Almost a year ago we departed from our focus on creation science and upset quite a few of you when we gave you A Brief Taste of Social Science. Today we’re going to do it again.
Look what we found at PhysOrg: Race may play significant role in presidential election, survey finds. Wow — this is social science at its best! Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Voters’ racial attitudes, both conscious and unconscious, may be a significant factor in this year’s U.S. presidential election, particularly since whites tend to prefer people of their own race, according to research presented at the 120th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.
That must have been shocking news to the assembled social scientists. No doubt, such an idea had never entered their minds. Here’s more:
“People may not even be aware that they have certain racial attitudes and that could be why, even with an African-American president in the White House for nearly four years, race continues to play a role in electoral politics,” Anthony G. Greenwald, PhD, said in an interview. Greenwald was lead researcher on a Anthony G. Greenwald, PhD, survey of 15,000 voters.
We can’t find a published paper, but here’s Greenwald’s faculty page at the University of Washington, and here’s Greenwald’s personal page at the University’s website. Let’s read on from the PhysOrg article:
The survey asked respondents about their political beliefs, how “warmly” they felt toward black and white people, and which presidential contender they preferred. The survey was done between January and April 2012, while the Republican hopefuls included Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. The research team also measured unconscious racial attitudes using the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which Greenwald developed more than a decade ago to measure thoughts and biases that people don’t realize they have. Variations of the test measure implicit attitudes about topics such as race, gender, sexuality and ethnicity.
The survey actually measures “unconscious racial attitudes” that people have without being aware of it. Fascinating! We continue:
The IAT results showed a pattern labeled “automatic white preference” among a majority of eligible white voters. The finding that some candidates are more attractive to voters with pro-white racial attitudes does not mean that those candidates are racist, Greenwald emphasized.
The candidates aren’t necessarily racist, but their voters are — they have an “automatic white preference” that Greenwald is able to detect. Here’s more:
Previous research has shown that both blacks and whites show explicit preferences for their own race, according to Greenwald. However, when it comes to implicit, or unconscious, preferences, blacks tend not to prefer one race over another, whereas close to 70 percent of white Americans show an implicit racial bias, he said.
The social scientist says that blacks tend not to prefer one race over another, and whites do. But see this from the New York Times: Election Results 2008. The voting results for Obama and McCain are broken down by several categories. If we’re reading it correctly, the racial breakdown shows that 95% of the black vote went for Obama, compared to only 55% of the white vote that went for McCain.
Somehow, the actual voting patterns in the last presidential election didn’t go according to Greenwald’s findings, but he’s not worried about that. He’s a social scientist.
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