This might be the most depressing thing I've read so far in this young week, but an Associated Press poll reports that feelings of racial prejudice have increased since 2008, when Barack Obama was elected to his first term as president.
From the Washington Post:
In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell.
“As much as we’d hope the impact of race would decline over time ... it appears the impact of anti-black sentiment on voting is about the same as it was four years ago,” said Jon Krosnick, a Stanford University professor who worked with AP to develop the survey.
More than that, anti-Hispanic sentiment has increased as well, according to this poll. The AP reports that, in a 2011 survey, 51% of non-Hispanic whites held negative perceptions of Hispanics. That figure has jumped to 57% in this year's poll.
How's that figure to affect this year's election, you ask? Again, from the Post:
Overall, the survey found that by virtue of racial prejudice, Obama could lose 5 percentage points off his share of the popular vote in his Nov. 6 contest against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. But Obama also stands to benefit from a 3 percentage point gain due to pro-black sentiment, researchers said. Overall, that means an estimated net loss of 2 percentage points due to anti-black attitudes.
These feelings aren't limited to just one political group, either. The poll found that 64% of Republicans, 55% of Democrats and 49% of independents express negative sentiments toward blacks.
For more on the poll, its possible effects on next week's election, and the poll's methodology, see the full story here.