Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Americans Dislike SCOTUS Voting Rights Decision

Posted Jul 08, 2013 at 9:36 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new survey by ABC News-Washington Post, just 33% of Americans approve of the Supreme Court's ruling dismantling a key element of the Voting Rights Act. A majority, 51%, disapprove. Among African Americans, disapproval stands at 71%.

Election 2012: The Race Factor?

Posted Apr 17, 2013 at 9:04 AM by Maurice Berger

A new study by Harvard University factors race into the final popular vote tally of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections and and concludes that "racial animus in the United States appears to have cost Obama roughly four percentage points of the national popular vote" in both races. 

Republicans Could Have Serious Problem Come November

Posted May 25, 2010 at 1:25 AM by Maurice Berger

Before Republicans start celebrating what some predict may be a massive victory in November, they may want to take notice of one sobering phenomenon: In Colorado and Arizona, Public Policy Polling reports that Hispanic voters are now swinging dramatically towards Democrats in the wake of Arizona's new immigration law. PPP continues: "Hispanics in the Mountain West are leaning much more strongly toward the Democrats since the Arizona law was passed. The big question then becomes whether there are white voters who are going to go Republican this fall who wouldn't have if that bill hadn't been passed. We don't see any evidence of that happening yet." This trend could easily shift into other states with significant Hispanic populations, effecting very close race in states as disparate as California, Ohio, and Florida, not to mention Colorado and Arizona. Stay tuned. This could be the sleeper phenomenon of the 2010 cycle.

Breakdown Of Obama's Approval Rating

Posted Dec 22, 2009 at 1:12 AM by Maurice Berger

A Pew Research Center survey offers a breakdown of Obama's approval status by race, age, gender, and political affiliation. At years end, it offers a snapshop of where the President stands with various groups. Fully 88% of non-Hispanic African Americans approve of Obama’s job performance, compared with 39% of non-Hispanic whites. Obama continues to draw broad support from his Democratic base: comparable percentages of liberal Democrats (85%) and conservative and moderate Democrats (82%) approve of the way he is handling his job. By contrast, Republicans overwhelmingly disapprove (19% approve vs. 73% disapprove); among conservative Republicans just 12% approve of Obama’s job performance while 82% disapprove.

Most Americans Do Not See Improvement in US Race Relations

Posted Nov 12, 2009 at 1:10 AM by Maurice Berger

With Barack Obama's historic election in November 2008, a hefty majority of Americans expected race relations to improve in the United States. A year later, "the high hopes Americans had for race relations . . . have yet to be fully realized," according to a new Gallup survey. "Currently, 41% of Americans believe race relations have gotten better since Obama's win; another 35% think they have not changed, while 22% say they have gotten worse. Last November, 70% thought race relations would improve as a result of the landmark outcome."

White Voters Now Disapprove of Obama

Posted Sep 25, 2009 at 1:48 AM by Maurice Berger

One statistic in a new Public Policy Polling survey suggests that there is now a massive racial divide in the way Americans view President Barack Obama: "50% of whites disapprove of Obama’s performance compared to 45% approving but his overall numbers are solid thank to an 89% rating with African Americans and a 64% one with Hispanics." Given Obama's inability in Election 2008 to garner more than 43.5% of the white vote (to McCain's 57%)--statistically equal to his present-day performance with this demographic--PollTrack suggests that this number should not be surprising. The problem for Obama, however, is the steady decline of support among white voters during his tenture as president relative to voters of color, who continue to enthusiastically support him.

Enormous Racial Divide On Issue Of Obama's Handing Of Gates Question

Posted Jul 27, 2009 at 2:00 AM by Maurice Berger


The only poll thus far on the question of how President Obama handled the issue of the arrest of Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr indicates an enormous racial divide in the public's assessement. While an 46% of Americans rate the president’s response as poor, only 26% of voters nationwide say President Obama did a good or excellent job answering a press conference question about the incident involving a white Cambridge, Massachusetts policeman and a black Harvard professor. Yet, beneath the "top line numbers is a huge gap between the way that white and black Americans view the situation . . . 71% of African-Americans say the president’s response was good or excellent, a view shared by just 22% of white Americans. At the other extreme, 53% of white voters gave the president’s response a poor grade. 5% of black Americans offered such a negative response."

African Americans Say Race Relations No Better With Obama

Posted Jun 29, 2009 at 2:09 AM by Maurice Berger

A majority of African Americans believe that race relations have not improved with the election of President Obama, according to a new CNN/Essence/Opinion Research Corporation poll: "African-Americans really like President Obama, but more and more feel that race relations have not gotten better since he took office, a new national poll found. 96% of African-Americans approve of how Obama is handling his presidency . . . During the 2008 election, 38 percent of blacks surveyed thought racial discrimination was a serious problem. In the new survey, 55 percent of blacks surveyed believed it was a serious problem, which is about the same level as it was in 2000."

GOP: The White Party?

Posted Jun 11, 2009 at 1:50 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, the GOP is increasingly the party of white Americans: The survey reported that "more than 6 in 10 Republicans today are white conservatives, while most of the rest are whites with other ideological leanings; only 11% of Republicans are Hispanics, or are blacks or members of other races. By contrast, only 12% of Democrats are white conservatives, while about half are white moderates or liberals and a third are nonwhite. Gallup's analysis: 'Does the Republican Party in essence "stick to the knitting" and cling to its core conservative principles? Or should the Republicans make an effort to expand their base -- among whites who are moderate or less religious, and/or the various nonwhite groups who to this point are largely ignoring the Republican Party in favor of the Democrats? The decision the party makes in response to this question could be pivotal in helping determine its future.'"

Half of Americans Think Election Of Barack Obama Will Improve Race Relations

Posted Jan 22, 2009 at 4:11 AM by Maurice Berger

Nearly half of Americans in a new poll believe that the election of Barack Obama as the nation's first black president will inevitably improve race relations: "48% believe his inauguration signals the start of a new era of race relations in the United States. 32% disagree, while another 21% are undecided . . . African-Americans are much more convinced than white Americans that Obama’s inauguration will change race relations. Three out of four blacks (75%) say this will be the case, compared to just 43% of whites. Over a third of whites (35%) do not believe this to be true, compared to just 19% of blacks. Over a quarter of adults (26%) say they are very hopeful that the start of Obama’s administration will lead to a quick turnaround for America, and another third (34%) are somewhat hopeful. Only 15% say they are not at all hopeful for a rapid improvement and 22% say they are not very hopeful"

Bloomberg News: How Much Did Race Matter In Election 2008?

Posted Dec 01, 2008 at 5:03 AM by Maurice Berger

A just published Bloomberg News analysis examines the subject of race and whether the racial breakdown of election 2008 represented a new Democrat-tilting realignment. His conclusion: the republicans may be in trouble, yet if the racial and generational composition on Nov. 4 had been identical to four years ago, John McCain may well have won: "A deeper look at the changing shape of the electorate suggests more fundamental problems for Republicans. Their core constituencies are shrinking, and the wedge issues that used to plague Democrats are now more divisive for Republicans. . . . Non-whites comprised 26 percent of the electorate, up from 23 percent in 2004. Obama carried 80 percent of these voters. African-Americans turned out in record numbers, and almost all of them voted for the first black president. Republicans once hoped to score well among Hispanics, the fastest-growing slice of the population. They were 9 percent of the electorate last month, with almost three times as many Latino voters as just 16 years ago. Obama carried Hispanics, 67 percent to 31 percent, according to exit polls. That gave him a cushion in heavily Hispanic-populated states like New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado -- all of which were in the Republican column four years before -- and in places like Iowa and North Carolina, which have growing Latino populations."

Obama's New Majority: The "Race" Factor

Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 2:00 AM by Maurice Berger

One thing is certain about Election 2008: if Obama had depended on white voters for victory, McCain would now be president. Indeed, the Democrat did no better than most presidential candidates of his party with white voters. The final racial breakdown of the election is sobering: among white voters, McCain received a whopping 55% of the vote, Obama did not better than 43%. An important article in the Miami Herald, puts Obama victory in perspective: he won because many white people stayed home and minorities voted in record numbers for the Democrat: "Barack Obama's 8.5 million-vote margin over John McCain was fueled by a more than 20 percent surge in minority voting, a new analysis of exit polling data suggests. While Obama won a lopsided number of electoral votes, his popular-vote margin was increased by an outpouring of minority balloting as the number of whites who cast ballots declined overall. The analysis estimated that about 5.8 million more minorities voted in this year's presidential election than in 2004 while nearly 1.2 million fewer whites went to the polls. Separate opinion polls and election results themselves indicate that an overwhelming majority of African-Americans and Latinos backed Obama . . . Based on exit polling data, Project Vote estimated that the nationwide African-American vote rose by 2.88 million, to 16.3 million, accounting for 13 percent of the ballots compared with 11 percent in 2004. The Latino turnout increased by 1.5 million to 11.3 million, accounting for 9 percent of the total ballots, up from 8 percent, the group said." For the full article click here.


Gallup: Race A Neutral Factor In This Election?

Posted Oct 10, 2008 at 1:46 AM by Maurice Berger

In what may rank as one of the odder observations by a pollster in this cycle, Gallup reports the following: "While 6% of voters say they are less likely to vote for Barack Obama because of his race, 9% say they are more likely to vote for him, making the impact of his race a neutral to slightly positive factor when all voters' self-reported attitudes are taken into account." Polltrack would like to know: since when do people "self-report" racial prejudice, something implied in an affirmative answer to Gallup's question? While race and racism may not determine the outcome of this election, Gallup's conclusion, that racial prejudice does not appear to hurt Obama, disregards the unconscious and complex nature of our attitudes about race--the anxiety, ambivalence, and confusion that inflects our view of racial difference. (Indeed, scores of studies have examined the psycho-social impulse to conceal from public view racial anxiety or animus.) This is why PollTrack continually cautions against interpreting public opinion through pure numbers or numerical formulas. What sometimes gets left out in pollster's findings is the gray area that makes public opinion fluid, nuanced, and sometimes hard to pin down.

Bush Approval At All-Time Low: How Will This Effect Election 2008?

Posted Oct 01, 2008 at 1:17 AM by Maurice Berger

President Bush's approval rating has dropped to an all-time low, according to Gallup: "Before the U.S. House of Representatives voted down a proposed financial rescue plan endorsed by the Bush administration, just 27% of Americans said they approved of the job George W. Bush is doing as president, the lowest of his presidency and already down 4 points since the financial crisis intensified." To what extent, PollTrack wonders, is this decline, coupled with the voters' tendency in recent surveys to blame Republicans in general for the present economic crisis, contributing to McCain's declining polling numbers? Over the next month, will it be possible for McCain to transcend the negative standing of his party? Is his fate inexorably linked to the success or failure--or the public perception thereof--of the bailout package and its economic aftermath? Interestingly, while McCain's numbers have drawn back to pre-convention levels--and Obama's are up accordingly--the Democrat still does not break the 50% mark in most national polls. PollTrack observes that there remains a undertow of resistance to Obama in the electorate at large. This inability to seal the deal with the American voter may be due to a number of factors--including uncertainty about the candidate's experience, his inability to lock up support from working class and so-called Reagan Democrats (thus, McCain's leads in OH, TN, WV, and KY) and die hard Hillary Clinton supporters, overt or unconscious racism, or the perception that the Democrat is somehow "foreign" or "out of touch" with middle American values. Will the nation's economic implosion help Obama to seal the deal or will McCain retake the momentum?

Tightening Race: "Crisis" Management?

Posted Aug 13, 2008 at 6:43 AM by Maurice Berger

As if to underscore the closeness of the national race, a new Pew Research poll, suggests that Obama's national lead over McCain has disappeared. The race is now a statistical tie, with Obama barely edging McCain, 46% to 43%, down from the eight point lead held by Obama in June and a result consistent with most other national polls. According to Pew, the Republican base is getting behind McCain. Another key finding: McCain rates considerably higher than Obama on the question of leadership: In contrast to June polling, "An even greater percentage of voters . . . now see McCain as the candidate who would use the best judgment in a crisis, and an increasing percentage see him as the candidate who can get things done."

The aspect of voter response concerning "crisis management"--in a survey taken over the past few days--begs the following question: Is the military conflagration between Russia and Georgia making voters nervous, and thus less likely to take a chance on a younger candidate with relatively little military and foreign policy experience? Is the McCain campaign's effort to paint Obama as a self-involved "celebrity" contributing to voter perceptions of McCain as the more serious candidate, better able to handle a crisis? To what extend does Obama's race and the perception advanced by some of his critics that he is "different" or even un-American play into voter anxieties about him? Will McCain's recent gaffes and misstatements ultimately undermine his message of stability, good judgment, and leadership?