NYC Woman: ‘I’ll Never Vote for a Black Man for President’

60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl reports that, “I went to a very fancy-schmancy dinner party in New York the other night. And a woman at our table, in so-called liberal New York City, announced to our table that she would never vote for a black to be in the White House.” From this data point she concludes that people are feeling more free to express racist thoughts for the first time in years and wonders what it’ll mean for Barack Obama.

Seriously.

For those who prefer samples of more than one, Gallup offers a new poll showing strong shifts of Democratic voters to Obama now that they have resigned themselves that he’ll be their nominee. Indeed, Obama is now tied with Clinton 47-47 among non-Hispanic whites and in virtual ties among those with high school education or less and women.

I’m seeing enough media stories with a Stahl-esque spin, though, that I’m concerned that the only possible explanation for an Obama loss will be that, alas, Americans are still too racist to accept a black man as their president. (And that a victory will come despite that fact.)

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Public Opinion Polls, Race and Politics,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. John says:

    I’m concerned that the only possible explanation for an Obama victory will be that, alas, Americans are still too racist

    I think you mean, the only explanation for an Obama loss.

    Yes. Fixed!

  2. Another potential problem is how can this be polled? My guess is that any polling done is not going to reflect the true feelings of how some will vote.

    More often then not a potential voter is not going to tell you they would not vote for Obama due to the fact that he is black.

  3. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I will not vote for Obama. This decision is not based upon the color of his skin but rather the depth of his character or lack of it. People tend to reflect the values of the company they keep. Obama did not hear the hate in Rev. Wrights sermons given over 20 years yet he hears his unspoken name in a 20 second part of a speech given by President Bush. Obama has no redeeming qualities. Sorry.

  4. […] The Republicans That Were The Race-Baiters Pt. 2 Jump to Comments Lesly Stahl brings us this bit of investigative journalism: 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl reports that, “I went to a […]

  5. PD Shaw says:

    I must go to different kinds of parties . . .

    I’m struck by what the “interviewer” kept asking. Did anybody ask the woman why she felt that way? No, they yelled at her and then ignored her. If I were there, I certainly think I would have asked her why she felt that way? That is unless I thought I might get yelled at and shunned by association.

  6. duckspeaker says:

    I will not vote for Obama. This decision is not based upon the color of his skin but rather the depth of his character or lack of it.

    “Character” is such a nebulous, relative rationale for determining one’s vote that it could easily be a surrogate for one’s own emotional reactions/biases to things such as race, gender, age, etc (whether consciously, or unconsciously). Or, more innocuously, “character” could mean the way a candidate speaks, or “stage presence”, or whether the candidate wears a flag pin.

    Personally, I choose to vote based on candidates’ stances on issues. Antiquated, no?

  7. Bithead says:

    We’re being set up, people.
    What they’re saying is, the only way Obama can lose is if we’re all racists.

    Guilt, you see, is the stongest trick in the Democrat playbook.

    Newton’s law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

    Bithead’s corollary states that for every action, there’s some power hungry yahoo trying to get you to feel guilty about it.

  8. Paul says:

    I’m from W.Va and the media already told you I’m racist, so I guess you know who I’m not voting for.

  9. JKB says:

    “Personally, I choose to vote based on candidates’ stances on issues. Antiquated, no?”

    No it is not antiquated, it is naive. When was the last time there was a politician who did what he said he would? How can you expect the unexpected not to arise that will require strength of character instead of survey crafted policy stances?

    But if we go with Obama’s stance on issues, then Obama doesn’t get my vote.
    If we go on demonstrated character, then Obama doesn’t get my vote.
    If we go on belief in the United States, then Obama doesn’t get my vote.
    If we go with past accomplishments to demonstrate future ability, then Obama doesn’t get my vote.

    Race might come up as a factor but long before then, Obama doesn’t get my vote.

  10. duckspeaker says:

    [Voting on issues] is naive.

    Race might come up as a factor

    If you’d rather vote on race than issues, there’s not much of a point in debating you.

  11. bains says:

    “Character” is such a nebulous, relative rationale for determining one’s vote that it could easily be a surrogate for one’s own emotional reactions/biases to things such as race, gender, age, etc

    What extraordinary efforts some undertake attempting to reframe a debate. Character is not nebulous, unless of course, the character that is questioned is one with whom you have already proclaimed unwavering devotion.

    As James points out, the narrative has already been laid out – all that chose not to vote for Sen. Obama are racist.

  12. Anderson says:

    Just out of curiosity, is no one startled to read the quotations of people who out-and-out say they won’t vote for him because he’s black?

    That makes no impression on OTB and its readers?

    Just checking.

  13. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Duckspeaker, we know who you are voting for, if you are able to vote. You are going to vote the issues. Good, did you get to hear Obama’s Jimmy Carter speech recently? The one where he stated we don’t get to drive SUVs or eat as much as we want, or keep the temp at 72 degrees because of other nations? You ever hear of liberty? I don’t think Obama has. You are not going to steal my stuff to pay your bills, and I’ll be damned if I will let the government do it for you. Thank God for the Second Amendment.

  14. William d'Inger says:

    The woman has more balls than this week’s caption contest. It’s too bad I can’t vote for her.

    Look, this is so friggin’ obvious that it’s almost insulting to have to say it, but here’s what’s going to happen if Obama is the candidate:

    1.) 95% of African-Americans are going to vote for him because he’s black.

    2.) 15% of whites are going to vote against him because he’s black.

    3.) Stahl is 100% certain to use those numbers as proof that white people are racists.

  15. James Joyner says:

    Just out of curiosity, is no one startled to read the quotations of people who out-and-out say they won’t vote for him because he’s black?

    Nope. Then again, I’ve lived a large part of my life in the South, where people are a bit more frank about that kind of thing.

    Given national opinion polls which show that the man is a favorite to beat a white war hero in November’s presidential election — and is currently beating a white woman with every conceivable advantage, including having been married to a popular white president — I’m just focused on the big picture.

    The bottom line is that a biracial man named “Barack Hussein Obama” is the odds-on favorite to be the next president of the United States. That some unidentified woman at a dinner party says she won’t vote for a black man is less interesting in comparison.

  16. steveplunk says:

    Anderson,

    It is somewhat disappointing there are people who make such statements and have such feelings but I’m not startled by it. The fact that it comes from a New York liberal doesn’t surprise me either. It’s all show for those types isn’t it?

    For me it’s his politics not his color. But I don’t see him as a black man either. Isn’t his mother white? Why is someone considered black instead of white in this case? I don’t get it.

    I do believe it is the press who makes the most of race in this election process. It’s a story they will continue to play even if the rest of the country doesn’t care.

  17. William d'Inger says:

    Just out of curiosity, is no one startled to read the quotations of people who out-and-out say they won’t vote for him because he’s black?

    I am only mildly surprised and only because it happened at a party Leslie Stahl would attend. One would think they would vet guests for political correctness in such situations.

    I have been to Chancellor’s parties for visiting VIPs where B-list attendees would make inappropriate utterances just to get noticed, so no, I am not shocked.

    Then too, I have to reserve judgement because the woman may have been quoted out of context. Well, that’s what they say when Rev. Wright or Michelle Obama say something controversial.

  18. Floyd says:

    We’ve had 9 campaigns for president by 7 black candidates over the last 10 elections.
    Why does everybody make such a big deal out of Barack Obama’s skin color?

    Would you vote for David Axelrod if he ran directly instead of by proxy??

  19. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    James, if one counts the votes actually cast, Clinton has more votes than Obama. Polls can and do reflect the wishes of the poler’s much more often than reality. Kerry out polled Bush in 2004 and should have won the election handily. Obama has not gotten to debate with anyone who would really throw him some tough questions and he has not had the Republicans run ad after ad against him to show what he really thinks and has said. I am willing to bet Obama does about as well as George McGovern did. No one wants a second Carter admin.

  20. Bithead says:

    That makes no impression on OTB and its readers?

    Well, let’s examine who it is they’re interviewing, here… Democrat primary voters.
    I thought Democrats were ABOVE race, and that they can’t be racist. What’s up with that?

  21. jummy says:

    progressives are horrible people.

  22. glasnost says:

    That some unidentified woman at a dinner party says she won’t vote for a black man is less interesting in comparison.

    James, before you dispatch this topic as a complete waste of your time, you might check the Kentucky exit polls. There’s a really, strikingly large percentage of white people admitting that race was a factor in their vote down there. The sample size is a lot larger than one.

    And if these are Democratic primary voters, than the Republican primary voters are probably worse. Not that we’d know that until we saw a serious black Republican presidential candidate, if that happens before my grandchildren are dead.

  23. Bithead says:

    And if these are Democratic primary voters, than the Republican primary voters are probably worse. Not that we’d know that until we saw a serious black Republican presidential candidate, if that happens before my grandchildren are dead.

    Nice try, Glas.
    It is, however, pure conjecture.
    The fact we have in front of us, is as you say, the significant amount of Democrats who based their vote on racism.

  24. James Joyner says:

    Kentucky exit polls. There’s a really, strikingly large percentage of white people admitting that race was a factor in their vote down there. The sample size is a lot larger than one.

    Presumably, race is a factor in the votes of the 90+ percent of blacks who vote for Obama, too. But I’m not sure it matters in the end — a Democratic primary is different than a general election.

    Obama is outpolling Clinton against McCain in national polls (RCP has it Obama +3.8, Clinton +2.2).

  25. Bithead says:

    Oh… and Glasnost, I should have also added that your assumption that Republicans are racist is simply does not hold up to the historical view of the Democrat party. Even recent history.

    Here’s a partial list of what I mean.

    Go ahead, Glasnost. Explain this to us. Tell us how you’re proud of being a Democrat.

    James:

    Your statement assumes that Blacks are attempting to vote their self-interest. In all honesty, given the history at the link, one wonders how that fits.

  26. Roger Veritas says:

    Leslie Stahl should have pointed out that Hussein Obama isn’t really Black so she could still vote for him.

    He doesn’t really have the ghetto credentials, or real civil rights credentials. He hasn’t released a Rap Album, picked a bail of cotton, witnessed a lynching or endured any hardships. Growing up in Hawaii, going Indonesia, prep school and attending Harvard & taking money from Tony Rezko don’t really qualify you as Black.

    Other than sitting in the pew of the Trinity Church in Chicago for I don’t know how many years he is a genuine snow skier. His kids are even blacker than he is.

  27. Bithead says:

    Other than sitting in the pew of the Trinity Church in Chicago for I don’t know how many years he is a genuine snow skier.

    Well, I do note with some irony that he was there for the specific purpose of giving him self some black street creds.