Newsweek Poll Creates 'Racial Resentment Index' for Whites Not Blacks

In an attempt to explain how race will impact Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama's run for the White House, Newsweek has created a "Racial Resentment Index" exclusively for white people without measuring such biases of non-whites.

Apparently, it's only important to Newsweek to identify if racism is a factor in why whites prefer Republican presidential candidate John McCain and not if racism is a factor in why blacks support Obama.

Such can be read between the lines in the article published Friday entitled "The White Stuff: A new NEWSWEEK Poll underscores Obama's racial challenge" (emphasis added, picture courtesy Getty Images):

Even as he closes in on the Democratic nomination for the presidency, Sen. Barack Obama is facing lingering problems winning the support of white voters--including some in his own party. In a new NEWSWEEK Poll of registered voters, Obama trails presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain 40 percent to 52 percent among whites. Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama's challenger for the Democratic nomination, also trails McCain among white voters but by a smaller margin, 44 percent to 48 percent. [...]

Obama's race may well explain his difficulty in winning over white voters. In the NEWSWEEK Poll, participants were asked to answer questions on a variety of race-related topics including racial preferences, interracial marriage, attitudes toward social welfare and general attitudes toward African-Americans. Respondents were grouped according to their answers on a "Racial Resentment Index." Among white Democrats with a low Racial Resentment Index rating, Obama beat McCain in a hypothetical match-up 78 percent to 17 percent. That is virtually identical to Clinton's margin in the category, 79 percent to 13 percent. But among white Democrats with high scores on the Racial Resentment Index, the picture was very different: Obama led McCain by only 18 points (51 to 33) while Clinton maintained a much larger 59-point lead (78 to 18).
Who exactly are these high Racial Resentment Index voters? A majority, 61 percent, have less than a four-year college education, many are older (44 percent were over the age of 60 compared to just 18 percent under the age of 40) and nearly half (46 percent) live in the South.

The complete poll defined the Racial Resentment Index thusly (emphasis added):

The Racial Resentment Index is an additive index based on response to 10 specific questions measuring whites’ attitudes towards African-Americans, social welfare programs, and the civil rights movement. See Appendix for more a more [sic] detailed description.

Here's the appendix:

The Racial Resentment Index is an additive index based on response to 10 specific questions measuring whites’ attitudes towards African-Americans, social welfare programs, and the civil rights movement. The following questions were used to create the index:
Disapprove of racial preferences (Q17=2)
Less qualified people hired often (Q18=1)
Whites lose out (Q19=2,4)
Gone too far pushing rights (Q20a=1)
Poor too dependent on government (Q20b=1)
Blacks responsible for own condition (Q21=2)
Disapprove of interracial marriage (Q22=2)
Few things in common with blacks (Q23=3)
Would mind if black person moved close (Q24=1)
Would be upset if daughter dated black (Q25=2,3)
The range of possible scores is 0-10.
Racial Resentment Index Score
High (5-10)
Medium (3-4)
Low (0-2)

This raises two important questions for Newsweek:

  1. Why wasn't it concerned about McCain's lingering problems winning the support of black voters?
  2. Why didn't it measure a Racial Resentment Index for the non-whites that participated in the poll, especially for the blacks that overwhelmingly support Obama?

In the end, it is clear that this Newsweek poll intentionally ignored how racism is playing a factor for both of the presumed presidential candidates. By doing so, the magazine has exhibited a deplorable bias that could end up furthering the racial divide in our nation.

Think about: we all know that racism exists in our country. This shouldn't come as a shock to anyone.

However, racism is a multi-laned mega-highway wherein some members of each race harbor ill feelings towards others. As such, it is by no means a whites only affectation.

If we as a nation are ever going to solve this problem, we will do so only by identifying the causes of racism in all ethnic groups.

By contrast, if Obama-loving media only look at this matter from the perspective of why whites vote for McCain, they will not only be displaying a deplorable liberal bias in a national campaign, but also will be fanning the fires of racial discontent in this country.

Sadly, this Newsweek poll and article are likely just a precursor to the disgraceful tactics press members are going to take in the next five plus months to seal a victory for Obama.

How truly unfortunate for the future of race relations in America.

Race Issues Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential Racism Newsweek
Noel Sheppard's picture