Obama's Approval Ratings and the Angry White Voter (Again)

Obama's Approval Ratings and the Angry White Voter (Again)

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On the eve of one of the most crucial midterm elections in decades, a CBS poll again spells out what many have known from virtually the moment Barack Obama announced his run for president in 2007. A crushing majority of African Americans and white voters see Obama in radically different terms. The poll found that blacks are two-and-a-half times more likely than whites to give Obama a high approval rating. Conversely, whites are eight times more likely than blacks to disapprove of how the president is doing his job.

Blacks’ support is so rock-solid that they overwhelmingly give Obama an A for his handling of the economy. This despite near-record poverty numbers, sky-high foreclosure and unemployment rates, and the virtual freezing out of blacks from many of the major business and construction projects bankrolled by Obama’s stimulus program. In an almost surreal reversal of how blacks—who are suffering more during this recession—see the situation, a majority of whites give Obama a failing grade for his handling of the economy and express far more pessimism about the economic future than African Americans do. Even more troubling, if Obama’s overwhelming support among blacks was taken out of the political equation, his overall approval rating—hovering around 50 percent—would plummet.

The indifference, ambiguity and outright hostility being expressed by many whites toward the Obama administration is not exclusive to Republicans or independents. White Democrats express antipathy as well. This was evident in the Democratic primaries. Hillary Clinton consistently (and, in some states, handily) beat Obama among white Democrats. During the general election, Obama prevailed in the must-win swing states largely because of the near–holy-crusade zeal of black voters. Despite the feel-good mood of the country in the weeks immediately after the election and Americans’ pride in making a black man the most powerful person in the world, the racial split did not evaporate with Obama's win.

Congressional Democrats in conservative-leaning districts get elected largely thanks to white votes, and they have been the least enthusiastic about Obama's policies. Meanwhile, the GOP, Tea Party leaders, and pack of rabid anti-Obama talk show jocks, bloggers and web sites have masterfully sold the idea that Obama is shoving the country down the path to socialism. The conservative attack pack harangues the federal government for giving the company store away to the poor—i.e., blacks and Hispanics. To many, the familiar equation is this: government programs equal handouts to undeserving blacks and poor people, which in turn equals money snatched from the pockets of hard-working whites.

That the conservative hordes play the race card comes as no surprise. It's a recycle of the angry white male narrative that dates to at least the 1960s. Richard Nixon stoked the fury of blue-collar, white ethnic, rural voters with attacks against Democrats for coddling criminals and welfare cheats, for fostering a culture of anything-goes permissiveness, and —with their big government/Great Society programs, for pandering to the poor. The crude, thinly disguised code words and racial cues worked. Nixon eked out a narrow victory over Democratic presidential opponent Hubert Humphrey.

That line of attack became a staple in the GOP playbook for the next four decades. With tweaks and refinements, Reagan, Bush Sr. and Jr. used the same arguments to ease their path to the White House. In the mid-1990s, Newt Gingrich and ultraconservatives recycled the strategy to seize Congress and pound out an agenda that made big government, tax-and-spend Democrats, and soft-on-crime liberals the fall guys for everything wrong with America. It touched the familiar nerve with many whites, and especially white males.

The 2008 presidential election was a near textbook example of how you can win an election and still lose a key voting bloc—in this case, whites. The GOP had a failed, flawed George W. Bush presidency to answer for. It was plagued by corruption and sex scandals. It was widely blamed for crashing the economy. It had an aged, politically disheveled presidential candidate and a laughingstock vice presidential candidate. It lugged the baggage of two unpopular wars. Yet its presidential standard bearer, John McCain, still got nearly 60 percent of the overall white vote.

The hard reality, then, is that a majority of white voters—out of fear, ignorance, and flat-out racial bias—have never accepted the Obama presidency. African-American voters sense that hostility and have once again rallied to his side. In the CBS poll, a decisive majority of blacks say that the media has been harder on Obama than on any other president. Don’t expect that belief—and the racial gulf that underlies it—to change.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He hosts a nationally broadcast political affairs radio talk show on Pacifica and KTYM Radio Los Angeles.Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson

 

Comments

 
Anonymous

Posted Oct 30 2010

This speaks nothing of the Angry Black voter, and there are several of us.

Fact of the matter is, had Colin Powell run, he would have been elected.and we'd have never heard of Barack Obama becuase quite frankly, he had just 1 year of experience as a Senator, then he campaigned for the other two years.

HE HAD NO EXPERIENCE .... and it is showing.

This article is touching on emotions and is so intellectually and factually dishonest.

Those playing the race card are the Obama backers. Those of us who see truth, are not using racism as a crutch.

Even Obama's campaign, though brilliant, was not honest. He did not run against McCain. He actually campaigned against the Bush administration. McCain was a war hero and experienced Senator. Obama's campaign was "If you elect McCain, you're getting four more years of Bush."

Obama, two years aftet the election and further driving the country into the ditch, still blames GWB. Fact of the matter is, the economy was fine until the election in 2006. That's when the Dems took over both the Senate and The House. Pelosi, Reid & now Obama.

Obama may have ruined politics for us in the future. Colin Powell surely would have paved the way.
He was a Republican. Did you know that MLK was a Republican?

For more intelligent and accurate information, go to http://www.nbra.info/ We Black Republicans do not prey on emotion and misinformation. We see what the forefathers saw in this great country!

Anonymous

Posted Oct 30 2010

mr obama

since you took over i cant afford to pay my bills buy shoes for my kids or buy pizza once a week im gona loose my home soon thanks

Anonymous

Posted Oct 31 2010


The hard reality, then, is that a majority of BLACK voters—out of fear, ignorance, and flat-out racial bias—have never accepted the GEORGE BUSH presidency.
see how easy it is to turn it all around?
maybe the blacks are the racist ones for supporting Obama solely on skin color

Anonymous

Posted Oct 31 2010


The hard reality, then, is that a majority of BLACK voters—out of fear, ignorance, and flat-out racial bias—have never accepted the GEORGE BUSH presidency.
see how easy it is to turn it all around?
maybe the blacks are the racist ones for supporting Obama solely on skin color

Anonymous

Posted Nov 3 2010

Plain and simple: Blacks as a group will NEVER support Republicans in large numbers because their beliefs are consistently against the better interests of Blacks. Just as Whites are convinced that social programs -- even ones meant to help them -- will come at the expense of Whites to the benefit of Blacks. Believe me, Powell would have gotten Black votes; if he ran as a Republican, it would not have been overwhelming. Sure, many Blacks got caught up in the historical nature of a (half) Black President (finally), but if Hillary had been the Dem nominee, she would have gotten most if not all of the Black vote also.

Overall, I think Obama did the best he could given what he had to work with coming in. He did get us out of Iraq (nominally); Credit Card reform; (some) Health Care Reform. Reid & Pelosi were minimally effective as leaders. I think the econ was going to tank regardless because of all the jobs being shipped off-shore and the downsizing to increase profits. His focus should have been more on jobs than anything else. Not to mention that we should have figured his own Dem party would be even bigger obstructionists than the we knew the Republicans would be. I can't say I'm surprised at the results.

Anonymous

Posted Nov 4 2010

You are clearly trying to use scare tactic to scare white people of Obama and should be ashamed of yourself. You need to double check all your info on Factcheck.org!

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Posted Nov 15 2010

um...excuse me...im white and would like to be called a " european-american" is that too much to ask....geez

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