"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!" - Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) -

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Poll: Obama's race not the only factor for Ky. Voters, Oh Really!  And There You Have It From A Hot Bed Of Racism USA!


By Ryan Alessi | ralessi@herald-leader.com


Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. climbs the stairs to the plane as he leaves for Hawaii to visit his ailing grandmother, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008, in Indianapolis, Ind.


Poll results on race, religion in Kentucky's presidential campaign


Obama's faith is widely mistaken in Kentucky


External LinkMore coverage from the Herald-Leader/WKYT poll



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The color of Sen. Barack Obama's skin is a negative for some Kentucky voters, a new poll shows, but it's far from the only reason the Democratic presidential candidate is trailing Republican Sen. John McCain in the state.


The Herald-Leader/WKYT Kentucky Poll shows 12 percent of respondents said the fact that Obama, if elected, would be the first black president of the United States made them less likely to vote for him compared to 5 percent who said it made them more likely to support him. Eighty-three percent said Obama's race didn't affect their vote.


Overall, Obama, who is the child of a white mother and black father, trails McCain in Kentucky by 16 points, 55 percent to 39 percent, the poll results show.


"Let's not be naïve. Race is a factor with Obama. But is it costing him winning the state? No. There are a lot of other factors at work," said Del Ali, president of the polling firm Research 2000 in Olney, Md., which conducted the survey.


Not the least of which is the fact that the state has been trending toward Republicans for national offices for decades.


But the survey of 600 likely Kentucky voters, which was taken Oct. 19 to 21 and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points, also asked respondents to react to two statements about race in general.


More than half reported that they believed black politicians tend to be more concerned with promoting the interests of minority groups.


And more than three out of every five respondents also agreed with a statement that said "if blacks would only try harder, they could be just as well off as whites." One fifth of people polled said they disagreed with the statement while 19 percent said they weren't sure.


The 61 percent of Kentucky respondents who said they agreed with that statement is well above the 35 percent who agreed when asked the same question in a national Associated Press-Yahoo poll taken in September.


"It's the minority view in the rest of the country and a majority view in Kentucky," said Mark Peffley, political science professor at the University of Kentucky and a member of that department's Race and Politics Research Group. "That's a little troubling."


An analysis of the Kentucky poll numbers by the UK Race and Politics Research Group — which also provided guidance during the drafting of the survey questions — said those results could help explain why Obama's support in Kentucky is less than 40 percent when he leads McCain in most national polls.


Specifically, the analysis pointed out that the perception that blacks could be just as well off as whites if they worked harder was shared by 43 percent of Kentucky Democrats and 64 percent of independents who were polled. Four out of five Republicans also agreed with the statement.


Peffley, one of the UK professors in the research group, said further polling would be necessary to determine what that says about the extent of racial prejudice in Kentucky. But he said the results indicate a lack of understanding among Kentuckians that discrimination exists today. Such discrimination has been proven through experiments with black and white applicants for houses and jobs, he said.


Obama in Kentucky


While more respondents in the Kentucky poll said they are less likely to back Obama because of his race, it's not too far out of line with national results.


In the AP's poll, those saying they were more or less likely to support Obama because of his race were split at 9 percent.


Steve Voss, another UK professor in the race and politics group, said voters who are resentful of racial issues already are likely to associate the Democratic Party and its candidate with being supportive of minorities.


"These voters tend not to vote for national Democrats regardless of their race. They didn't vote for John Kerry either," Voss said. "The most one can say is that had Obama been white ... maybe he would have won more support than Kerry, but that's pretty darn speculative."


Indeed, Obama's polling numbers against McCain in Kentucky are on pace with Kerry's share of the vote in 2004 against Republican President George W. Bush. Kerry finished with 39.7 percent of the vote; an average of Obama's polling numbers have him about 40 percent, which is among the least change of any state, according to an analysis by UK professor Richard Fording.


"If there's something unusual in Kentucky, it's not evident in those numbers," Fording said.


Black politicians


One general concern is that 53 percent of respondents said they believed a black candidate would be more interested in advancing interests of minorities than the good of the nation, said Osi Onyekwuluje, a Bowling Green attorney who has run unsuccessfully for judgeships and as a Republican for state auditor.


"As long as that perception is out there, any black candidate running outside his own ethnic district is sunk," he said.


No Black Candidate Has Been Elected To Statewide Office In Kentucky History.


But Onyekwuluje, who also is a member of the Kentucky advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Human Rights, said many people might lump black political candidates in with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, black candidates who have a controversial history of injecting racial overtones into campaigns.


"Heck, I'm black and I don't like those two," he said. "They rub me the wrong way also."


One Kentuckian, Kayla Music, 18, of Paintsville, said she believes Obama would give preference to minority groups.


"I think he'd be racist," she said. "He would give them more freedom than whites."


Peffley, of UK, said Obama has dispelled those beliefs in other places where he's campaigned frequently and said publicly that he even disagrees with some aspects of affirmative action policies.


And such stereotypes often fade once people get to know more about an individual candidate or official, said Voss. Obama, he said, has made great strides since the primary.


The Herald-Leader/WKYT Kentucky Poll in May showed 21 percent of respondents believed Obama's race made him less electable in the state compared to 4 percent who said it made him more appealing.


"As you gain more information, the role of those stereotypes become less and less important," Voss said. "You can use the increasing information available in the news coverage and in the ads."


Roger Mahuron, 56, and a Henry County Democrat, said he still has had to defend his support of Obama to his friends.


"It almost seems to me like they're looking for an excuse not to vote for Obama," he said. "I hear lack of experience a lot. This is one thing that leaves me scratching my head."