Poll Highlights Obama's Race Dilemma

Many white Democrats would rather vote for McCain
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2008 9:24 AM CDT
Poll Highlights Obama's Race Dilemma
Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., arrives for a rally in Des Moines, Iowa, Tuesday, May 20, 2008.    (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Barack Obama will need to defeat not only John McCain but prejudice within his own party if he is to win the presidency, a Newsweek poll finds. Pollsters divided respondents into two categories, based on answers to questions on race-related topics. Among white Democrats who scored low on the poll's "Racial Resentment Index," Obama beat McCain by 78% to 17%, but those with a high level of racial resentment preferred him to McCain by just 51% to 33%.

The poll also found some confusion over Obama's religion, with 11% thinking the candidate is a Muslim. Nearly a fifth of white Democrats said Obama's name made them judge him less favorably. Still, the percentage of voters who think the country is ready for a black president has doubled since 2000, to 70%. (Read more Barack Obama stories.)

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