Fact-checking Dr. Laura

Aug 13, 2010 5:17pm

With today’s Dr. Laura racial rant story getting beaucoup buzz, some fact-checking on the public opinion aspect may help:

1. SCHLESSINGER: "Yeah. We've got a black man as president, and we have more complaining about racism than ever. I mean, I think that's hilarious."

There’s been a decline in the number of Americans who call racism a problem in this country – 75 percent this spring (our latest data), including 33 percent who called it “a big problem.” This was down from a high of 89 percent overall, and 54 percent “big problem,” in 1996. Same springtime poll, 12 percent said President Obama was doing too much to represent the  interests of African-Americans; 13 percent, too little; 67 percent, “about the right amount.”

2. SCHLESSINGER: "Dear, they voted him in. Only 12 percent of the population's black. Whites voted him in."

Whites voted for John McCain over Barack Obama by 55-43 percent, a 12-point margin. That's a point from the average by which all Democratic presidential candidates have lost whites in elections since 1976. However, previous Democratic candidates who won the presidency did much better among whites – Jimmy Carter lost them by 5 points in 1976; Bill Clinton by 1 and 3 points, respectively, in 1992 and 1996. Barack Obama won while losing whites both because of his strong showing among nonwhites, and the fact that whites have made up a decreasing share of the electorate.

By the way, Schlessinger's interlocutor, Jade -

3. CALLER: "It was the younger generation that did it. It wasn't the older white people who did it."

 – nailed it. Obama won by a record margin among young voters overall, and won whites age 18-29 by 10 points, while losing whites age 30 and up. We could use her on the election night exit poll analysis desk.

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