballade... 2012/06/13 03:15:33
    that's his free speech rights...same rights as these guys get.... Ron Paul with racist Don  Black
  • Ballade... Manuel 2012/06/13 03:19:58
    show me king Shamir called a racist in the MSM
  • Manuel Ballade... 2012/06/13 03:35:48
  • Ballade... Manuel 2012/06/13 03:47:32
    ever hear of al Sharpton? Anyone called him a RACIST after Tawana Brawley....How about Jesse Jackson and his comment of 'hymietown'?? oh and let's not forget THIS Black Racist..

    or this other BLACK Racist..

  • Manuel Ballade... 2012/06/13 05:19:51
    in your mind they are racists....show where any of these men said to kill white babies.....
  • Ballade... Manuel 2012/06/13 17:44:32
    show me their condemnation of King Shamir?...I am simply using a rule written by socialists years ago...they claimed Reagan was a member of the KKK because he didn't condemn their actions and marches..'Sauce for the goose" etc.

See Votes by State

The map above displays the winning answer by region.

News & Politics

2016/02/09 20:40:09

Hot Questions on SodaHead
More Hot Questions

More Community More Originals