Saturday, March 22, 2008

Obama’s speech: some interesting poll results.

Most MSMers went “Wow” following Sen. Barack Obama's speech in Philadelphia Tuesday in which he outed his white grandmother as a racist and condemned former Demicratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro for pointing out in some situations race and gender can advantage a person. But poll results suggest the public’s reaction was more “Ugh” than “Wow.”

Among the most interesting poll results are those gathered by InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion. Here’s the start of its report on them:

Barack Obama’s speech about race on Tuesday impressed many who witnessed it or read it. But most of America did neither, and many of them -- white and black -- were less persuaded of the speech’s capacity to heal racial wounds, or to put the issue of race behind Obama as he continues his quest for the White House.

That’s according to a new poll by InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion.

First, we screened poll respondents to find those who were aware that Obama’s pastor was in the news. A startling 82% knew about Obama’s speech, and about the controversy surrounding the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Of those who knew about the controversy and the speech, we asked, “Taking all this into account, are you more or less likely to support Obama for president?”

Less likely (52%)
More likely (19%)
About the same (27%)
No opinion (2%)

The poll was conducted March 19 among 1,051 Americans. After filtering out those not aware of Rev. Wright and Obama’s speech about him, the sample is 807, for a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2%. The data have been weighted for age, race, gender and partisan affiliation.

It’s easy to read too much into this poll. In the long-term, Obama’s speech about the racially insensitive political and social views of Rev. Wright may come to its final resting place in history books for being a signal moment in America’s tortured story of race relations. But in the short-attention-span theatre of a heated presidential race, it may amount to little more than a loud blip in an ever-fluxing news cycle.

Even so, the poll displays no numbers flattering to Obama. Most startling is that blacks by 56% to 31% said the speech made them less likely to vote for him.

That may be because Obama had some gutsy perspectives on blacks as well as on whites, and black observers of the speech may have been annoyed. But it’s hard to imagine that there’s going to be an appreciable retreat by blacks from the Obama column. …
The rest of the report is here at Southern Political Report.

Did the poll findings concerning blacks' reactions to the speech surprise you?

Whatever the case, I urge you to read the entire report. It provides methodological explanations and a critical discussion of results of a high quality we don’t often find in poll result reporting.

I’ll comment further on the report later today. Right now I need to get other posts up and then spend some time with my family.


Anonymous said...

There's a good review of the speech by Peggy Noonan in Sunday's WSJ - like her, I could have done without the class warfare aspects of the speech - but, nonetheless, I thought it was a good, but not great speech.

In watching some of the videos of Rev. Wright's "sermons," (not just the clips but longer portions of the sermons), the missing context of his anti-US comments is readily apparent. That is, of course the U.S. government has fallen short of its ideals (Native American Indian, African Americans, Japanese (WWII internment))....but, let's compare it to Hilter's Germany, Stalin's Russia, Mao's China, Japan's "rape of Nanking", Pol Pot's Cambodia, Rawanda, Serbia, etc. Rev. Wright seems to have missed the literally 100's of millions of dead in those situations -

IMHO, Obama would have been wiser to more forcefully emphasize the context of the U.S. government's errors and the opportunity for self-determination one has in the U.S (which he did mention), rather than simply surround himself with flags.

JWM said...

To Anon @ 1:35,

Thanks for the tip on Peggy Noonan's column.

Also, thank you for a very informed and reasoned comment.

Tonight or more likely tomorrow I plan to build a main page post on it.

I'll differ somewhat with some of the things you said and elaborate on others, but I mean it all to be in the context of respectful discussion over differences.

Please let me know if you see this comment.



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mac said...
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