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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Obama's Unfavorables In Ohio: Is Racism Behind The Numbers?

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- An Ohio Poll released today by the University of Cincinnati shows 27 percent of white Democrats in the state have an unfavorable opinion of Barack Obama's presidential candidacy. In fact, whites gave the African American Illinois senator the highest unfavorable rating among the five possible Democratic nominees whose popularity and name recognition were plumbed and measured. And less than half of Ohio's white Democrats view the black senator favorably. The random sampling of 321 registered voters was conducted Oct. 19-31 by the University of Cincinnati's institute for policy research, and it appeared to expose a vein of possible racism in the Democratic electorate.

What else might explain why the only the only African-American candidate fared worse among whites than even U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, whose campaign is going nowhere? Is there another possible reason for Obama's unfavorables other than skin color? The poll even notes that as Obama has increased his name recognition, his favorable rating has dropped -- an indication white people may have discovered he is a black man.

The full-text of the Ohio Poll (pdf) is here and the Democratic favorable/unfavorable ratings are on pages seven and eight.

Here are they broken down by race:

Hillary Clinton -- Af/Am Favorable 86%; Unfavorable 4%
White Fav 67%; Unfav. 22%

John Edwards -- Af/Am Favorable 29%; Unfavorable 10%
White Fav 63%; Unfav 15%

Dennis Kucinich -- Af/Am Favorable 19%; Unfavorable 10%
White Fav 29%; Unfav 21%

Barack Obama -- Af/Am Favorable 75%; Unfavorable N/A
White Fav 47%; Unfav 27%

Al Gore -- Af/Am Favorable 75%; Unfavorable 5%
White Fav 67%; Unfav 21%

The poll makes to effort to explain why white Democrats in Ohio have a lower opinion of Obama than they have of Kucinich, D-10, the Cleveland congressman. Kucinich's presidential campaign has demonstrated no signs of significant support among the Democratic electorate.

The poll said only that:

"Obama's name recognition has increased by nine percentage points since May. However, his net favorability rating decreased by nine percentage points since that time. By contrast, Clinton's net favorability rating has increased by eight percentage points since the last Ohio Poll.

"Gore's net favorability rating has increased by 11 percentage points in the wake of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. While speculation about a Gore campaign has continued, earlier this week Gore repeated his position that he does not intend to run for public office in 2008."

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