So, this will surely bring out the comments, or the peanut gallery, or you know, the two people I have reading this who post a lot when I talk about things like this (you know who you are):
Sixteen percent of white voters said race mattered in deciding who they voted for, and just 54 percent of those voters said they would support Mr. Obama in a general election; 27 percent of them said they would vote for Mr. McCain if Mr. Obama was the Democratic nominee, and 16 percent said they would not vote at all.
Just fantastic. Right before I read this, I had been thinking the obviously stereotypical although still partly true thought: "doesn't success among white working class voters in rural areas probably mean success among the more racist sections of our society?"
According to these exit polls quoted in the Times, the answer to my question is essentially yes. And I'm not the only one who thinks so. Here's my favorite person ever, Nora Ephron, on the subject:
This is an election about whether the people of Pennsylvania hate blacks more than they hate women. And when I say people, I don't mean people, I mean white men. How ironic is this? After all this time, after all these stupid articles about how powerless white men are and how they can't even get into college because of overachieving women and affirmative action and mean lady teachers who expected them to sit still in the third grade even though they were all suffering from terminal attention deficit disorder -- after all this, they turn out (surprise!) to have all the power. (As they always did, by the way; I hope you didn't believe any of those articles.) To put it bluntly, the next president will be elected by them: the outcome of Tuesday's primary will depend on whether they go for Hillary or Obama, and the outcome of the general election will depend on whether enough of them vote for McCain. A lot of them will: white men cannot be relied on, as all of us know who have spent a lifetime dating them.
I had to add that last quip at the end because Nora's acerbity when it comes to men just warms my cold heart.
(Before you say it, yes, I know that like 90% of black voters vote for Obama. So I get that this is a two way street. But I reserve the right to be indignant about this kind of example of enduring racism in this country.)
(Two more posts on the subject here and here.)