More Americans think US ready for black president

April 4th, 2008 - 11:20 am ICT by admin  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, April 4 (IANS) The number of Americans who believe that the country is ready for a black president is rising, suggests a new poll somewhat reflecting the success of Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primaries. More than three quarters, 76 percent, of respondents in a CNN/Essence Magazine/ Opinion Research Corp. poll released Thursday said the US is ready to be led by an African-American, up 14 percentage points since December 2006.

Some of the rise can be attributed to the success of black senator Obama locked in a battle with former first lady Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Keating Holland, CNN’s polling director.

Obama leads Clinton in states won, in delegates pledged and in the overall popular vote in the primaries and caucuses held.

“We’re not asking this question in a vacuum. In many cases, respondents must have had Obama in mind when giving their answer, even though he is not mentioned anywhere in the questionnaire,” Holland said.

The poll also indicates that more whites than blacks think the US is ready for a black president. Of the white Americans surveyed, 78 percent said the country is ready, as opposed to 69 percent of African-Americans polled. Both numbers are up substantially from December 2006.

“Drawing on their own life experience, blacks are a little more sceptical than whites. But blacks, too, have come around, particularly after the Iowa caucuses demonstrated that Obama could win in an overwhelmingly white electorate,” said Bill Schneider, CNN senior political analyst.

“Among blacks, the belief that the country is ready for an African-American president is highest among those who share traits with Obama,” Holland said.

“Optimism about the country’s acceptance of a black president is higher among black men than among black women, higher among college-educated blacks than among those with no college degree and higher among younger blacks than older blacks,” Holland said.

The poll also suggested that more Americans think the US is ready for a black president than a female president. Sixty-three percent of those surveyed say the country is ready for a female president, 13 points lower than those who say the country is ready for a black president.

“Do Americans see more prejudice against a woman than an African-American? More likely, they see more negative feelings about this woman than about this African-American. Because it’s true. More people have an unfavourable opinion of Hillary Clinton than of Barack Obama,” Schneider said.

The poll asked whether the country is ready for a black or female president, not whether respondents would vote for a black or female president.

“Few people will acknowledge their own prejudices, but they will answer whether they think the country is ready to elect a black or woman president,” Schneider said.

Meanwhile, a new twist on opinion polls suggests that only 20 percent Americans don’t want Obama to be the next president, while 36 percent say they don’t want his rival Clinton.

But as many as 40 percent said they would not like to have Republican John McCain as the next occupant of the White House, a new Gallup survey asking people which of the three remaining candidates they least want to see elected president in November suggested.

One reason McCain tops the list is he’s the only Republican left… so most Democrats choose him, while Republicans polled are split between the two other candidates.

When it comes to dislike of McCain, 27 percent say it’s due to his position on the Iraq war, 25 percent say he’s too much like President George W. Bush and 23 percent say it’s because he’s a Republican.

As for Hillary Clinton, 24 percent say it’s because they don’t trust her, 18 percent say they don’t want Bill Clinton back in the White House, and 16 percent say they just don’t like her.

With Barack Obama, 39 percent say he’s inexperienced, 15 percent say they don’t trust him and 12 percent say it’s because he’s a Muslim - which he’s not.

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