More Whites Support Voter Suppression Laws if Shown a Black Voter

The Washington Post reports on a fascinating new study that shows that the percentage of white voters who support voter suppression laws like photo ID requirements goes up if they are shown an image of a black voter rather than a white voter before giving their answer.

Sixty-seven percent of white Americans support voter ID laws, according to a new University of Delaware study of 1,436 U.S. adults. But when the voter ID question was accompanied by a photo of black people using a voting machine, white support for voter ID laws jumped to 73 percent.

That six-percentage-point difference is modest but statistically significant. The images made no difference to black and hispanic voters’ preferences, although the authors note the sample sizes for those groups were considerably stronger.

Among white voters, “the resulting increase in support for the laws happens independently of — even after controlling for— political ideology and negative attitudes about African Americans,” researcher David C. Wilson said in a release about the study.

Many white Americans think racism is basically over, and some believe that racism against whites is actually a bigger problem than racism against blacks. But results like these show that racism is still very much active at the subconscious level.

Yes, it certainly is.

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  • eric

    So I clicked through to a link to a summary of the survey. One thing to note is that the mean age of respondents was 55 and the median age was 51.5. Another thing to note is that 1,436 is the total of surveyed people, not the total for each group. For each self-identified ethnic group, it breaks down like this: 1,148 whites, 158 african american, 101 non-white hispanic, 43 asian (that’s their groupings, not my own).

    This makes me somewhat skeptical about whether the results for the non-white ethnic groups are really that significant. The sample size seems kinda low to me. But I think the age statistic is more telling: I bet (or at least, I hope) that they might see different results with a younger cohort.

  • eric

    As an aside, Springer is charging $40 for the article. Highway robbery. I guess I won’t be looking at the results more closely.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Looks like Willie Horton still has a future.

  • my2cents

    A lot of people don’t realize they are being racist or not and this is huge problem today. More education and reporting on the effects of un-conscience bias needs to happen so people can better understand themselves. One can say or even legitimately think they are for equality and not racist but when their un-conscience bias kicks in they can do and say some really racist things to other people.

    As far as voter ID laws goes it is clearly racist, I cannot see it any other way. People for it might not see themselves as racist but that is the underlying bias. Another possible issue is people have a hard time thinking rationally about politics. Most people think other people are like them so when the voting public’s opinions differ from theirs they are more likely to believe that the cause is people cheating and voter fraud, instead of people thinking differently than them.

  • Nemo

    Thoroughly depressing. The 67% for voter ID was bad enough already.

  • my2cents

    “Thoroughly depressing. The 67% for voter ID was bad enough already.” Very much so. It is embarrassing to be white even if I am part of that 33% against voter ID laws.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    ITS NOT RACISM!!! WITHOUT ID THAT SCARY BLACK MAN COULD SHOW HIS PICTURE MULTIPLE TIMES IN THE SAME STUDY WHICH WOULD SKEW THE RESULTS!!! SURE YOU SAY THAT THERES NOEVIDENCE OF SUCH CORRUPTION OF STUDIES BUT RIGHT HERE ON THIS PAGE IS PROOF THAT THOSE PEOPLE (*WINK WINK*) CHEATING BOOSTS “THEIR” “VOTE” BY SEVEN PERCENT!!!

  • eric

    The 67% for voter ID was bad enough already.

    Again, keep in mind the average age of those participating in the survey. We are talking people born in the late ’50s and early ’60s here. I am skeptical the 67% average would hold true for younger white people. But maybe I’m just being optimistic.

  • dingojack

    MO – I thought it improved by 40%* from the POG’s desired amount…

    Dingo

    ———

    * (Convert into a simple fraction)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=523300770 stuartsmith

    I’m curious if this effect would extend to gun control legislation, or if positions on that issue are too deeply entrenched for racism to make a difference.

  • http://tierra-de-antilopes.blogspot.com.ar/ tierra de antilopes

    Another “fascinating” study by the OMG University of Completely Obvious Results finds that americans are racists as all fuck…

  • teawithbertrand

    @ 5 and 6

    The right wing has been selling the meme that voter fraud is actually a thing for some time now. It fits neatly into the worldview of those who question how our current president got his job.

  • abb3w

    eric

    But I think the age statistic is more telling: I bet (or at least, I hope) that they might see different results with a younger cohort.

    Possibly. It’s a bit older than the median/mean US voting population.

    eric

    As an aside, Springer is charging $40 for the article. Highway robbery. I guess I won’t be looking at the results more closely.

    It looks like a draft is available here from SSRN, who usually do not charge, and which at a casual glance differs only in text layout.

    @10, stuartsmith

    I’m curious if this effect would extend to gun control legislation, or if positions on that issue are too deeply entrenched for racism to make a difference.

    Some of the history of the NRA leads me to suspect it would.

  • parasiteboy

    I have been listening to old (and new) Reasonable Doubts episodes and this is the social priming type studies that the Dr. Professor talks about all the time, so I am not surprised by the results.

  • Chiroptera

    Sixty-seven percent of white Americans support voter ID laws, according to a new University of Delaware study of 1,436 U.S. adults. But when the voter ID question was accompanied by a photo of black people using a voting machine, white support for voter ID laws jumped to 73 percent.

    I’m guessing that 67% already had a picture of a black person in their heads?

  • Michael Heath

    Chiroptera asks (rhetorically):

    I’m guessing that 67% already had a picture of a black person in their heads?

    I think some of them were probably visualizing college students at liberal universities. Students who are being brainwashed by the legions of atheists professors just like the Kevin Sorbo character in the movie God’s Not Dead.

  • sugarfrosted

    @2, If you want it bad enough I have a friend at a university that subscribes to Springer elinks, so I could try to get it for you.