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Bitter Aftertaste

SUSA has a poll from Harrisburg, PA gauging reactions to Obama’s San Francisco remarks.  Most remarkable is that Hispanics were the group most offended by the comments.  47% of Hispanics (admittedly a small portion of the respondents) said they were offended, compared to 40% of whites and 26% of blacks.  In all of the talk about Obama and the “white working class” (a phrase that has started to become a kind of shorthand for the voters who have problems with Obama), the damage to Obama among a lot of other demographic groups is probably being ignored or underestimated.  Conservatives were the most offended of all (53%), but 34% of liberals and 28% of moderates said the same.  50% of all respondents said they disagreed with the comments, and 40% of all found them offensive, so for the most part if the remarks were poorly received they were very poorly received.  Disagreement was predictably greatest among older voters, gun owners, regular church-goers and conservatives, but substantial numbers of every age, ideological and party group disagreed as well, including 37% of liberals and 41% of Democrats.  On the whole, those who say that this will have a long-term negative impact on Obama’s campaign are roughly equal in numbers to those who were offended, but since so many were offended, including many Democrats and independents (33% and 39% respectively), that suggests that there probably will be a long-term negative impact on his campaign.  This seems to matter in a way that the association with Wright has not yet seemed to matter, because it was Obama speaking this time and the mistake could not be blamed on a crazy “uncle.”

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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