Race and the Obama vote

October 7, 2008
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Yet another poll shows the contest between John McCain and Barack Obama as too close to call in Indiana. The WISH-TV Channel 13 survey has each with 46 percent of likely voters.

With margins like this, the election could turn on perceptions of race. And predicting how Indiana voters will react is a big wild card.

Long-time IUPUI political scientist Brian Vargus reminds that in the May primary election Obama failed to capture so much as a single county in a gigantic â??Uâ??-shaped swath around the Indianapolis area. That â??Uâ?? begins near Fort Wayne and extends south to cover virtually all of southern Indiana and up the western side of the state to Lafayette.

Are people in that â??Uâ?? racist? It would be naïve to think that some arenâ??t, Vargus says. Most of the apparent discomfort with Obama probably comes from the largely rural areas having little contact with minorities, he suspects.

Hardly anyone admits to pollsters that race influences their vote. Yet, Vargus notes that polls in other states have shown 5 to 15 percent of respondents say their neighbor wouldnâ??t vote for a person of color.

What do you think? To what extent will race play a role come November?
  • I'm sure it will play a fairly large role. It has to. It's part of the human condition. We are all, to a certain extent, leery of someone who isn't like ourselves. Whether that difference be in race, creed, color, ethnicity, religion, economic class, intelligence, morality, or merely geographic. It's the same throughout the world. It always has been and it always will be. National polls show that Obama is getting support from just under 50% of whites and nearly 90% of blacks. And that's completely understandable.
  • i am not speaking as a white man here, but as a gen-y man... ummm... who cares about color. we are voting on their values. If race matters that much to you, you aren't looking at history and only what you can physically see.
  • We may find out just how racist this country is if Obama loses. It seems like everyone under 25 is voting for Obama.
  • I think Barack Obama is the most impressive candidate we have witnessed in my voting lifetime of 28 years (since 18). Ronald Reagan was equally charismatic but not nearly as well educated. I am excited to be voting for Barack Obama. By the way, I am of Northern European ancestry. I see this fine man, of diverse ethnicity, as a good example of America's extraordinary multi-ethnicity. He will present a much-needed new face for America in the wider world! I hope and pray that we will all strive to be our best selves and not disparage anyone because of their race! The world needs us to be that shining beacon of hope and justice!
  • I am voting for McCain, not because of Obama's skin color. The reason is, Obama is flat out a socialist and deep down he hates America. The left wingers hate guns, religion, defending our country, and the list goes on and on. Bush has made some very big mistakes and this country does need to get back on track. However Obama policies will effect growth (in a bad way) and make our government even bigger. More social programs will not cure our ills. I am voting for McCain and all the twenty somethings can go screw them selves.
  • I think we are fortunate to have our votes private and therefore, people may use common sense to vote instead of race. Common sense tells me that if we had a national crisis and the President wasn't available and the Vice President had to make decisions, I want a person I know is capable of making split second decisions and not tell us they'll have to get back to us if they don't know what to do.
  • Race is obviously playing a role in the the U-shaped primary vote results noted from the May Democrat primary. We people of color in Marion County are overwhelmingly voting for Obama -- someone who looks like us.
  • one of these comments... is not like the others, one of these is Republician.
  • This is obsurd, people are already saying that if Obama loses its because of his race?!?!?!!? Wake up people, he is the most liberal Senator and some people will vote because of that. I am a Catholic and didn't vote for Kerry. Liberals need to take a page out of thier own book and as someone told me think for themselves. And for the record I am under 25 and voting for McCain, I will not be part of my generation that has their vote swayed by artistic Tshirts, MTV, or the Hollywood lefties...
  • Yay! Just remember kids, if you're white and don't vote for Obama you're a racist, but if you're black and you do vote for Obama solely because he's black you're not!
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaiSHcHM0PA

    Get used to it mcCainers, get used to it. There's a new sheriff in town!


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  1. So as I read this the one question that continues to come to me to ask is. Didn't Indiana only have a couple of exchanges for people to opt into which were very high because we really didn't want to expect the plan. So was this study done during that time and if so then I can understand these numbers. I also understand that we have now opened up for more options for hoosiers to choose from. Please correct if I'm wrong and if I'm not why was this not part of the story so that true overview could be taken away and not just parts of it to continue this negative tone against the ACA. I look forward to the clarity.

  2. It's really very simple. All forms of transportation are subsidized. All of them. Your tax money already goes toward every single form of transportation in the state. It is not a bad thing to put tax money toward mass transit. The state spends over 1,000,000,000 (yes billion) on roadway expansions and maintenance every single year. If you want to cry foul over anything cry foul over the overbuilding of highways which only serve people who can afford their own automobile.

  3. So instead of subsidizing a project with a market-driven scope, you suggest we subsidize a project that is way out of line with anything that can be economically sustainable just so we can have a better-looking skyline?

  4. Downtowner, if Cummins isn't getting expedited permitting and tax breaks to "do what they do", then I'd be happy with letting the market decide. But that isn't the case, is it?

  5. Patty, this commuter line provides a way for workers (willing to work lower wages) to get from Marion county to Hamilton county. These people are running your restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and retail stores. I don't see a lot of residents of Carmel working these jobs.