In a potentially ominous sign for the presumptive Democratic nominee, a new poll shows Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., trailing far behind GOP standard-bearer Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., among voters who identify themselves as racists.
Pundits and pollsters alike have wondered about the role racists might play in the 2008 presidential contest, but the new survey released today was the first concrete attempt to take the pulse of this key voting bloc.
The poll, conducted by Duh Magazine, suggests that Obama faces an uphill battle in his effort to win the votes of dyed-in-the-wool bigots.
"We wanted to know, why isn't Barack Obama closing the deal among racists?" said Charles Plugh, editor in chief of Duh. "The answer seems to be, because he's black."
In a head-to-head match-up, likely bigots chose McCain over Obama by a ratio of 1,000 to one, with a majority of racists saying they "strongly disagree" with Obama's decision not to be white.
Asked under what conditions they would conceivably vote for a black presidential candidate, 95 percent of racists responded, "Only if he was running against someone from a group I hated even more, such as Arabs."
Duh editor Plugh says the poll indicates that Obama "has his work cut out for him" if he is going to make up lost ground among racists.
"Sen. Obama made a choice at the beginning of this campaign to run as a black man," Plugh said. "He could change his position on that, but racists might see that as too little, too late."