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Steele by the Numbers

On the heels of a Democratic National Committee report showing Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele poised to make inroads with Maryland's black voters comes a Yale University study showing the African American candidate could lose some white Republican voters.

The Post's polling director Rich Morin dissects the Yale report today in his Unconventional Wisdom column. Basically, economist Ebonya Washington found that Steele could lose 1 to 2 percentage points to the Democratic candidate, if that candidate were white.That could cancel out the gains Steele is hoping to make among African American voters, who typically vote Democrat.

Washington's analysis of congressional and gubernatorial voting patterns also found that turnout among black voters will increase for a black candidate, but not when the candidate is Republican.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  April 14, 2006; 9:16 AM ET
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I wonder about these numbers and how seriously we should take them. There are only a limited number of races to draw from. In those cases, the GOP candidates have not been the most attractive.

For instance, I would suspect that two of the races analyzed in the study were Alan Keyes' races in Maryland. How many white GOP voters defected to the Democrats because Keyes is black and how many defected because he's insane?

I don't know how much much this study's results will compare to the Steele race. Steele is a much better candidate than Keyes and likely a better candidate than other black GOP Senate candidates examined.

And before Democrats start yelling about the GOP being full of racism, perhaps they should consider that in the main article (although not in this blog), the reporter mentions, "In House races, white Democrats are 38 percentage points less likely to vote Democratic if their candidate is black."

Posted by: MK | April 14, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"In House races, white Democrats are 38 percentage points less likely to vote Democratic if their candidate is black."

I read that too. Quite disheartening and sad.

Posted by: corbett | April 14, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

You mean white Republicans are racist? lol who woulda thunk it??? Do we really need Yale studies to know this?

Posted by: kingfish | April 14, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, in Morin's column, he states the following:

"In fact, white Republicans nationally are 25 percentage points more likely on average to vote for the Democratic senatorial candidate when the GOP hopeful is black, says economist Ebonya Washington of Yale University in a forthcoming article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics."

Then later he states the following:

"In House races, white Democrats are 38 percentage points less likely to vote Democratic if their candidate is black."

38% is greater than 25%. Does this mean Democrats are more racist than Republicans? Interesting....

Posted by: Fred | April 14, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Hey quick history lesson, there are still some Dixiecrats in the Democratic party. All of them didn't go Repub after the Civil Rights Movement. Look at Robert Byrd. But at least we know at the core, the Dems want what we want, stronger social safety net, more money for education, less for elective wars; and maybe just at least pretend to look out for the little guy that needs a little help instead of the guy that's doing a good job looking out for himself

Posted by: RCDennis | April 14, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

And, of course, we need to be careful about ascribing racism to all those who don't vote for black candidates. The reasons for deserting your party's candidate are numerous. I've even been known to vote for a Democrat or two. If a candidate is an idiot, is a little nuts, or is incompetent, a person should vote against him/her regardless of party or race. For example, I don't think it's necessarily racism if Maryland Republicans voted against Alan Keyes when he ran. Furthermore, if white Democrats in Cynthia McKinney's district vote against her, I doubt it's because they are racist.

The study needs to take into account why voters deserted black candidates and not merely assume that it's because of racism. Since I can't find any links to the study (it may not have been published yet), I don't know if the authors did this.

Posted by: MK | April 14, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Michael Steele's race means a lot less to me than his marginal, uninspiring record, and the fact that he allowed himself to be the "token black" in the Ehrlich campaign.

Posted by: JEM | April 14, 2006 2:53 PM | Report abuse

The Yale study is little more than a mind-game attempt to discourage those who would vote for Mr. Steel. While I am sure there are those would indeed cross over based on race,(which is nothing new under the sun) there are many more who would stay the course based on principle and not race. This is the story line that should be written ------- Steel is a wonderful, qualified and passionate candidate who is well able to carry the GOP banner - and black folk who hear the message up-close and personal will heed the call. Most of the GOP know its future rests with those black folk (and believe me, there are more of us then you can possible image or give credit to) who refuse to stay on the mindless plantation of the liberal Democrats. Take a look across this nation from local races to these high profile senate races and you will see the signs-of the-times relative to blacks running for office carrying the GOP banner. Condolezza Rice is being groomed for the presidency. She is conversing and communciating with nearly every leader on the face of the earth. You think Hillary will best her in debate? I can hear Condi now. "I was talkint to so and so leader and he/she said to me. Hillary would be frozen before a national audience. Read the tea-leafs folks. Lets drop the race-matter used simply to move our thinking off point, to divide us and to discourage us ----- and lets "Steel to Victory in O6." God bless

Posted by: AJY | April 15, 2006 2:47 AM | Report abuse

Let's not go shouting "racism" here. The important thing from this study is that if Cardin and Steele are the candidates, both may have to spend time and energy securing their "base" voters -- Western MD for Steele, PG County/Bmore for Cardin.

If the dem candidate is Mfume, all bets are off.

Posted by: John Hamilton | April 15, 2006 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Yale purposely commissioned this study just to discourage people from voting for Steele. Let's take off the tinfoil hat, shall we?

And what's with this "plantation" business? When Hillary Clinton used the plantation metaphor to criticize the GOP-led House of Representatives, Republicans threw conniption fits. If it isn't right to refer to Republicans that way, then don't do the same to Democrats.

Posted by: MHK919 | April 18, 2006 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Boy are you guys in for a surprise. Dr, daniel Muffoletto has not taken one cent contribution from any person or organization. He is a former consumer reporter. He has the the top degrees in the Knights of Columbus, in a Catholic state. He has union support, , is going to save the planet, by stopping global warming now. He is a security expert, and formerly trained police and security forces. Many democrats are registered republican. Ben Cardin is smart enough to push dan's agenda of health care.
if steele was smart he would pay Muffoletto to run his campaign.
Vote Muff and live!

Posted by: Susan Lautner | July 4, 2006 9:48 PM | Report abuse

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